Stability and security in Haiti remain shaky following the disastrous 2010 earthquake. Democratic institutions are weak and government largely unaccountable, leaving citizens sceptical of participatory politics. Income and wealth gaps are yawning. For several years Crisis Group’s Haiti Project advocated for national consensus and international donor patience to begin addressing the systemic socio-political problems underlying the country’s humanitarian plight. We ended this Project in 2013 but continue to closely monitor events in Haiti through the Crisis Watch conflict tracker.
Gang violence continued while authorities pursued efforts to reform constitution despite criticism. Suspected G9 coalition of gangs 3 Dec attacked police patrols in capital Port-au-Prince’s Village de Dieu, Grand Ravine and Delmas areas; no casualties reported. Unidentified gunmen next day shot dead three men in Port-au-Prince’s Pétion-Ville commune. Clashes between rival gangs in Croix-des-Bouquets commune outside capital 17 Dec killed four. General Police Inspectorate 8 Dec questioned 70 police officers suspected of being part of Fantom 509 gang. Anti-govt demonstrations continued throughout month: thousands 10 Dec protested against spike in kidnappings in Gonaïves commune, Artibonite department (north), and Port-au-Prince, where they clashed with security forces. Meanwhile, govt pursued efforts to reform constitution despite widespread criticism from opposition, which views move as illegal: committee in charge of drafting new constitution early Dec said preliminary draft would be ready by 26 Feb and constitutional referendum would take place in March. Core Group for Haiti, which includes U.S., UN, Organization of American States and EU, 12 Dec expressed concern about broad powers conferred by two presidential decrees; Core Group said Nov decree creating National Agency of Intelligence (ANI) confers “quasi-judicial immunity [to ANI agents], thus opening the possibility of abuse”, and another extends qualification of “terrorist act” to wide range of offences. Special adviser to President Moïse 16 Dec announced amendments to ANI decree. U.S. Treasury 10 Dec sanctioned two former govt officials and one former police officer for their alleged involvement in gang-led attack which killed 71 in Port-au-Prince’s La Saline neighbourhood in Nov 2018. U.S. 7 Dec extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals, which allows them to live and work in U.S., until Oct 2021.
Without an inclusive national pact on critical priorities, President Michel Martelly faces the spectre of a failed presidency, and Haiti risks international abandonment.
The UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) needs a gradual reconfiguration of its operations prior to a withdrawal, to avoid a security vacuum and give Haiti the chance for sustainable development.
A dysfunctional justice system continues to pose significant obstacles to the democratic process in a post-earthquake Haiti where security and stability remain fragile.
Kidnapping, urban gangs and unresolved killings form a trifecta of challenges to citizen safety that the four month-old Martelly administation must confront by speedily completing reforms to professionalise the Haitian National Police(HNP).
A year and a half after a deadly earthquake devastated its capital, 650,000 victims still wait for permanent housing in more than 1,000 unstable emergency camps across Haiti as a new hurricane season arrives.
Haitian authorities and the international community need to ensure that the first post-quake elections meet acceptable standards of credibility and produce the legitimate government needed to carry through massive institutional and infrastructure reconstruction.
Originally published in Huffington Post
Presentation by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group on “Is it time for MINUSTAH to leave Haiti?” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, 25 July 2013.
Originally published in Reforma
Originally published in Miami Herald
Delayed elections, mistrust and public protests against Haitian President Michel Martelly threaten the country’s chance to end decades of political conflict and to recover from the 2010 earthquake. Without a national accord, the country risks ongoing crises. Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, tells us more on the current challenges Haiti is facing.