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.
Opposition challenged govt’s handling of COVID-19 crisis, citing criminal groups’ interference in distribution of aid. After govt late March announced cash transfers to large families, distribution of food kits and bonuses for healthcare workers and police amid fears COVID-19 could worsen dire humanitarian situation, opposition denounced govt’s management of aid distribution. Opposition leader André Michel 3 April said police delivered food kits under supervision of local gang leader in Delmas commune near capital Port-au-Prince. Opposition platform Democratic and Popular Sector 7 April said release of emergency funds did not follow proper procedure, and called for audit and investigation by High Court of Auditors. President Moïse 19 April extended state of health emergency until 20 May. Govt attempts to enforce COVID-19 lockdown and curfew met resistance. Notably, police clashed with bus drivers while trying to prevent public transport from operating between Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince 10 April; no casualties reported. Amid ongoing insecurity, including late March abduction of hospital director, defence minister 9 April announced soldiers would secure medical convoys. Deportation of Haitian nationals from U.S. continued despite risk of contagion; 68 Haitians flown home 7 April and 129 others 30 April.
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.