At least 3,494 people were victims of murders, injuries and kidnpings in Haiti during the first six months of the year, according to a report prepared by the Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).
The document indicates that during the second quarter of 2023, there was a 14% increase in the number of victims of gang-related murders, injuries and kidnpings, with 1,860 victims of these crimes, compared to the previous quarter (January-March 2023). 2023) in which 1,634 were reported.
The highest number of victims was recorded between April and May, with 48% and 34% of reported cases, due to an increase in the activity of gangs and “self-defense groups” organized by the civilian population.
The Western department, where the cital is located, continued to register the highest number of people killed, injured and kidnped, with 82% of the cases, being the municipalities of Cite Soleil, Croix-des-Bouquets, Petion Ville and Port-au-Prince the most punished.
Violence also continued to spread in the Artibonite department, which accumulated 13% of the cases, especially in the communes of L’Estère, Liancourt and Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite.
Between April 24 and June 30, 2023, at least 238 suspected gang members were killed by civilians and “self-defense groups” participating in the movement called Bwa Kale, which means “eradicate” in Haitian Creole.
“Frustrated by the weakness of state institutions, residents, armed with machetes, stones and gasoline cans brutally prevented gang members and anyone allegedly affiliated with them from entering their neighborhoods,” the report states.
The UN analysis warns that the “popular justice” “Not only does it violate human rights, but it also risks leading to a fragmentation of the cital into several small, mutually hostile areas, with dividing lines between neighborhoods under the influence of different ‘self-defense groups’.”
Furthermore, given the dynamics of these structures, these groups run the risk of becoming new gangs, given the social normalization of lynchings by the population, which also compromises the role of an already very weakened police force without the cacity to reestablish and maintain public order.
Between April and June, 13 police officers died in acts of violence related to gangs, while at least 467 gang members died as a result of lynchings (238 individuals), police operations (119), violence between the gangs themselves (96) and extrajudicial executions committed by the commissioners of the government of Les Cayes and Miragoâne (7).
The kidnpings continue
At the national level, at least 298 people were kidnped during the second quarter of 2023, which represents a decrease of 24% compared to the previous quarter, which is more significant in the areas where the “Bwa Kale” movement operates, in particular Petion Ville and Port-au-Prince.
48% of the kidnpings occurred in the Artibonite department, especially along the main roads of L’Estère, Liancourt and Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite.
Most of the victims were kidnped when traveling in public transport vehicles and some of the kidnped women were red during their ctivity.
On May 15, 15 women were kidnped and red in the Savien area by members of the Grand Rif gang while they were on their way to a market in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite.
“The gangs have continued to use sexual violenceparticularly gang re and mutilation, to sow fear and punish populations under the control of their rivals,” and also “commit similar acts against women and girls living in neighborhoods under their influence,” the office notes. of the UN in Haiti.
In mid-April, during an attack against the population of Brooklyn (Cite Soleil), at least 49 women were red by G-9 members and allied elements in an area known as “Dèyè Mi” (“behind the wall,” in Haitian Creole) as they attempted to esce armed violence.
After being red, seven of the victims were murdered and their bodies were dumped in an abandoned place.
On May 25, two women who were cooking for members of the band were gang red and then burned alive after being accused of sharing information about the gang with their families.
The medical, psychological and socioeconomic services available to survivors of sexual violence in Haiti are very insufficient in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and almost non-existent in the department of Artibonite, where gangs increasingly use this type of violence to terrorize the population.