United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Thursday reiterated a call for the international community to come to the assistance of Haiti warning against “what remains largely a forgotten crisis despite its severity”.
Guterres, who has just returned from a visit to Port au Prince and Trinidad and Tobago, told reporters that while in Port of Spain, he attended a summit of the leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as well as taking part in a special session on Haiti.
“Later today, the Security Council will take up my report on the situation in the country. Let me be very clear. The Haitian people are trapped in a living nightmare. Humanitarian conditions are beyond appalling. Brutal gangs have a stranglehold on the people of Haiti,” Guterres said.
“Port-au-Prince is encircled by armed groups that are blocking roads, controlling access to food and health care, and undermining humanitarian support. Predatory gangs are using kidnappings and sexual violence as weapons to terrorize entire communities. “
Guterres said that he has heard “appalling accounts of women and girls being gang-raped, and of people being burned alive, saying “the world must act now to stem the violence and instability.
“During my visit, I had the chance to meet the Prime Minister (Dr. Ariel Henry) and many sectors of Haitian society. Those meetings showed that there are signs of hope and possibility. But it requires action on several fronts – and a recognition of a core truth:”
During his address to the CARICOM leaders at their summit which ended here on Wednesday night, Guterres had described as a “tragedy within a tragedy” the fact that the humanitarian appeal for Hiaiti is only 23 per cent funded as he urged the international community to “help ease the suffering of the Haitian people”.
I will continue to push for a robust international security force, authorized by the Security Council, to be able to help to help the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle the gangs, and I reiterate my call to all partners to increase support for the national police in the form of financing, training, and equipment.
“Let’s be clear: There can be no lasting security without strengthened democratic institutions, and there can be no strong democratic institutions without a drastic improvement in the security situation,” he added.
Guterres told reporters Thursday that there can be no sustainable security without a political solution that allows for the restoration of democratic institutions.
“And there can be no lasting and inclusive political solutions without a drastic improvement of the security situation. Today, I want to make an appeal for concurrent action in three essential areas.
“First, the people of Haiti need action to address urgent humanitarian needs. The international community must now act to ease the suffering of the Haitian people. The United Nations humanitarian response plan requires US$720 million to help more than three million people.
“Yet that plan is only 23 per cent funded. I appeal to the world to extend a lifeline of support and fill that financial gap without delay.
“Second, the people of Haiti need action to tackle urgent security needs. I appeal to members of the Security Council and to all relevant potential contributing countries to act now to create the conditions for the deployment of a multinational force to assist the Haitian National Police.”
Guterres said that the Haitian government requested this all the way back in October and that those appeals were echoed by many Haitians he met during his visit.
“I repeat: We are not calling for a military or political mission of the United Nations. We are calling for a robust security force deployed by Member States to work hand-in-hand with the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle the gangs and restore security across the country.
“The police also need financing, training and equipment. All of this is critical to restoring the authority of the State and the delivery of vital services. ”
Guterres said that his third appeal is for all social and political actors to accelerate their efforts toward a desperately needed political solution.(CMC)