Haiti Sees Record Displacement from Gang Violence

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Image credit: © UNICEF/Herold Joseph

Haiti Faces Record Displacement Amid Escalating Gang Violence

Violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, has reached alarming levels. Armed gangs control large areas, making it hard for humanitarian aid to reach those in need. Experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced persons, report that clashes between gangs and the Haitian National Police have created widespread fear, limiting people’s movement and access to basic services.

In early 2024, gang-related violence resulted in 2,500 Haitians being killed or injured, including 82 children. Women and children are the most affected, facing increased risks of sexual violence and exploitation.

Mass Displacement

Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in overcrowded, poor conditions without basic hygiene and sanitation. They face severe shortages of food, water, shelter, and medical care, and lack safe spaces for psychological support. According to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), 80% of IDPs are staying with host families, while the rest are in shelters, many in gang-controlled or dangerous areas. Nearly half of Haiti’s population suffers from severe hunger, with 18% at an “emergency” level of food insecurity.

Impact on Children and Women

Children and women are hit hardest by the violence and instability in Haiti. More than 310,000 women and girls, and 180,000 children are displaced. Over half a million children live in neighborhoods controlled by gangs, facing high risks of violence and being recruited by gangs. The growing number of unaccompanied displaced children makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and trafficking.

Violence and attacks on schools have forced nearly 900 schools to close, affecting almost 200,000 children and disrupting their education. Sexual violence against women and girls in IDP camps is increasing as gangs use rape to terrorize communities, say Human Rights Council-appointed experts.

Call to Action

Experts call for more female leadership and participation to ensure a successful political transition in Haiti. They stress the need to address the root causes of displacement to find long-term solutions. Durable solutions for IDPs, such as safe return, resettlement, or local integration, require tackling the underlying issues like violence, political instability, and environmental problems.

Independent Experts

Appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteurs are mandated to monitor and assess human rights situations in specific thematic or country contexts. They work in their personal capacity, independent of the United Nations and national governments, and do not receive a salary.

Re-reported from the article originally published in UN NEWS.

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Haiti Sees Record Displacement from Gang Violence

Image credit: © UNICEF/Herold Joseph

Haiti Faces Record Displacement Amid Escalating Gang Violence

Violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, has reached alarming levels. Armed gangs control large areas, making it hard for humanitarian aid to reach those in need. Experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced persons, report that clashes between gangs and the Haitian National Police have created widespread fear, limiting people’s movement and access to basic services.

In early 2024, gang-related violence resulted in 2,500 Haitians being killed or injured, including 82 children. Women and children are the most affected, facing increased risks of sexual violence and exploitation.

Mass Displacement

Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in overcrowded, poor conditions without basic hygiene and sanitation. They face severe shortages of food, water, shelter, and medical care, and lack safe spaces for psychological support. According to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), 80% of IDPs are staying with host families, while the rest are in shelters, many in gang-controlled or dangerous areas. Nearly half of Haiti’s population suffers from severe hunger, with 18% at an “emergency” level of food insecurity.

Impact on Children and Women

Children and women are hit hardest by the violence and instability in Haiti. More than 310,000 women and girls, and 180,000 children are displaced. Over half a million children live in neighborhoods controlled by gangs, facing high risks of violence and being recruited by gangs. The growing number of unaccompanied displaced children makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and trafficking.

Violence and attacks on schools have forced nearly 900 schools to close, affecting almost 200,000 children and disrupting their education. Sexual violence against women and girls in IDP camps is increasing as gangs use rape to terrorize communities, say Human Rights Council-appointed experts.

Call to Action

Experts call for more female leadership and participation to ensure a successful political transition in Haiti. They stress the need to address the root causes of displacement to find long-term solutions. Durable solutions for IDPs, such as safe return, resettlement, or local integration, require tackling the underlying issues like violence, political instability, and environmental problems.

Independent Experts

Appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteurs are mandated to monitor and assess human rights situations in specific thematic or country contexts. They work in their personal capacity, independent of the United Nations and national governments, and do not receive a salary.

Re-reported from the article originally published in UN NEWS.