9 people killed in heavy shooting on minibus; UN reports on sexual violence used by gang members; Over 8,000 displaced in Port-au-Prince

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Situation in Haiti

  • Former senators Jean-Charles Moïse and Guy Philippe have formed an alliance to overthrow the current government. 
  • 9 people were killed as a minibus was heavily shot at by members of the “400 Mawozo” gang in Morne à Cabrit on 18 February. On 17 February, 3 trucks from the Belladère Transport Union were set on fire.
  • Access to the airport in Jérémie has been blocked since Sunday 18 February. Barricades were erected on the main road from the airport, also blocking travel to and from Bonbon and Abricots. 
  • 5 Agents of the Protected Areas Security Brigade (BSAP) were killed by National Haitian Police (PNH) agents during a protest on 7 February in Pétillon-Ville.
  • The Dominican Republic has reinforced its border with equipment and soldiers as a response to violent outbreaks in Ouanaminthe, a commune bordering the Dominican Republic. 
  • Gang members have been using sexual violence against women and girls as a weapon, according to the UN. Photos and videos of people being raped or killed are being shared through social media to instill fear.
  • 1,108 people were killed, kidnapped or injured in Haiti in January 2024, 300 of which were gang members.
  • More than 8,000 people are displaced within Port-au-Prince as a consequence of gang violence. The total number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Haiti is 313,901, with 93% displaced due to violence. 
  • 167 Children were killed and injured by bullets in Haiti in 2023.
  • UNICEF urged all parties taking part in the violence in Port-au-Prince to ensure the protection of children, no matter the situation they are in.
  • UNICEF further called on a cessation of the violence so that essential services, including education, health, and protection, could resume as the lack thereof have had a physical and mental toll on children.
  • The success rate of state exams has declined by 10-20% in the past 10 years. At the same time, the school dropout rate has increased significantly since 2018.
  • The number of people experiencing suicidal thoughts is at an unprecedented high according to the to the emergency psychotherapeutic intervention center in Haiti (CIPUH). 12% of the 1,812 calls in November and December 2023 were by people having suicidal thoughts. 
  • Teachers are facing high levels of depression, having to manage traumatised children whilst trying to ignore gunshots, barricades and tear gas from outside, states Marie Marguerite Clérié, president of the Professional Association of Private Schools.
  • She further urged for a cessation of violence to allow schools to function.
  • Joseph Vincent, a Haitian-American, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty for conspiring in the murder of the president Jovenel Moïse. Out of 11 accused for participating in the murder, 4 have already been sentenced to life in prison.
  • Martine Moïse, the wife of the former Haitian president assassinated in 2021, has been charged with conspiracy to murder. A leaked copy of the indictment states that Moïse gave statements that were contradictory with other witnesses, suggesting that she was complicit in the assassination. 
  • 50 others have been charged alongside Martine Moïse, including Claude Joseph, former prime minister, Gonzague Day, former minister, and  Jeantel Joseph, former secretary general of the national agency of public affairs (ANAP). 
  • A report was published by the Global Initiative against Transnational Crime on Haiti’s gang crisis and international responses.
  • The report outlines that the two main sources of gang revenue are protection rackets and checkpoints. Some checkpoints collect up to 8,000 USD per day, whilst businesses can pay up to 20,000 USD a week for the right to operate, along with a fee for every shipped container. 
  • The report further states that some gangs have started trafficking organs. They own clinics where the extraction takes place, alongside the treatment of their members.

Situation on the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission

  • The Haitian and Kenyan governments met in Washington DC to work on the memorandum of understanding between both countries. The Haitian government also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the US to establish a Haiti Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit. 
  • A senior Kenyan police officer, Walter Nyamato, was found dead in his hotel in Washington on 14 February. Together with his team, he was attending a security operations seminar. The cause of death is still unknown, it is being investigated by authorities in the US.
  • The Haitian situation and the MSS were discussed in the Munich security conference on 18 February. The panelists included the Kenyan National Security Advisor, Monica Juma, and the National Security Advisor to the Vice-President of the US, Phil Gordon.
  • The Kenyan government has a good understanding of the various strands of the holistic mission, according to Juma, and they have been constantly interacting with humanitarian organisations on the ground.
  • Gordon discussed the importance of the MSS to bring some security which would allow a political path forward. 
  • Tirana Hassan, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, expressed the importance of laying a groundwork within the system and communities to ensure that once stability has been achieved, the judicial and detention systems enhance the stability rather than perpetuate extremism.
  • Hassan further pointed out that a crucial element for this process to work is long-term (financial) commitments, as the road forward would be long.

Links of interest

L’ex-sénateur Jean-Charles Moïse s’allie à Guy Philippe pour renverser le pouvoir en place
A mini-bus machine-gunned, at least 9 dead
Jérémie : Access to the airport completely blocked
Plusieurs morts ont été recensés en Haïti, lors d’une journée de protestation
Haiti – Insecurity : The Dominican army has installed posts fortified with machine gun on the border
Haiti: Human rights deteriorating as gang violence spreads
IOM Haiti: situation report
Escalade de la violence en Haïti : l’UNICEF exhorte toutes les parties à protéger les enfants.
Haiti: Widespread Human Despair and Surge in “Suicidal Reflections”
“Preserve School Operations”: Marie Marguerite Clérié’s Crucial Call
Jovenel Moïse’s Murder: Joseph Vincent Receives Life Sentence in the USA
The Wife of Haiti’s Assassinated President Is Accused in His Killing
Assassinat de Jovenel Moise: le juge Voltaire a rendu son ordonnance
Report: Haiti’s gang crisis and international responses
Haiti, Kenya, U.S. make progress on deployment of armed force. But there’s no date yet
Spotlight: Haiti | #MSC2024
Senior Police Officer Walter Nyamato Found Dead at US Hotel

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