Human Rights Official Says Haiti Is Enduring “Conditions Of Nightmarish Violence”

(CMC) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Tuesday said the people of Haiti are enduring “conditions of nightmarish violence”.

In his Global Update to the UN Human Rights Council, Türk said heavily armed gangs control services and access in large sections of the capital and the country “perpetrating frequent killings, abductions, random sniper attacks and a horrifying level of sexual violence.

“The situation calls for a combination of responses: turbo-charging the political process towards free and transparent elections; fully implementing the arms embargo; effective sanctions against those who sponsor and direct armed gangs; and international support to build up the capacity of Haiti’s police and judicial systems to fight pervasive impunity and corruption,” he told the Council.

Turk, who had visited Haiti earlier this year, said there was also the need for the deployment of “a time-bound specialized support force, with human rights safeguards.

“We must keep Haiti in our focus, including in support to my office’s work on the ground,” he told the Council.

Over the last weekend, Caribbean Community (Caricom) governments reiterated their resolve to continue efforts to encourage dialogue among Haitian stakeholders and to support efforts at finding solutions to the multi-dimensional crisis facing the country.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat noted that regional leaders with responsibility for Haiti met on Sunday, under the chairmanship of Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis, who is also the Caricom chairman to receive the report from Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who led a Caricom Special Mission to Haiti on February 27.

It said that the mission met with a broad range of Haitian stakeholders to hear their views on the way forward to a Haitian-led solution and demonstrate Caricom solidarity with Haiti.