Hundreds of people are feared dead in the latest battle between gangs in Cité Soleil, bringing the total number of reported killings across Haiti’s capital this year to nearly 1,000.
The Haitian Times reports that the violence has also left hundreds of children to makeshift shelters seeking safety.
“We are deeply concerned by the worsening of violence in Port-au-Prince and the increase of human rights violations committed by gangs against the local population,” a public statement from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reads. “We call on those responsible and supporting this armed violence to immediately desist, and to respect the lives and livelihoods of all Haitians, most of whom live in extreme poverty.”
Security in Haiti has deteriorated sharply since President Jovenel Moïse was shot to death inside his private residence in July 2021.
Clashes between well-armed criminal gangs have caused hundreds of violent deaths during the past few months. In the meantime, Haiti’s gangs have exploited the instability created by Moïse’s death to further their territorial footbring beyond what they’ve held for decades.
According to the Crisis Group, there were more than 1,200 kidnappings in 2021, almost twice the number reported in 2020 and five times more than in 2019.