The Washington Post
U.N.: Gangs rampant despite help for police
The United Nations’ special envoy to Haiti warned Wednesday that the training and resources the international community is providing to Haiti’s national police force is not enough to fight increasingly violent gangs.
Helen La Lime, head of the U.N.’S Integrated Office in Haiti, unexpectedly joined an Organization of American States meeting in Washington, saying it’s time to look at new partnerships as she called once again for the deployment of a specialized foreign force.
“We’re not getting the job done,” she said. “We need to get down to the business of building this country back.”
Powerful gangs have been infiltrating once peaceful communities in the Haitian capital and beyond, with experts estimating that they now control about 60 percent of Port-au-Prince.
They have pillaged neighborhoods, raped adults and children, and kidnapped hundreds of victims, including U.S. missionaries and a hot dog street vendor, in a bid to control more territory, with violence worsening since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Haiti’s National Police has only 9,000 active duty officers in a country of more than 11 million people, and officials say the department remains underresourced and understaffed despite international help.