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.

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