UN calls for calm in Haiti as new protest looms
United Nations (United States) (AFP)
The United Nations called Thursday for calm in crisis-wracked Haiti, eight days before the end of its police mission in the country.
For more than a year, Haiti has been roiled by violent anti-corruption protests as the country sinks deeper into political crisis.
"We encourage all actors to refrain from violence, respect human rights, and allow the normal functioning of hospitals and emergency services, as well as the work of the humanitarians who are assisting the most vulnerable populations," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric during his daily press conference.
Another protest is planned for Friday to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise. He appealed in September for national reconciliation and a unity government, but protesters rejected his "truce."
Following a request from the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the UN Security Council held a televised meeting Thursday on the Haitian crisis.
"The situation on the ground is very worrying," said one member of the Council, of which the Dominican Republic is a non-permanent member.
"Authorities are not up to the task," another diplomat said.
Plagued by multiple corruption scandals, Haiti's government fell in February. Local and legislative elections originally scheduled for the end of October will not take place, due to the lack of a vote on the electoral law.
"Security incidents and roadblocks have disrupted the UN and NGOs' humanitarian programs," with "hospitals facing significant challenges to operate," Dujarric said the previous day.
"Fuel shortages, lack of safe water and other essentials are also affecting orphanages, civil protection units and other emergency services, which are also functioning with limited capacity," he said, adding that many schools have been closed for the past two weeks, leaving about two million children without access to education.
"Thousands of people already facing the consequences of severe food insecurity could be further impacted, with food assistance unable to reach them," the spokesman said.
On October 15, the UN will officially shut down the 1,000-strong police force known as MINUJUSTH and replace it with a smaller UN political presence, even though it admits the Caribbean nation faces major problems.
MINUJUSTH was deployed in 2017, replacing the full-fledged MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission, which was sent after a devastating 2010 earthquake.
© 2019 AFP