UN orders evacuation of non-essential personnel in Haiti due to rising violence

The UN has ordered the evacuation of all its non-essential workers in Haiti due to increased violence from ongoing protests in the streets of the country, saying UN personnel are vulnerable to kidnappings and possible attacks.

The evacuation order comes just two months after the UN Security Council voted to extend the mandate of its Integrated Office in Haiti by one year and increase its staff, the ‘Miami Herald has learned. ‘.

Overall, UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the violence in all its forms that has taken place in the country in recent weeks and called on all actors to work together to de-escalate the situation and ensure ” a return to calm”.

As detailed by the General Secretariat in a press release, the head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah), Helen La Lime, continues to intensify her good relations with government officials, political actors, civil society groups and private sector actors.

All of this, in particular, in search of a commitment to “a peaceful transition” leading to the restoration of democratically elected institutions.

MINUSTAH continued to encourage Haitian stakeholders to engage in constructive discussions on ways to chart a common path and will continue to support Haitian-led efforts to reach a consensual transition agreement, the Minister said. UN.

Additionally, following attacks on UN-supported warehouses in various Haitian cities, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, Ulrika Richardson, called for safe access for aid workers and supplies. .

She also highlighted the “significant” contribution of international and local NGOs, pointing out that they often work “in unstable and dangerous situations throughout the country”, as many of these organizations have been directly targeted by looters.

The wave of protests that began in Haiti a few weeks ago left the country “paralyzed” and led to an aggravation of the already dire humanitarian situation, according to the UN, which detects in recent days timid efforts to return to normal.

Insecurity and the rising cost of living underlie this social unrest, exacerbated by the withdrawal of fuel subsidies decreed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who took the reins of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. after the July 2021 assassination of the then president. , Jovenel Moise.

Michelle J. Kelley