unicef reports alarming spike in kidnappings and abductions in haiti
The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 plunged Haiti into a deep political crisis, which has only continued to worsen as an unprecedented breakdown in security takes control.
Alarming Spike In Kidnappings And Abductions
Persistent violence remains a major concern for the safety of Haiti’s most vulnerable citizens, UNICEF said Monday, reporting a worrying spike in cases of kidnapping and other crimes.
According to the UN Children’s Fund, the first six months of 2023 saw nearly 300 confirmed cases, almost matching the total number reported over 2022.
Highlighting the worrying trend in kidnappings, Gary Conille, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the stories they are hearing are “shocking and unacceptable”.
A number of women and children are frequently and forcefully taken by armed groups and subsequently used for financial or tactical gains.
The victims who manage to escape the violence and return home often struggle with deep physical scars and psychological trauma, possibly for multiple years.
Armed Gangs Terrorise Population In Fight For Control
“Women and children are not commodities’. They are not bargaining chips,” Conille stressed, calling for the safe return of all those who have been kidnapped.
The overall situation in Haiti is far away from being called pleasant. Today, close to half of the entire population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
While women and girls face extreme sexual violence, children are directly targeted or find themselves in the crossfire, as armed groups fight for territory and control.
Armed gangs are said to be terrorizing the population, impacting the humanitarian, human rights and economic situation in a country already grappling with poverty, disasters and disease.