UN mission in Haiti says murders have increased, appeals for calm

16 August 2005

The United Nations mission in Haiti today condemned a rising rate of shooting deaths and presumed lynchings in the last two weeks in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and appealed for calm at a time when the priorities included establishing security and ensuring the return of a normal economic and social life.

The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said these acts violated human rights and were grave crimes under the law and Constitution of the Caribbean country.

MINUSTAH was continuing to support the Transitional Government in its efforts to reform and strengthen the country’s institutions, actions that are fundamental for the establishment of a State based on the rule of law as the only guarantee of social and political stability.

While acknowledging that the Haitian National Police and the judicial system still needed strengthening, “MINUSTAH calls on the population to increase its collaboration with the public security forces and to reject in all its forms the violence which constitutes an obstacle to the process of normalization and peace-building in the country,” it said.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Juan Gabriel Valdés told a crowd gathered in the historic southern seaport of Cayes yesterday to start a programme of decentralization from Port-au-Prince in the country emerging from civil conflict that the UN would support development projects, in general, and the decentralization programme, in particular.

MINUSTAH, together with UNDP, the Office of the Prime Minister and local authorities, have been working on decentralization to ensure a smooth transition after the elections of 2005, a report to the Security Council from Secretary-General Kofi Annan said earlier this year.

As an illustration of the work needed in a decentralized Port-au-Prince, Mr. Valdés said, “The South (Department) of the country is very well-organized, with the young people having good initiatives for their region.”

Transitional Prime Minister Gerard Latortue told the gathering in Cayes that decentralization would reduce the ills affecting Port-au Prince, including criminality, unemployment, unsanitary conditions and the expansion of its shanty towns. The international community and the Transitional Government were allied in making the needed investment, he added.


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