Haiti: Speech on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
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Thank you, Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,
For over three weeks now, social unrest and popular protests have continued to affect the streets of Port-au-Prince as well as several urban centres in the country.
While the initial aim of these protests was to show legitimate dissent against decisions of the government on domestic policies, the violence and the looting which have followed are largely the work of armed gangs that have infiltrated the protests and taken advantage of the situation. Banks, schools, food depots – including of the World Food Programme, Caritas and other NGOs - have been vandalised and looted in the course of these events. The violence has hampered relief and humanitarian efforts in the response to the 2021 earthquake.
The European Union regrets that once more the principal victims of all this violence are the most vulnerable groups. The growing number of kidnappings and killings, often involving children either as victims or as perpetrators, and high rates of sexual and gender-based violence, are signs of the further degradation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the country.
What is happening reminds us that when political leaders in Haiti do not manage to offer reliable solutions, armed gangs take control and it is the people who suffer the consequences.
United Nations Secretary General Guterres has rightly highlighted that the current crisis requires drastic measures. Particularly when it comes to restoring security and the fight against armed gangs, the Haitians cannot be left alone. The European Union is actively considering a contribution to the UN administered Basket Fund to strengthen the National Police of Haiti.
Ultimately, however, a political solution must be found within Haiti and by the Haitians. It is high time for the country’s political forces to show responsibility and put the well-being of the country and its long-suffering people before their own factional interests. Otherwise, it is hard to see an exit from the current crisis.
Link to the video (starting at 23:05) : https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-230764