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Haiti: Arms proliferation fuels human rights abuses ahead of elections

Armed groups continue to illegally control territory and people, and commit criminal acts without being challenged by national authorities or UN forces, says the report.

It reveals that attempts to disarm illegal armed groups have been insufficient, showing the Haitian authorities’ unwillingness to implement an effective disarmament plan.

Amnesty International called on the interim government and the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to implement without delay a comprehensive disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

"Small arms are being used by illegal armed groups and former military to kidnap, sexually abuse and kill Haitians with absolute impunity. Without disarmament and effective justice for the victims, Haiti will sink further into crisis."

The lack of political will from the interim government to put in place urgently needed reforms of the National Haitian Police (HNP) or to implement a disarmament program is hampering the efforts of MINUSTAH to solve the crisis.

Mike Blakemore said:

"Lack of accountability of police officers and widespread impunity for human rights abuses by armed groups cannot lead to durable peace in Haiti. The interim government is failing in its responsibilities to protect the most basic rights of Haitian people.

"Durable peace in Haiti will never be achieved unless those responsible for human rights crimes are held to account and the victims obtain redress."

Amid increased violence and insecurity, MINUSTAH should take more decisive action to fulfil its objectives of protecting civilians, promoting human rights and fighting impunity.

Amnesty International is calling on the Haitian interim government to:

  • Implement without delay a comprehensive disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme
  • Investigate all reports of human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice
  • Provide reparation for victims of human rights violations
  • Reform the judicial system in accordance with international human rights legislation and end illegal arrests and long-term detentions for those awaiting trial

In addition, Amnesty International is calling on the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti to:

  • Work together with the interim government for the establishment of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program and the investigation of human rights abuses
  • Issue frequent, public reports on the human rights situation
  • Vet police officers for human rights abuses and train all HNP personnel on human rights standards and international standards for law enforcement officials

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