Lawyers liken situation in Haiti to Somalia

March 14, 2023

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti,  Mar 14, CMC – The Council of the Bar Association of Port-au-Prince is warning that the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country is in the “process of Somalisation ” where armed gangs clash with each other for a piece of the country on a daily basis.

“The life of the simplest citizen is daily put in danger, not even sparing parents and their children front the schools,” the lawyers said.

“The horror, barbarity and monstrosity of these acts of banditry are not able to move the Government in place, clinging to a purposeless power, always inclined to show expressions of sympathy for tragedies abroad but stubbornly disconnected from the suffering of the local population.”

The Council said kidnappings have become part of the daily lives “to the point that this crime has become normalised.

Alarmed by the “process of Somalisation of the national territory”, the Council “condemns the casualness of the authorities responsible for public security and tranquillity while taking note of the immobility of international institutions whose vocation is to contribute to the establishment of the rule of law in Haiti”.

Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa where there is an ongoing civil war and drought, displacement, and conflict have increased protection risks for children, including early marriage, gender-based violence, child labour and child recruitment. Approximately 4.8 million Somali children remain out of school, representing a 15 per cent increase over the previous year.

The Council also expressed concern “ by the routine adoption of public acts devoid of any constitutional basis, particularly with regard to the appointment of judges to the Court of Cessation, challenged by the general dysfunction of national institutions and the growing devaluation of rule of law.

“The failure of the current State mainly affects the judiciary which seems to have renounced its prerogatives in the administration of justice” it said recalling that “for more than four years, mainly in the jurisdiction of Port-au-Prince, justice has been regularly disrupted, even completely paralysed at times, especially after the perimeter of the Palais de Justice was declared a lawless zone.

“The normalisation of the functioning of the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince has never taken place,” the Council said reminding the various stakeholders who hasten “to maliciously evoke the virtue of dialogue with outlaws with a view to their reintegration, that in view of the seriousness of the crimes committed over time, including in particular rape, torture, the forced displacement of populations, impunity cannot be the condition of forgiveness”.

The situation in Haiti where political instability has rocked the country since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenelle Moise will be among matters discussed when leaders from the United States and Canada meet in Ottawa next week..”

The White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden will travel to Ottawa from March 23-24 and will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership and promote our shared security, shared prosperity, and shared values.

Last week, CARICOM   governments reiterated their resolve to continue efforts to encourage dialogue among Haitian stakeholders and to support efforts at finding solutions to the multi-dimensional crisis facing the country.

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