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UN Chief Calls “Not to Forget Haiti” on Visit to Port-au-Prince

“Now is not the time to forget Haiti,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said upon his arrival in Port-au-Prince on Saturday to demonstrate their “solidarity” with a population trapped in a “tragic cycle” of violence and misery.

Guterres also called for “putting Haiti on the international political map and making the tragedy of the Haitian people the top priority of the international community.”

After meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Henry and others political and civil society leaders, Guterres insisted that “now is not the time to forget Haiti.” During this visit, which was kept secret until he landed in the capital, the UN chief also urged the Council of Security of the organization, which will discuss the situation in the Caribbean country at the end of July, “to authorize the immediate deployment of a solid international security force.”

“I call on states that have the ability to provide a strong security force to drop doubts and be ready to follow a Security Council decision,” Guterres asked.

UN officials in recent months have increasingly assessed the impact of shootings, kidnappings and gang violations.

This Saturday, the UN chief himself denounced that “Port-au-Prince is surrounded by armed gangs that block the main roads that lead to the northern and southern departments, controlling access to water, food and medical care.” In addition, he condemned “in the strongest possible terms the widespread sexual violence that gangs use as a weapon to instill fear.”

Foreign Cooperation Minister Ricard Pierre warned in June of the high risk of a “civil war “if there is no foreign intervention.

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Almost half of the population, some 5.2 million people, also needs humanitarian aid, including some 3 million children.

Since 2016, no elections have been held in the country. Henry, appointed prime minister just 48 hours before the last president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated in July 2021, faces questions about his legitimacy.

After Haiti, the UN chief will fly to Trinidad and Tobago, where will participate in the summit of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, will also be present at the meeting and will address the Haitian case.

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