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UN report questions police, highlights violence in Haiti

The United Nations issued a scathing report on Tuesday that accused Haitian police of not protecting an impoverished neighborhood from corrupt officers and gang leaders they say shot at people and set fire to homes and cars in a recent three-day attack.

The report urged local authorities to prosecute those responsible for the violence that erupted in November 2019 in the Bel Air neighborhood, known for organizing anti-government protests.

“Far from being an isolated incident, the Bel Air attack illustrates the recent evolution of the current context in Haiti, mainly characterized by the general insecurity in working-class neighborhoods and slums, the impunity of members of criminal gangs...the alleged collusion between them and certain political and economic actors, the links between gang members and certain agents of the Haitian National Police, as well as the lack of police intervention,” the report stated.

The investigation cited sources alleging that a government representative offered about $50,000 to organizations if they convinced certain people in Bel Air to lift barricades set up by anti-government protesters in a key area that prevented access to major markets.

Days after the alleged meeting occurred, the report said that a former policeman, Jimmy Cherizier, known as “Barbecue,” and other alleged gang leaders repeated the request to have the barricades lifted.

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