Over 2,400 killed in Haiti gang violence since January: UN 

GENEVA  - More than 2,400 peo­ple have been killed in Haiti since the start of 2023 amid rampant gang violence, includ­ing hundreds killed in lynchings by vigilante mobs, the UN said Fri­day. The toll comes as gang violence in Hai­ti’s capital of Port-au- Prince this week left 30 residents dead and more than a dozen in­jured. “Between Janu­ary 1 and August 15 of this year, at least 2,439 people have been killed and a further 902 in­jured,” UN rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told re­porters in Geneva. 

In addition, she said, “951 people have been kidnapped” during the same period. 

And as anger grows over the gang violence, she warned that a rise in popular justice movements and self-de­fence groups was spur­ring further violence. “Since April 24 up to mid-August, more than 350 people have been lynched by local people and vigilante groups,” she said, adding that of those, 310 were al­leged gang members and one was a police officer. The remainder were members of the public. Houses in Port-au-Prince’s Carrefour- Feuilles neighbourhood were set on fire in the attacks and two police officers also died, ac­cording to a provisional toll provided to AFP by the National Human Rights Defense Net­work. The neighbour­hood is a strategic area for the gangs, which control about 80 per­cent of Haiti’s capital. 

Violent crimes in­cluding kidnappings for ransom, carjack­ings, rapes and armed thefts are common. In recent days violence in the neighbourhood has caused some 5,000 res­idents to flee, authori­ties said. 

“Reports from Haiti this week have under­scored the extreme brutality of the vio­lence being inflicted on the population and the impact that it is having on their human rights,” Shamdasani said.

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