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.