Poverty, chaos threaten Haiti, UN envoy warns

The National Post of Canada interviewed Michel Forst, a French lawyer appointed by the United Nations as an independent human rights investigator in Haiti, who says that it is time for the international community to refocus its foreign aid to improve economic opportunities there.

A member of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti patrols the streets of the capital city. (UN Photo/Marco Dormino)

A member of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti patrols the streets of the capital city. (UN Photo/Marco Dormino)

“Economic exclusion is a threat to political stability in Haiti,” said Mr. Forst.

“In order for human security to prevail, the people and communities of Haiti must not only be sheltered from violence, injustice and corruption, but also from hunger, disease and natural disasters.”

“There have been many reported cases of peoples’ justice that have culminated in the death of individuals suspected of theft, murder, breaking and entry, kidnapping, witchcraft or banditry,” Mr. Forst said.

“Things are improving in Haiti, especially in the area of security,” he added. “The gangs have been arrested; the level of trust in the police has improved. Things are on the way to changing.”

But crushing poverty remains the biggest threat to stability, and recent hurricanes and floods have made conditions worse.

Read the full story here.

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