Haiti's gang crisis and international responses

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Over the course of 2023 and early 2024, security has continued to deteriorate alarmingly in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and in rural areas in the center and south of the country.

The Haitian crisis worsened critically in 2023. UN reports indicate that in 2023, over 4 789 people were murdered, 1 698 injured, and 2 490 kidnapped, with a 2023 homicide rate of 40.9 per 100 000, more than double the 2022 rate. Besides these figures, the nature of the criminal actors has been profoundly transformed, posing a series of challenges to international intervention.

Over the past years, gangs have undergone a radical evolution, going from rather unstructured actors dependent on resources provided by public or private patronage to violent entrepreneurs who have been able to convert their territorial power into governance capabilities. This shift has been fueled by the gangs’ unprecedented access to firearms and the Haitian state’s inability to halt their expansion, professionalization, and propensity to impose their rule over ever-larger territories, as well as by ongoing collusion by elements of the country’s political and economic elites.

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