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UN Security Council raises alarm on ‘critical’ situation in violence-gripped Haiti

A demonstrator holds up an Haitian flag during protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 1, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

The UN Security Council expressed its concern over the deteriorating situation in violence-gripped Haiti on Wednesday, as Washington ramped up pressure on absent Prime Minister Ariel Henry to secure a political settlement.

Armed gangs who control swaths of the country launched a coordinated effort to oust Mr. Henry last week, attacking the airport, prisons and police stations, while threatening a full-scale civil war.

The U.S. on Wednesday called for Mr. Henry to take steps to “finalise a political accord,” but did not urge his resignation — a key demand of powerful gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier.

Power-sharing deal

In power since the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moise, Mr. Henry was due to leave office in February but instead agreed to a power-sharing deal with the Opposition until new elections are held. Mr. Cherizier warned on Tuesday that the worsening chaos would lead to civil war and mass bloodshed unless Mr. Henry stood down.

At least 15,000 people have fled the worst-hit parts of Port-au-Prince.

Malta’s UN ambassador Vanessa Frazier said that every Security Council member “shared the same concerns, that the security situation is obviously concerning.” Amid the latest unrest, Mr. Henry has been unable to return home. He was in Kenya to push for the deployment of a UN-backed multinational police mission to help stabilize his country when the attempt to oust him began.

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