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Haiti 2023

Hunger and lack of essential goods and services were widespread. Gang violence including killings, abductions and sexual violence remained unpunished. Judges, prosecutors, journalists and human rights defenders were at risk. Hundreds of thousands of people remained internally displaced or fled the country, while the USA and the Dominican Republic offered Haitians limited access to international protection and expelled thousands of them.


Criminal groups were present throughout the country and exercised considerable influence over important areas of the country, including the capital, Port-au-Prince, and its metropolitan area.

In October, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a multinational security support mission in Haiti, a measure requested by the Haitian government. The mission was going to be led by Kenyan law enforcement, which had a record of excessive and unnecessary use of force, including lethal force.1

Economic, social and cultural rights

The scarcity of essential goods and services continued throughout the year. In July, the World Food Programme announced that it would have to stop providing food assistance to 100,000 people due to budget cuts, despite the fact that half of the population (4.9 million people) were unable to source food daily. Despite a slight reduction in expected hunger levels announced by the government and UN agencies, millions continued to lack sufficient food, and environmental changes and climate shocks affected food production.

Health services were insufficient and had reduced capacity due to economic constraints and violence that had caused displacement of people and interference with humanitarian operations. Cholera cases surged in June in the context of an epidemic that had seen nearly 70,000 suspected cases since October 2022. In May, the WHO announced further support and funding to help overcome health deficits.


Impunity for the widespread violence across the country continued to be almost absolute. Sexual violence was prevalent, including rape of women and girls to instil fear, gain and demonstrate control, or as punishment, according to Human Rights Watch.

In February, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on authorities to strengthen the security forces and the judicial system to address gang-related violence.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alerted that at least three journalists were killed in 2023: Paul Jean Marie of Radio Lumière, Ricot Jean of Radio-Télé Évolution Inter, and Dumesky Kersaint of Radio Télé Inurep. Dozens of journalists fled their homes amid harassment, abductions, shootings and assaults on media facilities.

In May, armed individuals on a motorcycle opened fire on the vehicle of Judge Wilner Morin, who handled corruption cases and was the president of the National Association of Haitian Judges. In September, Québex Jean, deputy prosecutor in Mirebalais district, was killed at his home by unidentified armed individuals. The investigations into these cases were ongoing at the end of the year.

On 26 August, armed individuals opened fire on a group of people protesting against the prevalence of crime and violence in Haiti, killing at least seven people and injuring 10. The march took place in Canaan settlement, north of Port-au-Prince, and was attended by hundreds of protesters.

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

Despite the November 2022 call by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to halt the deportation of Haitians, the Dominican Republic forcibly returned thousands of Haitians and closed the border with Haiti. The USA continued to deport Haitian nationals despite a US extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in February 2023 and the continued operation of humanitarian parole programmes.

By June, more than 190,000 people remained internally displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration. Most of these people had fled their homes in response to armed gang violence.

Human rights defenders

In March, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ordered provisional measures in favour of members of the human rights organization ECCREDHH. The court considered that the group were at risk of suffering irreparable harm to their rights to life and personal integrity. Members of the group had faced harassment and violence by unknown assailants since at least 2015 in a context of generalized violence against human rights defenders.

On 18 August, armed individuals shot at the headquarters of the NGO National Human Rights Defence Network (RNDDH) in Port-au-Prince. The attack occurred hours after the organization published an investigative report on the crisis of violence in Haiti. RNDDH believed that a police officer had been involved in the shooting.

  1. “Haiti: Open letter to all members of the Security Council regarding the development of an international security force in Haiti”, 18 August