Some 4.5 million Haitians did not have enough to eat as fuel prices rose, and gang violence displaced thousands. Impunity remained entrenched for massacres, kidnappings and sexual violence. Haitians continued to flee to countries in Latin America and the USA in search of safety but received limited access to international protection and faced anti-Black discrimination, in some cases amounting to race-based torture.
Gang violence caused widespread insecurity, led to a kidnapping crisis and left thousands internally displaced.
In September, the UN ordered the evacuation of non-essential staff from Haiti.
In October, after gangs were reported to be blocking access to fuel, the UN Security Council approved sanctions targeting gang leaders, including an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against those deemed to be engaging in or supporting criminal activity and violence.
Economic, social and cultural rights
Thousands of people protested over food scarcity and fuel shortages throughout the year, with protests escalating in September after the prime minister announced fuel price hikes.
By September, 4.5 million people, more than 40% of the population, were facing crisis or emergency hunger levels, according to the World Food Programme.
By late October, after several years with no reported cases, 1,700 suspected cases of cholera, a disease which killed many thousands of Haitians following the 2010 earthquake, were detected, half among children, according to UNICEF.
Impunity and violence
Impunity for massacres, kidnappings and sexual violence remained chronic.
From January to the end of June, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, documented 934 killings, 684 injuries and 680 kidnappings across the capital, Port-au-Prince. In just five days in July, at least 234 people were killed or injured in gang-related violence in the city’s Cité Soleil area, also according to OHCHR.
In late April, a territorial dispute between gangs left 188 people dead in Port-au-Prince. According to OHCHR, the battle involved extreme forms of violence including “beheadings, chopping and burning of bodies, [and] the killing of minors accused of being informants for a rival gang”, as well as the use of sexual violence, including gang rape of children as young as 10, to “terrorize and punish people living in areas controlled by rival gangs.”
Human rights defenders and journalists also remained at risk. In early September, two journalists reporting in Cité Soleil were killed and their bodies burned, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In October, OHCHR issued a report on the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon by gangs to instil fear and expand their area of influence. It concluded: “Women, girls, boys, and men have been affected. LGBTI+ persons, traditionally marginalized and rejected within the Haitian society, have also been particularly targeted”.
Refugees’ and migrants’ rights
As the human rights and humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate rapidly, Haitian asylum seekers resorted to fleeing the island by boat, leading to drownings at sea.
Between September 2021 and May 2022, the USA expelled more than 25,000 Haitians, making significant use of Title 42, an order that allows authorities to summarily expel migrants and asylum seekers to their home country or most recent transit country, in violation of national and international law.
The US authorities subjected Haitian asylum seekers to arbitrary detention and discriminatory and humiliating ill-treatment that amounted to race-based torture.1
The ill-treatment Haitians experienced in US detention facilities included lack of access to sufficient food, healthcare, information, interpreters and lawyers. Haitian asylum seekers also reported that they were returned to Haiti by plane in handcuffs and shackles, causing severe psychological pain and suffering due to its association with slavery and criminality, in violation of international human rights law which absolutely prohibits torture and other ill-treatment.