France says Haiti remains a “priority concern”

France said Haiti remains a “priority concern” for it , adding that it is mobilized along with the rest of the international community to help deal with the political as well as the socio-economic situation in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

In a statement on the crisis in Haiti, a spokesman for the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Anne-Claire Legendre, said “we are facing a deep political and security crisis in Haiti, which is having serious consequences for the population, and which is also hampering humanitarian access, in an increasingly degraded economic and social context.

”France is mobilized, along with the rest of the international community, both in terms of security, politics and humanitarian issues. According to the national network for the defense of human rights in Haiti, criminal groups control the entire capital.”

She said it is in this context that France has given priority to the restoration of security and greatly increased its support for the National Police of Haiti.

“It is important that Security Council resolution 2653 be implemented. You know that it introduced a sanctions regime that targets people involved in criminal activities. We are also working on the adoption of a European framework of sanctions which would complement these UN sanctions. So much for the security aspect of this crisis.

”In addition, we obviously have a mobilization on issues of political dialogue. There was an agreement on December 21, 2022. It is now a matter of Haitian political actors returning to this dialogue, to quickly appoint a Provisional Electoral Council which will finally make it possible to move towards elections.”

Late last month, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), Maria Isabel Salvador, said that gang violence is expanding at an alarming rate in areas previously considered relatively safe in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The UN said that compared to the first quarter of 2022, criminal incidents, including homicide, rape, kidnappings and lynching,  more than doubled in the same period in 2023 to 1,647.

Some residents have begun to take matters in their own hands, and recently, a group of civilians seized 13 suspected gang members from police custody, beat them to death and burned their bodies.

The police have since pledged to crack down on unrelenting gang violence and pleaded with Haitians to end a string of grisly vigilante killings.

Legendre said on the humanitarian side, France has increased its humanitarian aid, “which for 2023 amounts to nine million Euros (One Euro=US$1.29 cents), including 5.5 million in food aid, which is particularly critical in the current situation.

“We are also working on health issues, with an increase in our aid in the fight against cholera, which is also raging in Haiti,” she added. (CMC)