Haiti has been plagued by insecurity and violence caused by armed gangs, leading to a spike in kidnappings and murders. However, a recent report by the Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights (CARDH) states that at least 160 alleged members of these gangs have been hunted down, lynched, and burned alive since the launch of the “bwa kale” operation in April. This movement is a popular reaction to the “extreme cruelty” of the gangs, as the law enforcement is powerless and the state is incapable of using its monopoly on legitimate violence. As a result of these lynchings, kidnappings and murders have drastically decreased, and individual kidnappings occurred.
The CARDH warns that the civil movement must be watched to ensure lasting security, or else the response from the gangs will be even worse. The NGO sees this as a reaction to a population left at the mercy of armed gangs. Meanwhile, Haiti is going through a crisis in all aspects, with almost half of the population suffering from acute hunger. The government has requested international military help to pacify the country and attack other great evils that affect the most depressed country of the continent.
This has been a dire situation for Haiti, but the CARDH’s report sheds light on how desperate the population has become and how they are willing to take matters into their own hands. The international community must take action to help Haiti not only tackle violence but also its other challenges. Until then, lynching and burning alleged criminal gang members cannot be justified as a sustainable solution. The government must take charge and provide security for the people, or else we may expect more violent acts from the gangs as they retaliate.