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More than 13,000 Haitian migrants returned to their country despite violence

Photo: Alfredo Estrella Archives Agence France-Presse Migrants, mostly Haitian, traveling with their families wait in a makeshift shelter to receive a permit to continue their journey north to the Mexico-US border in May 2023.

France Media Agency in Geneva

2:39 p.m.

  • Americas

Some 13,000 Haitian migrants were forcibly returned home by neighboring states in March despite the catastrophic humanitarian and security situation, the International Organization for Migration said Thursday.

This is 46% more than the previous month, notes the IOM in a press release, which specifies that 3,000 of them received humanitarian assistance upon their return and 1,200 are benefiting from psychosocial support.

“For most Haitians, the prospect of regular migration remains an insurmountable obstacle, leaving irregular migration as the only semblance of hope,” notes the organization.

Just to obtain a passport it takes “sometimes months or even more than a year”, which prevents recourse to regular emigration channels, using humanitarian visas for example, insists the IOM.

She notes a worrying trend, particularly among the population exhausted by repeated travel: “cases of suicidal tendencies that were once a taboo subject, but are now being revealed more and more frequently.”

Also read

  • More than 53,000 people fled Port-au-Prince in March
  • Haiti is in the grip of a “cataclysmic” situation, warns the UN

According to the IOM count, Haiti has more than 360,000 internally displaced people, “many of them several times”.

The country had a total population of 11.6 million in 2022, according to UN figures.

The country has been ravaged for decades by poverty, natural disasters, political instability.

Since late February, powerful Haitian gangs have teamed up to attack police stations, prisons, the airport and the seaport in an effort to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who ultimately resigned.

But the transition commission is slow to be put in place, which slows down the arrival of the multinational force which must come to lend a hand to the Haitian police – totally overwhelmed – to restore order.

Humanitarian staff “are faced with unprecedented security challenges, and must weigh the imperative to provide aid with the harsh reality of the personal risk incurred and the difficulties of traveling,” explains Philippe Branchat, the head of the IOM in Haiti.

Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian coordinator, released $12 million from an emergency fund on Thursday to tackle the crisis.

“Relentless gang violence has displaced 50,000 people [out of Port-au-Prince in March], plunged 5 million people into acute hunger and weakened an already fragile health system,” notes t -he on the social network X.

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Thursday that, among other things, urges UN member states and all stakeholders “to continue to support measures and efforts of the Haitian Government to combat armed gang violence and the illicit sale, importation and circulation of firearms, and to guarantee respect for human rights in Haiti.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116