Building peace, preventing violence, and supporting community resilience in Haiti |

The United Nations Peace Building Fund, (PBF), which emphasizes the role of women and youth in peace-building efforts through their meaningful participation, began operations in Haiti in 2019. to meet the needs identified by the government.

Before the International Day of Peace is marked every year on September 21, here are five things you need to know about PBF.

Making peace

Globally, the Peace Building Fund has been active since 2006 in countries or situations at risk of or affected by violent conflict. UN Secretary General António Guterres describes it as “an important means of supporting resilience and prevention.”

Between 2006 and 2021, the PBF allocated $1.67 billion to 65 countries to sustain peace efforts. Haiti has received about $20 million for nine projects. These interventions focus broadly on the implementation and maintenance of peace agreements, peaceful dialogue and coexistence, and the re-establishment of basic services that can contribute to the building of peaceful societies.

Gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is terrorizing both adults and children.

UNDP Haiti / Borja Lopetegui Gonzalez

Gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is terrorizing both adults and children.

Violence, instability and insecurity

Insecurity and insecurity, fueled by apparent inequality, have been a longstanding problem in Haiti and are the main reason why the Government has called for the support of the PBF.

The assassination of the Haitian president in July 2021 and a destructive earthquake in the south of the country a month later added to the insecurity due to the growing presence and influence of gangs.

This insecurity has worsened in the capital Port-au-Prince over the past year, as gang violence, exacerbated by the prevalence of illegal weapons and ammunition, has increased get a raise. The number of kidnappings for ransom is also increasing day by day.

In the commune of Cite Soleil, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the capital, 99 people were killed and 133 injured in a week of particularly violent clashes in July between gangs vying for control of the territory. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands of people fled to safer locations, many of whom were supported by the United Nations.

Edwin* a youth leader who lives in Cite Soleil and is a member of a youth group supported by the PBF, said he witnessed fierce street fighting and added that “I go to bed and woke up to the sound of gunfire. It’s very stressful.” The group brings together young people from neighborhoods where rival gangs are active. nothing will change for me,” he said.

The UN is supporting the reopening of schools like the Lycée National de La Saline.

UN Haiti / Jonathan Boulet-Groulx

The UN is supporting the reopening of schools like the Lycée National de La Saline.

The absence of peace

Gang violence is just one very tangible manifestation of insecurity and lack of peace, but Haitian lives are being affected in countless other ways. In Cite Soleil, about 95,000 students at more than 300 schools have had their education interrupted because of the violence.

More than 2,500 people have fled the commune and have to seek help from the United Nations. Blocking roads to the south has prevented the free flow of people and services in both directions, making it difficult for farmers to get their crops to market in Port-au-Prince and supporting materials assistance and reconstruction must be delivered after the earthquake- the southern peninsula was affected.

“Reducing violence and conflict, accessing justice and establishing lasting peace and stability are priorities for the Peace Building Fund,” said Ulrika Richardson, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti. of the United Nations”. “. It is through the leadership of many local and national organizations that we envision accompanying Haiti in building a peaceful and prosperous society for all Haitian people.”

Without stability, security and equity, economic progress is almost impossible to achieve. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly apparent with the continuing decline of the Haitian economy, which is most felt by the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and individuals. .

The Peace Building Fund is supporting activities to prevent election- and political-related violence, especially against women.

© UNICEF / Roger LeMoyne

The Peace Building Fund is supporting activities to prevent election- and political-related violence, especially against women.

Close the gap

The PBF played a particularly important role in Haiti after the closure of the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAHin 2017. The PBF is one of the few resources available to the United Nations to expand efforts in areas that were previously mandated or that need new attention.

The Foundation has focused on several key areas including reducing violence in the community with a focus on supporting and promoting participation at the community level with a focus on youth. It has also promoted social cohesion and mental health, especially for women and girls, and supported actions to prevent election- and political-related violence, once. particularly focusing on the protection and empowerment of women.

Strengthening the justice system, including providing legal aid to vulnerable populations while enhancing coordination between the judiciary and the criminal system, is also a priority for the PBF.

People detained in a prison in Haiti


People detained in a prison in Haiti

Supporting the most vulnerable in Haiti

Ultimately, PBF is a people-centred funding mechanism that has led to notable successes.

At the age of 15, Renel* was held without trial for three years in a prison in Les Cayes after being falsely accused by a shop owner of stealing two ducks. His case attracted the attention of the United Nations and was referred to a legal aid office set up by the United Nations Development Program (United Nations Development Program).UNDP), the UN political mission in Haiti, BINUH and the Haitian Ministry of Justice and Public Security and funded by the PBF.

Renel, along with 67 other individuals, were released from custody. “Children should go to school, not go to jail,” he said.

Sylvie joins a PBF-supported group in the gang-affected Martissant neighborhood that seeks to prevent and resolve disputes at the community level. With a focus on women’s empowerment and combating sexual violence, she said: “The situation may not be resolved tomorrow, but we hope that we will see changes in the long term. ”International Day of Peace observed around the world on September 21. The theme for 2022 is “End Racism. Build Peace”

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