The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Swiss Foreign Ministry cannot help in Haiti in emergency situations

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) advised against traveling to Haiti on Thursday due to the precarious security situation. Switzerland has practically no means of providing assistance in emergencies, it added.

According to the FDFA, the existing state structures in the poorest country in the western hemisphere cannot guarantee security. The development of the situation is "highly uncertain".

The number of criminal kidnappings and other violent crimes is very high throughout the country and especially in the capital Port-au-Prince. Police support could not be counted on. The danger exists for both locals and foreign nationals.

The FDFA has already advised against traveling to Haiti in the past. Switzerland does not maintain diplomatic representations in Haiti, but does in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Situation is out of control

The Caribbean state of Haiti is sinking into chaos: a coalition of various brutal gangs has been attacking strategically important infrastructure such as the airports, the police academy and prisons since last week. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, more than 4,500 prisoners, including known gang members, have fled from the latter in the course of the attacks.

Meanwhile, according to a United Nations estimate, the gangs control around 80 percent of Port-au-Prince. According to a report in the newspaper "Le Nouvelliste", the leader of the gang coalition founded at the end of February, ex-policeman Jimmy "Barbecue" Chérizier, recently warned of a civil war if interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry does not step down and the international community continues to support him.

©Keystone/SDA

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