Haiti’s Multi-Dimensional Peacebuilding Challenge
February 26, 2013
Amidst tear gas, a man throws stones against police officers during a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sept. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
….Leaders [in these communities] are skeptical that the law enforcement approach will be able to generate any tangible results on its own, pointing out that these interventions leave the underlying causes of conflict unchanged. Haiti’s urban violence is a multi-faceted problem, not limited to weak law enforcement. Gang-related violence has complex social, economic and political dimensions as well. As mentioned in an earlier post, youth gangs in Haiti have a social dynamic, offering protection, social status and economic opportunities to marginalized youth. The economic conditions in these neighbourhoods offer little in the way of peace dividends or credible alternatives to crime — indeed, reinsertion programs aimed at former gang members proved controversial and were ultimately abandoned. Finally, political marginalization and a lack of representation in these communities fuel unrest and mass protests. Moreover, certain gang leaders were part of President Aristide’s patrimonial network and continue to see themselves as political agents….