Transitional Council in Haiti Embraces New Changes Following Turmoil as Gang Violence Grips Country


A transitional council tasked with choosing new leaders for Haiti is changing the way it operates in a move that surprised many as gang violence consumes the country.

Instead of having a single council president, four longtime politicians will take turns leading the council every five months, according to two members who were not authorized to publicly share the changes because they had not yet been announced.

The members told The Associated Press late May 8 that the council also will now consider five members a majority, instead of four. The council is composed of nine members, seven of which have voting powers.

The changes come as Haiti prepares for the UN-backed deployment of a Kenyan police force to help fight gangs that have decimated swaths of the capital of Port-au-Prince, forcing more than 3,700 people to flee their homes. At least 1.4 million Haitians are on the verge of famine, according to the UN’s World Food Program. More than 2,500 people have been killed or injured in the first three months of the year, a 50 percent increase compared with the same period last year, according to the UN.

Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection called on the council to prioritize human rights and provide victims of gang violence free legal assistance and timely justice. The office also demanded that the council establish a truth and justice commission to investigate human rights violations and major crimes.

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