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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, UNITED NATIONS, NY., Fri. July 2, 2021: The members of the UN Security Council on Thursday weighed in on the situation in Haiti, a day after the US expressed its own concern following the murders of at least 15 Tuesday night.

The UN Council says it is deeply concerned over the deteriorating political, security, and humanitarian conditions in Haiti and stressed the primary responsibility of the government of Haiti to address the situation.

They reiterated their concern regarding reported human rights violations and abuses and called on the government of Haiti to hold those responsible accountable.

The Council also condemned increasing gang violence and stressed the urgent need to hold free ​and fair legislative and presidential elections in 2021. They urged all political stakeholders in Haiti to set aside their differences and engage in meaningful dialogue in the interest of peace and stability, to ensure elections take place in a peaceful environment, and to refrain from any acts of or incitement to violence.

Violence has spiked in the impoverished Caribbean nation as rival gangs battle with one another and the police for control of the streets, displacing thousands and worsening a humanitarian crisis.

On Tuesday night, at least 15 people were killed in apparent retaliation for the murder of police union member Guerby Geffrard, said Leon Charles, director general of the national police force, at a news conference. Among those killed were two journalists.

Photographs of reporter Diego Charles lying dead on the ground and of Antoinette Duclair in her car circulated on Haitian social media. Duclair was dropping Charles off at his home when they were shot.

Armed groups have become increasingly powerful in Haiti in recent years because of political unrest, growing poverty and a sense of impunity, rights organizations like the nonprofit Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research have said.

Elections slated for September could be a factor for the recent uptick in violence against police, which is not equipped to deal with gang members who have acquired ever more sophisticated weapons.

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