PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- Nineteen journalists have been murdered in Haiti since 2000, including three this year alone, according to the United Nations Integrated Office, which has also urged local authorities to act since these crimes systematically go unpunished.
The UN pointed out to the world on International Press Freedom Day, “In Haiti, the insecurity of journalists and the expected impunity may favor the violation of many human rights, in addition to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, as well as encourage other forms of criminality.”
According to the UN, the safety of the profession is important as it promotes a free and open debate on the state of affairs and the changes that need to be made in society. It also urged authorities to take all measures possible to prevent murders and punish those who commit them.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter, “On this day, I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to these brave press workers for their continued commitment to freedom of expression. I recognize and appreciate their struggle for the right to information.”
While working on a report on rising insecurity in Port-au-Prince, journalists Wilguens Loussaint and Amady John Wesley were shot by armed gangs in the Laboule 12 slum, southwest of the capital city.
Last February, Lazarre Maximilien was also killed, apparently by police, while covering a demonstration of textile workers demanding wage increases.
In June 2021, Diego Charles was murdered together with a score of others in Delmas, and just two years earlier, at least two other journalists were killed and others were assaulted or received death threats during the political crisis in the country.
Despite police announcements that investigations have been opened in most cases, no concrete results have been revealed.