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Haitian Bishops: gangs to end violence and local authorities to establish civic institutions

A Haitian soldier positions himself outside the military base near the presidential palace after gangs waged intense gun battles in Port-Au-Prince (Photo credit: Catholic News Site)

The Haitian Bishops released a Christmas message calling on armed gangs to end the violence and local authorities to establish civic institutions for a brighter future.

The Haitian bishops encouraged the gangs to abandon "the diabolical and perverse logic of weapons which is the farthest from the will of God!"

In February this year, the bishops called on armed gangs to lay down their arms.

Since gang-related killings, turf wars, extortions, and kidnappings have gotten even worse. Several religious missionaries had also been the target of several kidnappings for ransom.

Missionaries are also abducted or assassinated by the violent gangs that rule with impunity. Sister Luisa Dell'Orto, Little Sister of the Gospel of Charles de Foucauld, was killed at Port-au-Prince on June 25. She lived in an impoverished area of the city for 20 years, caring for street children and providing them with a secure environment.

Sr Luisa is the latest in a long line of missionaries and church workers who have been victims of crime.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Haiti (CEH) call on illegally armed groups and those who finance them to "stop the murderous madness of hatred, of contempt for life" and "silence your weapons!".

The Haitian bishops have decried the political, economic, social, and humanitarian instability that fuels gang criminality.

The bishops urged in the Christmas message, "Instead of fratricidal war, we must invest in peace and love, in the reorganization of our infrastructure, health and education systems, as well as the change of our mentalities."

Haiti is still under political, economic, social, and humanitarian crises.

Haiti has struggled for years with a freefalling economy, political instability, and mounting insecurity.

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, 2021, and the subsequent earthquake in August, the situation has worsened.

The message emphasized the need to reform civic institutions, notably the legal system, "to curb the culture of impunity, which is the logical cause of the perpetuation of corruption and violence in the country, in order to guarantee a better future for future generations."

The bishops also pointed to practical assistance for the National Police to combat crime and normalize living conditions in the nation.

The prelates advised that restoring security in the nation is crucial for resuming economic, cultural, and social activity and holding democratic elections.

The Caribbean Island has been in disaster for years, with institutional, economic, and social upheaval. Natural calamities have aggravated the situation despite the Bishops' and Pope's pleas to local leaders and the international community.

In recent months, the nation has experienced a recurrence of cholera due to inadequate access to healthcare and vital services, including water, food, sanitation, and supplies.

The bishops also bring attention to the country's "unbearable state," pushing many Haitians to seek shelter in neighboring nations, where "they are not always welcome."

Including the neighboring Dominican Republic country, illegal Haitian immigrants are regularly returned to Haiti by local police forces or abused in sugar cane fields, violating their human rights.

Haitian and Dominican bishops were addressing the problem. In the message, they urge both nations to undertake a "gesture of appeasement" to ease migration tensions.

As Christmas approaches, the bishops urged all Haitians to embrace "the values of mutual respect, justice, harmony, fraternity and solidarity" to construct "the new Haiti everyone yearns for."

Haiti's bishops prayed that Christmas and the New Year bring justice, peace, and respect for life.

About 55 percent of Haitians are Catholics. According to, there are 11.54 million of the population in Haiti as of 2021. - With inputs from Vatican News


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