Canada sends diplomatic mission to Haiti over gang violence

Rose Delpe cries as people displaced by gang war violence in Cite Soleil walk on the streets of Delmas neighborhood after leaving Hugo Chaves square in Port-au-Prince, Haiti November 19, 2022. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Foreign affairs officials from Canada began a three-day diplomatic mission to Haiti on Wednesday in a bid to address a gang-related humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Caribbean country, the office of Global Affairs Canada said.

Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, is leading the mission and will consult with high-level political figures, local groups and key Haitian officials to determine Canada's potential role in the international response, the office said in a statement.

Haitian gangs in September created a humanitarian crisis by blocking the entrance to a fuel terminal, leading to shortages of gasoline and diesel that halted most economic activity just as the country reported a renewed outbreak of cholera.

Some 200 gangs of varying size have become de facto authorities in large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince and are involved in illegal activities including extortion and drug trafficking.

Over the last five weeks, Canada has imposed sanctions on 11 Haitian political and economic officials. It has also provided security and humanitarian assistance as well as funding to fight corruption and impunity in Haiti, the office noted.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago, editing by Deepa Babington

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