UNITED NATIONS (CNS) – As Haitians seek to rebuild their country, “it is imperative that the international community takes a concrete interest in their plight,” the Vatican nuncio told the UN at an informal meeting of the United Nations. Security Council on the dire situation in Haiti. .
“The international community must fulfill its duty to protect and provide humanitarian assistance,” Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said.
“Although immediate actions are necessary, real solidarity requires a long-term vision that engages all levels of Haitian society, with the support of the region and of the international community at large,” he said. .
The Archbishop, who is the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, spoke at the Security Council’s Arria Formula meeting on Haiti held virtually on October 15.
An “Arria” meeting is a meeting that can be called by any member or member of the Security Council to discuss an issue of concern when a formal council convocation is not scheduled.
“The problems faced by the Haitian people are multifaceted and interconnected,” said Bishop Caccia, adding that he was grateful to be able to address the meeting “to encourage a process of national dialogue and reconciliation in Haiti, in favor of the Haitian people so dear. at the heart of Pope Francis, as evidenced by his appeals and gestures of solidarity. “
Earthquakes – most recently the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August – and other natural disasters have caused widespread suffering to Haitians, he said.
The July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse led to civil unrest, kidnappings, gang violence and a lack of security that “has become unbearable,” added Bishop Caccia.
“The deep and historic rifts in Haitian society have led to the grim reality that even armed gangs see themselves as victims … scrambling for food, money and other means to alleviate their own dire condition. », He continued. “(They are) victims of underdevelopment and lack of opportunity, of manipulation by those who profit from inter-Haitian chaos, and who in turn victimize and perpetuate violence as if it were the norm.
“Such acts of armed violence can never be justified, and other forms of criminal activity must be condemned as well,” he said. “Impunity and the illegal flow of arms and ammunition must end, while the commitment to fight corruption at all levels of society must be strengthened. “
A day after Archbishop Caccia’s comments, the kidnapping of 17 Christian missionaries from the United States has become the latest sign of deteriorating circumstances in Haiti.
The group is with Christian Aid Ministries, based in Millersburg, Ohio. They were arrested after their visit to an orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquets, a northeast suburb of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
The 400 Mawozo, which is believed to be in control of Croix-des-Bouquets and its surroundings, claimed credit for the kidnapping and demanded a ransom of $ 17 million, or $ 1 million per person.
Christian Aid Ministries said the group included five men and seven women aged 18 to 48, and five children aged 8 months, 3, 6, 13 and 15.
A White House spokeswoman said on Oct. 18 that the FBI was working with the U.S. diplomatic team in Haiti to locate the group of missionaries and have them released.
At the United Nations, Bishop Caccia declared during the Arria meeting of the Security Council that the Catholic Church “remains committed to its mission of taking care of the most vulnerable and the peripheries” in Haiti.
“Through health care, social support and above all through education, it continues to play an essential role in the preparation of future generations and dialogue at all levels, while trying to sow the seeds of reconciliation so much. expected, ”he said.
“The words of Pope Francis surely express the hope of all of us that the Haitian people can experience a future of fraternal harmony, solidarity and prosperity,” added Bishop Caccia. “In this regard, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti, as the main expression of international solidarity, should be provided with the necessary resources to fulfill its objective. “
Echoing the words of the UN nuncio, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the world can no longer ignore the suffering of the people of Haiti, an island that has been exploited and plundered by the wealthiest nations for centuries.
In an editorial written following his October 17-19 visit to the Caribbean country, Archbishop Paglia said he was surprised by “the sight of swarms of children and piles of garbage” which he saw while traveling by car in the streets of Port. -au-Prince.
Kidnappings and ransom demands have become “one of the main sources of income for many young people,” he said, adding that many Haitians have lost hope and despite the efforts of NGOs and foreign associations. , who have called it “down to the ocean, or rather, into the wilderness of life and hope.”
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