HomeNewsKidnappings of UN Staff, Diplomats in Haiti Could Help Police Get More Funding

Kidnappings of UN Staff, Diplomats in Haiti Could Help Police Get More Funding


As kidnappings continue to soar in Haiti, UN staff, diplomats and missionaries are increasingly being abducted. The resulting international outcry may be just what those responsible are looking for.

Several recent incidents have shown this trend. On June 21, a Chilean missionary was released after having been held for almost two weeks by a gang in Port-au-Prince. His kidnappers demanded a ransom of $100,000 for his release although it is unclear if this has been paid.

A month earlier, on May 23, the driver of Helen La Lime of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) was abducted, although no ransom demand was received, according to a report from the Haiti-based Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (Centre D’analyse et de Recherche de Droits de l’Homme - CARDH).

And in early May, Carlos Guillen, a Dominican diplomat, was kidnapped while driving from Port-Au-Prince to the Dominican border, and released four days later.

Additionally, kidnappings have been carried out using vehicles with BINUH markings and diplomatic license plates, CARDH found.

SEE ALSO: Haiti's Kidnapping Crisis Grows Ever More Desperate in 2022

These were just the tip of the iceberg. “There were three incidents in which United Nations personnel and their dependents were kidnapped and another in which one national staff was killed in crossfire between gangs,” the United Nations confirmed in a June 13 publication.

Statistics collected by CARDH indicate that 40 foreigners were kidnapped from January-June 2022, compared to 53 in all of 2021. Overall, kidnappings in the first six months increased 171 percent compared to the same period last year.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Haiti’s kidnapping crisis has long prioritized international envoys and their Haitian staff, there may be more to it than simply seeking higher ransoms.

According to CARDH, these high-value targets are also allegedly useful to gangs, and their political backers, by gaining international attention which can then be used to gain more resources and funding.

“Kidnappings…often coincide with moments of political struggle,” read the CARDH report. This can then be used “to force the international [community] to give resources to the police and [to give] the latitude to the government to act on insecurity.”

While there is no smoking gun proving that any specific kidnapping was done in order to raise an international response, the current spike in kidnappings coincides with Haitian police receiving a lot of new equipment.

On June 28, police spokesperson Gary Desrosiers said the police would soon use new equipment worth $12 million to attack gang members currently occupying the Palace of Justice in Port-au-Prince, which houses the Supreme Court. More than a week on, such an attack has not happened, despite the Palace of Justice having been taken over by the 5 Seconds (5 Segond) gang almost a month ago.

In May, Haitian police received a pledge from South Korea for more equipment and training, while in April, Prime Minister Ariel Henry handed over 14 new off-road vehicles to police squads.

SEE ALSO: Haiti Kidnappings Target Foreigners in Evolution of Security Crisis

Additionally, in a June briefing of the UN Security Council, BINUH head Helen La Lime asked for more funding for Haitian law enforcement.

Such a glut of money, vehicles and firearms for Haitian police come despite multiple recent examples of police officers and government officials either openly supporting the country’s most powerful gangs or being full-fledged gang members.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content

HAITI / 26 MAR 2021

Officials in Haiti are calling on authorities to break up a group of disaffected, violent police officers that has in…


Armed gunmen have murdered Haiti President Jovenel Moïse and severely wounded First Lady Martine Moïse in a coordinated attack on…


Recent media reports have revealed that children from Haiti are being trafficked to the Dominican Republic in large numbers, with…

About InSight Crime


Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…


Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…


Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…


InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…


Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.