The first speaker, Robert Muggah, began by talking about his experiences in Haiti. Haiti has been dominated by prevailing media narratives and images of extreme violence, insecurity, and uncontrolled police, which have been used to justify spending on Security Sector Reform (SSR). It has also been reported that vigilante justice is a major issue for the Haitian people, for NGOs and for investors, but Robert questioned whether Haiti was any worse off in reality than its neighbours.
Robert went on to state that there have been several successive UN missions to Haiti which emphasised stabilisation and peace support, as well as two failed attempts at Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR). Robert's organisation, The Igarapé Institute, were interested in finding out whether the above measures were legitimate and whether they actually led to improvements in safety and security. Since 2004, 20 surveys have been conducted - most semi-randomised - by highly trained enumerators. Multiple approaches were used, including focus group discussions and discourse analysis tools, in addition to quantitative surveys, although Robert emphasised that these were by no means the only tools to use in such contexts. The research found that, despite the media speculation, there was surprisingly limited evidence to justify the measures that were being implemented.Haiti survey: key findings
has one of the lowest homicide rates in the Caribbean
- There has been a downward
trend in physical assaults over recent years
crime has generally been low and of small scale
- Most people would turn to the police if they experienced a crime, running somewhat contrary to claims of widespread vigilante justice
tool was used to highlight significance of risk factors