The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
The Government of Haiti continues to develop the capacity of its law enforcement, corrections, and justice sectors. In October 2019, the UN ended 15 years of peacekeeping in Haiti, but continues to advise the HNP through the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). The Haitian National Police (HNP), Haiti’s sole law enforcement institution, is increasingly taking on the responsibility for security in the country. Significant challenges remain, however. Haiti’s infrastructure is poor, and the government faces chronic budget shortages. The corrections and justice sectors are weak, and overcrowding and high rates of pre-trial detention in Haiti’s prisons continue to pose human rights and rule of law challenges. Haiti’s judiciary remains the poorest functioning institution in the Haitian public sector. Haiti’s porous borders also enable transit of cocaine and marijuana from South America and Jamaica on its way to U.S. markets, which undermines the rule of law in Haiti by fostering corruption.
Strengthening Haiti’s law enforcement capacity is a key U.S. priority. Augmenting the HNP’s ability to protect and maintain civilian security and stability will reduce the drivers of irregular migration and the ability of criminals to use Haiti as a transit point for drugs trafficked to the United States. INL support helps the HNP to recruit and train new police cadets to form the core of a credible, competent police force that respects human rights; provides training at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA San Salvador); trains senior officers at the Inter-American Defense College; and develops essential budgeting, strategic planning, oversight, and administrative capabilities. INL provides equipment, training, and mentoring to support capacity-building for the HNP Corrections Department and specialized HNP units such as community policing, counternarcotics, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), crowd control, and border security.
· As a direct result of INL support to the HNP School, trained officers increased from less than 10,000 in 2010 to over 15,000 officers today. Additionally, INL constructed six new police stations and rehabilitated many others to allow the HNP to expand its presence.
· INL provided equipment, vehicles, and training for corrections personnel to more effectively manage prisons, and supported a pilot vocational training program and the expansion of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. INL constructed two new prisons in Haiti and is in the process of finalizing a third prison, adding capacity to address overcrowding and creating more secure and humane conditions for the prison population.
· INL’s assistance helped build the capacity of the HNP counternarcotics unit (BLTS) and establish a new border security unit (POLIFRONT) to expand law enforcement presence
in key maritime, airport, and land borders. BLTS grew from 145 officers in 2011 to just under 240 officers on active duty by 2018.
· INL renovated a property in Port-au-Prince to house canines and their trainers, and constructed several facilities, including airport canine compounds, key border check points, and maritime facilities (in cooperation with the Haitian Coast Guard) to support BLTS’ deployment throughout the country. INL-supported canine units grew from just two dogs in 2010 to nineteen dogs in 2018.