Port-au-Prince, 27 January 2023: On Thursday 26 January, armed men entered the Médecins Sans Frontières-supported Raoul Pierre Louis public hospital in Carrefour, a district located to the west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The men dragged a patient out of the emergency room and killed him outside the hospital. It is the second time in six months that this hospital has experienced a similar incident. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is left with no other choice than suspending our activities in the hospital.
During Thursday afternoon, three armed masked men burst into the hospital’s emergency room, taking a patient lying on a stretcher who had admitted for a gunshot wound. They violently dragged him out of the hospital, executing him with a bullet to the head about 10 metres outside the hospital grounds.
“This is the second time we have this kind of incident in this hospital,” says Benoit Vasseur, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti, referring to an incident that occurred on 14 August 2022. “We are again shocked by this act of brutal retribution, which violates all humanitarian principles and the protection this patient should have had inside a medical structure.”
“Faced with this unacceptable level of violence, we have no other choice than to temporarily suspend all our activities in Raoul Pierre Louis hospital,” said Vasseur. “We will suspend activities for as long as we cannot guarantee the safety of our staff and patients.”
MSF has been working in Haiti for more than 30 years, offering medical care to the most vulnerable communities. MSF urges everyone bearing arms, whoever they are, to respect our medical work: patients, staff, medical structures and ambulances.
The incident occurred on a day marked by protests and riots in several parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and its surroundings. In the space of just a few hours, six people with gunshot wounds were brought to MSF’s emergency centre in Turgeau, including a high school student who was already dead on arrival. In this context, safe access to emergency healthcare needs to be respected, more than ever.