The United Nations in Haiti has called on political and religious leaders to take charge in the battle against homophobic violence in the country and to encourage acceptance amid a rise in anti-gay violence.

The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti released a statement expressing “deep concern”, about a recent rise in homophobic violence in the country, and urged the population of Haiti to come together to tackle the problem.

It said: “The UN Mission and United Nations agencies and programmes in Haiti are deeply concerned by the recent increase in homophobic violence in the country,

“The UN urges all Haitians to continue working together towards the construction of a state based on the respect for the rule of law; respect for others, tolerance, individual dignity and human rights.”

The statement from the UN follows the attack on a Haitian same-sex couple’s engagement party at the weekend, during which a mob reportedly threw stones, and set cars on fire. 

“The UN appreciates the intervention of the national authorities to rescue victims of violence and urges increased efforts to prevent further incidents and to prosecute and hold accountable those responsible for the violence,” the statement continued.

The statement from the UN in Haiti also noted that Article 19 of the Haitian Constitution stipulates the right “to life, health, and respect of the human person for all citizens without distinction, in conformity with the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights”.

Calling it an “unprecedented” initiative, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commended the campaign’s core message that “human rights are universal and we can change attitudes for the better.”

“The Secretary-General has consistently called on world leaders to address violence against LGBT members of our human family,” his spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Mr Ban is personally committed to championing this cause.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) last month criticised the spike in anti-LGBT violence in Haiti, citing a march led by the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organisations, which took place on 19 July in Port-au-Prince.