Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has urged his compatriots to renounce crime in a United Nations-backed radio broadcast.

The former Fugees singer has recorded a message in Creole which calls on people in Haiti to reject "evil practices".

"If you love Wyclef, that means you love Haiti," the message, which is broadcast several times a day in Haiti, says.

"So you should not be raping women, kidnapping people and children, because there can be no excuse for doing so."

The Grammy-award winning musician, 35, has previously been employed by the Haitian authorities as a cultural ambassador.

His message, sponsored by the UN peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean island – officially the poorest in the Americas – comes after a spate of kidnappings in the capital Port-au-Prince.

UN police spokesman Fred Blaise told the Reuters news agency Wyclef's message would resonate with Haitians.

"All kinds of Haitians, the good guys as well as the bad guys, have a lot of appreciation for Wyclef for what he represents as a Haitian," he said.

"So they would be more likely to be receptive to Wyclef's message because they are all proud of him."

31/03/2008 12:00:52