Kenya to Lead UN Force to Battle Gangs in Haiti

US drafted resolution to have Kenya lead the mission against gangs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 2, 2023 5:16 PM CDT
UN Security Council OKs Sending a Force to Haiti
Armed members of "G9 and Family" march in a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sept. 19.   (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The UN Security Council voted Monday to send a multinational force to Haiti led by Kenya to help combat violent gangs in the troubled Caribbean country. The resolution drafted by the US was approved with 13 votes in favor and two abstentions from Russia and China. The resolution authorizes the force to deploy for one year, with a review after nine months, the AP reports. It would mark the first time a force is deployed to Haiti since a UN-approved mission nearly 20 years ago. A deployment date has not been set, although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said a security mission to Haiti could deploy "in months."

Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua of Kenya told the BBC that the force should already be in Haiti by Jan. 1, "if not before then." It wasn't immediately clear how large the force would be. Kenya's government has previously proposed sending 1,000 police officers. In addition, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda also have pledged to send personnel. Last month, the US promised to provide logistics and $100 million to support the Kenyan-led force. The representative of the Russian Federation, Vassily Nebenzia, said he does not have any objections in principle to the resolution, but said that sending an armed force to a country even at its request "is an extreme measure that must be thought through."

China's representative, Zhang Jun, said he hopes countries leading the mission will hold in-depth consultations with Haitian officials on the deployment of the security force, adding that a "legitimate, effective, accountable government" needs to be in place in Haiti for any resolution to have effect. International intervention in Haiti has a complicated history. A UN-approved stabilization mission to Haiti that started in June 2004 was marred by a sexual abuse scandal and the introduction of cholera, per the AP. The mission ended in October 2017. From Jan. 1 until Aug. 15 of this year, more than 2,400 people in Haiti were reported killed, more than 950 kidnapped, and another 902 injured, according to the most recent UN statistics.

(Read more Haiti stories.)

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