UN Approves Kenyan-Led Mission to Stabilize Gang-Ridden Haiti

The United Nations Security Council has given the green light to a multinational mission spearheaded by Kenyan police officers aimed at restoring stability in Haiti, a Caribbean nation currently grappling with significant gang-related challenges. During the vote held on Monday, a commendable 13 out of 15 nations voted in favor of this proposal, with none opposing. Two major global powers, Russia and China, opted to abstain from the vote. Their reservations stem from concerns surrounding the broad authorization of force to address the crisis in Haiti under Chapter 7 of the foundational U.N. Charter.

Haiti’s Foreign Minister, Jean Victor Geneus, expressed gratitude for this decision, recognizing it as a manifestation of international solidarity for the Haitian people, who have endured prolonged hardships. He articulated this sentiment by saying, “More than just a mere vote, this decision symbolizes a beacon of hope for a community that has been subjected to extensive suffering for far too long.”

By January 2024, Kenya is expected to lead this peace-keeping force, deploying a formidable contingent of 1,000 police officers. The UN Security Council has plans to unveil a structured framework detailing the mission’s objectives and approach. Given concerns voiced by both local Haitian representatives and international observers regarding the potential language, cultural, and geographic challenges that Kenya might face in this mission, the council will undertake a comprehensive review every nine months.

It’s worth noting that Haiti initially reached out for international assistance in October 2022. However, their pleas were not immediately heeded by key players like the U.N. and the US, and Canada outright declined to engage. Canada justified their stance by pointing to their existing commitments, including their support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion, which had stretched their military resources thin.

The US, in collaboration with Mexico, suggested an alternative approach: targeting the leaders of the Haitian gangs with punitive sanctions and championing a more limited mission outside of U.N. oversight. This mission would be helmed by a country equipped with the requisite experience to handle such a delicate situation. To bolster the efforts of the Haitian police, Canada and the US also extended an offer of military vehicles and weaponry to counteract the gangs that have, over time, gained significant control over major parts of the nation.

In addition to the aforementioned efforts, neighboring Caribbean nations like Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda have voiced their willingness to support the mission. While the US has committed to providing logistical assistance, the mission won’t directly be overseen by the United Nations, even though the Security Council’s vote was pivotal in legitimizing it under international law.

This initiative comes on the heels of a significant defense agreement between Kenya and the US in September, where both nations ratified a Ksh 14.8 billion deal, marking a significant commitment on the part of the US towards supporting Kenya’s peacekeeping objectives.

Haiti’s current socio-political landscape is marred by the brutal dominance of gangs. Their reign of terror includes heinous acts such as rape, kidnappings, and armed robberies. A distressing report from the office of the UN secretary-general cataloged a staggering 2,800 murders taking place between October 2022 and June 2023, with minors making up a significant portion of the victims.


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