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‘A Glimmer of Hope’

The Oasis Reporters

October 4, 2023







Residents evacuate Haiti.
Residents evacuate the Carrefour-Feuilles commune in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Aug. 15.Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images





Nearly a year after Haitian leaders first asked for foreign intervention, the United Nations is finally heeding their calls. On Monday, the U.N. Security Council approved sending a Kenya-led armed multinational force to Port-au-Prince to combat deadly gang violence. “More than just a simple vote, this is in fact an expression of solidarity with a population in distress.”

Haitian Foreign Minister Jean Victor Généus said. “It’s a glimmer of hope for the people who have been suffering for too long.”

As part of a 12-month mandate, Kenya will send 1,000 police officers to the island to strengthen local security as well as Haiti’s national police.

Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica also promised to assist Kenya’s intervention, and the United States pledged up to $200 million in aid.

According to Kenyan officials, foreign forces, which will be under Kenyan and not U.N. control, could deploy within two to three months.

“This mandate is not only about peace and security but also about the rebuilding of Haiti—its politics, its economic development and social stability,” Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said.

Around 90 percent of Haiti’s capital is controlled by warring gangs. More than 3,000 people have been killed and over 1,500 residents have been kidnapped since Jan. 1.

And roughly 200,000 others have fled their homes to escape mass violence, with neighboring Dominican Republic closing its borders last month to prevent gang violence from spilling into its territory. The U.N. Security Council has called on foreign actors to stop selling arms to Haiti.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about sending foreign forces. Both China and Russia abstained from the Security Council vote, with Beijing’s U.N. ambassador arguing that “without a legitimate, effective, and responsible government in place, any external support can hardly have any lasting effects.”

Caretaker Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been in power since Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021 and has refused to hold long-anticipated elections until the nation’s security improves.

Human rights activists have also criticized Kenya’s involvement, as its own police have been accused of torture and using deadly force against its civilians. And locals worry that foreign intervention could once again have devastating consequences. A U.N. mission to Haiti established in 2004 introduced cholera to the island, killing nearly 10,000 people, and foreign forces were accused of committing sexual abuses against Haitian citizens.

Foreign Policy.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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