In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 22nd, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry once again emphasized the need for an international presence.
On behalf of the countless women and girls who are victims of rape on a daily basis, the numerous families forced to flee their homes, and the children and youth of Haiti who have been deprived of their right to education, I implore the global community to take swift action in addressing the brutality inflicted by gangs upon the people.
Here is the information you need regarding what will occur next.
What is the reason for requiring an international security mission?
Haiti is currently experiencing a surge in violence that has reached record-breaking levels. From January to September of this year, there have been 3,000 reported homicides and over 1,500 incidents of kidnapping for ransom. The United Nations reports that approximately 200,000 individuals, including 100,000 children, have been displaced due to the unsafe conditions in their homes.
The occurrence of sexual violence and abuse towards women and girls is increasing, while a large number of children cannot go to school because of lack of safety.
The military in Haiti is small and has limited resources. The Haitian National Police (HNP) is not capable of controlling the widespread violence and requires assistance from the international community. This will enable Haitians to resume their normal daily activities without the constant threat of murder, displacement, kidnapping, or sexual assault.
Who is providing support for the security assistance?
Almost everyone acknowledges the necessity of help from the global community in aiding the HNP’s mission to restore stability. As early as October 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres answered Prime Minister Henry’s appeal and encouraged nations to take action.
During a trip to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, in July, the leader of the United Nations emphasized the urgency of taking immediate action.
The gravity of the issue requires immediate and continuous focus. Our main concern and priority should be the victims and innocent civilians. Failure to take action now will result in long-lasting consequences of instability and violence for future generations of Haitians. I urge all partners to boost their assistance to the national police through funding, training, or equipment.
The topic once again took center stage during the general discussion of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which ended on Tuesday.
During his address, President Joe Biden of the United States expressed urgency for the people of Haiti, stating that they cannot endure further delays. Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, the President of the Dominican Republic, also emphasized the need for concerted efforts to create a safer, more equitable, and sustainable future for Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.
What caused the delay in initiating the mission?
One of the main challenges has always been determining which nation would take charge of a potentially complex and hazardous operation. According to media sources, it appears that gangs have influence over approximately 80% of the capital city and the Haitian Prime Minister has stated that there are 162 armed groups with a total of 3,000 members throughout the country.
In the end of July, Kenya declared that it was contemplating taking charge of the international security assistance in Haiti. Representatives from Kenya have traveled to Haiti and engaged in discussions with Haitian and neighboring leaders, among others, to discuss the responsibilities and extent of this potential mission.
The Kenyan President, William Ruto, addressed the General Assembly and stated that the people of Haiti are facing great suffering due to the lasting effects of slavery, colonialism, sabotage, and neglect. He emphasized that addressing this situation is the ultimate test of international solidarity and collective action.
Other countries in the Caribbean and members of the CARICOM regional organization, such as Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda, have stated their preparedness to assist with the mission.
What kind of operation will it be?
Please keep in mind that the security task will not be carried out by the United Nations, in contrast to MINUSTAH, the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti that concluded in 2017.
Prime Minister Henry has requested strong backing from law enforcement and armed forces in order to assist the HNP (Haitian National Police). He emphasized that this assistance is crucial in defeating gangs, restoring order, and creating a conducive environment for the proper functioning of the government.
Kenya’s President Ruto announced that the mission, potentially involving 1,000 Kenyan individuals, would be adequately funded and successful.
What comes next and what role does the UN play?
The United Nations Security Council will convene to establish guidelines and approve the non-UN mission. The Council, consisting of 15 members, will discuss and potentially approve a Chapter VII provision of the UN Charter, granting authorization for the use of force only after all other options for maintaining international peace and security have been exhausted.
In the meantime, the United Nations remains committed to aiding Haiti in various areas. A political mission, referred to as BINUH, is still assisting the government in their efforts to improve political stability and promote good governance, including upholding the rule of law.
International organizations are currently offering urgent assistance to Haitian individuals impacted by acts of violence, instability, and environmental catastrophes like the recent earthquake in August 2021. They are also aiding local officials and government institutions in rebuilding sustainable development efforts. This involves reinforcing an economy that includes all members of society and improving the way justice is administered, as well as ensuring access to essential social services and managing various risks.