UN Approves Multinational Force Deployment in Turmoil-Ridden Haiti

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The UN Security Council has given approval for a multinational force to be deployed to Haiti in response to the violence and turmoil that has deeply embedded itself within this Caribbean nation. The decision came to fruition on Monday, led by Kenya and backed with 13 nations voting in favour. China and the Russian Federation abstained from the vote.

This move gives sanction for the force to be stationed in Haiti for a duration of one year, putting it under critical review after nine months. The decision follows nearly a year after Haiti’s prime minister pleaded for the immediate instigation of an armed force. Significantly, this would mark the first time a force has been deployed to Haiti since a UN-approved mission two decades prior.

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Jean Victor Geneus, Haiti’s foreign affairs minister, argued that the resolution is a significant stride towards solidarity with a country in turmoil. Secretary of State Antony Blinken from the U.S. anticipates the deployment could occur in mere months, though an official date has yet to be determined.

Echoing Blinken’s sentiments, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua announced on the BBC that the force should ideally be in Haiti by January 1, 2024. Details such as the size of the force remain uncertain. However, proposals for 1,000 police officers made by the Kenyan government cast some light. Additionally, pledges from Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda for support bolster the forthcoming assistance.

This decision arrived following President Joe Biden’s promise to contribute logistics and US$100 million in support of the Kenyan-led force. Its deployment is aimed to bring peace and stability to Haiti, promoting general elections as a beacon of hope for an afflicted nation.

Yet, condemnation has been resonating amidst words of support. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s representative, underscored the lack of detailed strategy in this decision, referring to it as an extreme measure. China’s representative, Zhang Jun, argued that without a responsible government in place, any external support can hardly establish lasting changes.

Despite the objections, the overarching goal remains clear. Haiti’s minister of foreign affairs reiterated the importance of implementing socioeconomic measures to address the root causes of these problems, particularly extreme poverty. The resolution approved aims to reduce violence and promote stability in a nation where over 60% of its population earns less than $2 a day.

Historically, international intervention in Haiti has faced criticism. Previous UN-led missions were marred by sexual abuse and cholera outbreaks causing a further decline in living conditions. With Haiti’s already unstable political climate, the stakes are high to ensure that this intervention brings about lasting positive change.

Haiti has been grappling with violent crimes like murders, kidnappings, and gang rivalries. The deployment of the multinational force could be the first step in creating a safer environment, allowing Haitians to rebuild their lives with security.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expresses this sentiment exactly. He emphasizes the importance of the mission being deployed swiftly and safely, thankful to Kenya and others who have stepped up. “The people of Haiti deserve to feel safe enough to leave their homes, restore their livelihoods, and go to the polls to democratically elect a government that represents their interests.” Indeed, this resolution reflects an international effort and hope for peace and stability in a country that has had too long a history of turmoil.