International Efforts to Deploy Multinational Force in Haiti Amid Escalating Violence

Wed Mar 06 2024
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PORT-au-PRINCE, Haiti: More than a year ago, Haiti’s government formally requested a multinational force to help its police combat heavily armed gangs that were expanding their influence, particularly around the capital Port-au-Prince. However, progress has been slow, and the situation has worsened as armed groups broke thousands of inmates out of overcrowded prisons, prompting a state of emergency declaration and mass displacement of people.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s recent trip to Kenya to finalize a deal for Kenya’s leadership in the force coincided with a significant escalation in violence in Haiti. Despite the challenges, countries have pledged troops and financial support to the mission, aiming to address the devastating humanitarian crisis and restore stability in the country.

The United Nations approved the deployment of the force, but countries have been hesitant to offer support due to concerns over Haiti’s political situation and previous negative experiences with international interventions. Kenya has emerged as a key player, pledging to lead the force with 1,000 police officers, while other countries like Benin, Chad, Bangladesh, and Barbados have also committed troops.

Funding for the mission remains a critical issue, with the United States being the largest financial backer, pledging up to $200 million. However, as of March 5, only a fraction of the pledged amount has been deposited in the dedicated trust fund, highlighting the need for more contributions from the international community.

The mission’s mandate allows for the use of force against gang members and collaboration with Haitian police to secure routes for humanitarian aid. However, concerns remain about the potential for human rights abuses and the effectiveness of the mission in protecting civilians while countering violence.

As efforts to deploy the multinational force continue, questions linger about the mission’s effectiveness and the extent of donor countries’ involvement. The situation in Haiti remains precarious, but with international support, there is hope for progress towards stability and peace in the country.

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