Security Council authorizes ‘historic’ support mission in Haiti
In what is being hailed as an historic first, the UN Security Council on Monday authorized the deployment of an international security mission to help Haiti’s national police quell surging gang violence and restore security across the strife-torn Caribbean nation.
The mission was requested by the Haitian Government and civil society representatives, following months of chaos and steadily worsening conditions affecting civilians. There have been more than 3,000 homicides reported this year, and over 1,500 instances of kidnapping for ransom.
Around 200,000 have been forced to flee their homes while sexual violence and abuse against women and girls at the hands of armed gangs ticks up. Tens of thousands of children are unable to go to school.
Adopting the resolution with a recorded vote of 13 in favour and 2 abstentions (Russia and China), ambassadors in New York also authorized the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to help secure critical infrastructure and transit hubs such as the airport, ports, schools, hospitals and key intersections.
They also called on countries participating in the mission to ensure the highest standards of transparency, conduct and discipline for their personnel, and called for an oversight mechanism to prevent human rights violations or abuses, including sexual exploitation.
The non-UN mission is also slated to help ensure unhindered and safe access to humanitarian aid for millions of Haitians in need.
The resolution, adopted under UN Charter's Chapter VII, which sets out the Security Council’s responsibilities to maintain international peace and security, was penned by the United States and Ecuador.
‘Act of solidarity’
Jean Victor Geneus, Foreign Minister of Haiti – not currently a Security Council member – thanked ambassadors for their support and for tabling the historic resolution.
“More than just a simple vote, this is in fact an expression of solidarity with a population in distress,” he said.
He added that the resolution is glimmer of hope for the Haitian people that have for too long suffered the consequences of a multipronged crisis.
He urged Member States to commit to the mission “as quickly as possible” to help restore a safe and stable environment and re-establish democratic institutions there.
‘New way’ to preserve peace
Speaking after the adoption, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Representative of the United States, said the Council had “made history” by authorizing the multinational support mission, and stepping up to “create a new way of preserving global peace and security”.
He said it was answering the call from a fellow Member State facing a multidimension crisis.
“The deployment of this mission will help to support Haiti's critical near term needs and to foster the security conditions necessary for the country to advance long term stability,” he said.
He added that while the mission will primarily support Haitian police, it is but one part of the larger effort to address the wider crisis, including humanitarian, economic and political challenges.
More than just a simple vote, this is in fact an expression of solidarity with a population in distress
– Jean Victor Geneus, Foreign Minister of Haiti
Supporting the people
Also speaking after the adoption, Zhang Jun, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China, said that his country has always taken a cautious and responsible approach to the Council’s invocation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter on the authorization of the use of force.
“We hope that the country leading the Multinational Security Support mission will hold in-depth consultations with Haiti on their specific arrangements for the deployment of security forces,” he said, stating also that it should be fully in support of the Haitian people.
He also urged timely reporting to the Security Council, and that the mission must comply with international law and the basic norms governing international relations, so as to avoid infringing on sovereignty.
‘A beacon of hope’
Martin Kimani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya (also not a current Council member) recalled his country’s bold offer to lead the mission and thanked the Council for responding in an “exemplary spirit of cooperation.”
“With this action, the Security Council has ignited a beacon of hope for the beleaguered people of Haiti”, he said.
The Foreign Minister reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to work closely with Haiti’s allies and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member States, in establishing the mission in accordance with the resolution.
Human rights in Haiti: fast facts*
- The human rights situation is marked by brutal attacks, including indiscriminate killings and kidnappings targeting the civilian population.
- Armed violence and attacks by gangs against the population escalating.
- Gangs have used snipers on rooftops to indiscriminately shoot people.
- Mass looting and burning of houses have resulted in the displacement of thousands of people.
- Sexual violence, including collective rape, is used by gangs to terrorize especially women and girls.
- The emergence of vigilante movements presents an additional layer of complexity to an already highly challenging security situation.
- National institutions are ill-equipped to re-establish the rule of law.
- Stabilizing the security situation in Haiti will require significant support to national police.
* From the Report of the Secretary-General on Haiti, September 2023