US proposes multinational police force to fight gangs in Haiti

U.S. officials are proposing the implementation of a multinational police force in Haiti in an effort to contest gang-controlled areas in the country.

During a press conference Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. welcomes Kenya’s decision to lead the multinational police force in Haiti, noting that Kenya asked the U.N. Security Council to provide support on the matter.

Thomas-Greenfield noted that U.S. officials will work with other members of the Security Council on a resolution that will give Kenyan forces their required needs to establish their forces in the country.

“Well, certainly Kenya will be answering to the Security Council, because we hope that this resolution will give them the guidance that they need to go in to establish their presence on the ground,” Thomas-Greenfield said at the press conference. “And yes, it’s unusual. But what is happening in Haiti is unusual. This is not a traditional peacekeeping force. This is not a traditional security situation. We have gangs that have overtaken — taken over the country, taken over communities, that are terrorizing civilians every single day.”

This comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken also applauded Kenya’s effort to establish a multinational force in Haiti to assist in addressing insecurity caused by gang violence.

“The United States calls on Haitian stakeholders to take steps urgently to expand political consensus and restore democratic order, consistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” Blinken said in a statement. “We reaffirm our gratitude to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), its Eminent Persons Group, and the Organization of American States through its Haiti Working Group chaired by Trinidad and Tobago, for their vital support of these efforts.”

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry sent an appeal to the U.N. last October for the immediate deployment of a specialized armed force, in sufficient quantity, to help combat the spread of gangs in the country. The gangs now have 80 percent control of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haitian gangs have grown in power since the assassination of former Haiti President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, resulting in civilian vigilante groups fighting back against the gangs in response to the surge of crimes in the country.

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