In a significant development on Thursday, November 9th, Kenya outlined stringent conditions for its participation in the United Nations-backed mission to Haiti, emphasizing the need for complete funding and training before deploying its police force. This announcement comes amidst escalating gang violence in Haiti, highlighting the urgent need for international intervention.
Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki, addressing Kenya’s Parliament, underscored that the Kenyan troops’ deployment hinges on the mobilization and availability of resources by U.N. member states. The mission, estimated to cost $600 million, aims to restore order in Haiti, where gangs have wreaked havoc, displacing thousands and paralyzing the nation.
Haiti, grappling with an unprecedented surge in gang-related violence, reported fresh incidents of killings and kidnappings this week. The Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes in Haiti announced the kidnapping of five employees, exacerbating the crisis. The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration revealed that nearly 2,500 people in Mariani, a coastal town, were displaced due to gang infiltration.
The Kenyan-led mission, approved by the U.N. Security Council in early October, has yet to commence as Kenya awaits the fulfillment of these conditions. The Nairobi High Court is also considering a petition challenging the deployment’s constitutionality, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 16th. The Kenyan Parliament’s approval remains pending, further delaying the mission’s start.
Haiti’s National Police, overwhelmed by the gangs, has struggled despite international support. The U.N. reported more than double the killings and kidnappings in Haiti compared to last year, underscoring the deteriorating security situation.
Critics, including Pierre Espérance, executive director of the Haitian National Human Rights Defense Network, question the effectiveness of the multinational force in the absence of a functional Haitian government. The intertwined issues of government absence, rule of law breakdown, and state institutions’ collapse pose significant challenges to any peacekeeping efforts.
As Kenya navigates these complex conditions, the fate of the mission remains uncertain. The Kenyan government’s stance reflects a cautious approach, prioritizing the safety and preparedness of its forces in a mission fraught with risks. This situation underscores the complexities of international peacekeeping efforts, where political, legal, and logistical challenges intertwine with the dire humanitarian needs of nations like Haiti.