Haiti crisis: US and Canada not interested in sending armed forces


The United States and Canada – two countries often mentioned as possible leaders of an international armed force to help Haiti fight the gangs – on Tuesday were not interested in the deployment. security personnel defied new calls from the United Nations and Haiti to help end the worsening violence in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told the UN Security Council that “Haiti must address ongoing insecurity challenges” and he encouraged the international community to support its efforts.

Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Rae said the world needs to learn from all previous military interventions in Haiti, which have failed to bring long-term stability to the country, and ensure that in future solutions “must be led by Haitians and Haitian institutions.”

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the country’s Council of Ministers sent an urgent appeal on October 7 calling for the “immediate deployment of a full-fledged armed force” to avert the crisis. The panic was caused in part by “criminal acts by armed gangs.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the appeal, but more than three months later, no country has followed through.

Helen La Lime, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, reiterated the secretary general’s call, telling the council that “gang-related violence has reached levels not seen in many years.”

Murders and kidnappings rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2022, she said, pointing to 1,359 kidnappings, more than double the figure in 2021 and an average of about four a day, and homicides increased by a third to 2,183, touching all sectors of society including former ones. presidential candidate and director of the National Police Academy.

Politically, La Lime said, the terms of the last 10 senators to hold office expire on January 9 meaning “there is not a single elected official in the country.”

While this poses a “profound challenge”, she said, it is also an opportunity for Haitians to look at the root causes of dysfunction in the country and address them.

The UN envoy pointed to two main developments – the unanimous adoption of the Security Council in October of a resolution to impose sanctions on individuals and groups that threaten peace and stability in the region. The country began with a powerful gang leader, and signed on December 21 by many parties. of political, civic, religious, union and private sector officials of the “National Consensus Agreement for a Comprehensive Transition and Transparent Elections.”

The agreement, La Lime said, sets a date to form an elected government by February 2024, including immediate steps to promote fiscal reform and boost state incomes. She said a High Transitional Council has been appointed that will work with the government to bring nominations to the country’s highest court.

La Lime said the agreement, whose backers are growing daily, is “the most promising sign to emerge from the dialogue efforts to date.” With UN sanctions, it “provides a clear path to restore democracy and legitimacy,” she said.

But La Lime says the deployment of an international task force is an essential third element needed to strengthen the police force, sanctions and transition.

Without international force, she said, “the very positive effects of the political process and sanctions to date, would remain fragile and easily reversed.”

Haiti’s Ambassador to the United Nations Antonio Rodrigue cited ongoing efforts to implement the agreement but called the current situation a “state of emergency” and warned that restoring security was a prerequisite to the country moves forward.

“Without security, we cannot have fair, transparent and democratic elections and cannot restore the normal functioning of domestic institutions,” he warned.

Rodrigue urged the international community to heed Secretary-General Guterres’s new call for the immediate deployment of an international force “to help us crack down on the gangs and allow us to complete the process of bringing restore democratic order to our country.”

“This is an order now,” Rodrigue said. “We can’t wait and the security situation could get worse any day, and worsen the fate of those who are suffering immensely.”

As for the suffering, UN special envoy La Lime told the council that the gangs have purposely blocked access to food, water and health services – during the current cholera outbreak – and nearly 5 million Haitians across the country are facing severe hunger.

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