On Monday, the U.N. Security Council voted to dispatch a multinational armed force, under Kenya’s leadership, to assist in combating violent gangs in Haiti. This marks the first deployment to Haiti in nearly two decades. The resolution, co-authored by the United States and Ecuador, received 13 votes in favor, with China and the Russian Federation abstaining.
The resolution grants authorization for the force to operate for one year, with a review scheduled after nine months. The funding for this non-U.N. mission will come from voluntary contributions, with the U.S. committing up to $200 million. This vote follows Haiti’s prime minister’s request for an immediate armed force deployment to address the escalating gang violence and restore security, enabling the nation to hold long-delayed elections. Haiti’s National Police has faced challenges in confronting gangs, with just about 10,000 active officers in a country of over 11 million people.
Haiti’s foreign affairs minister, Jean Victor Généus, characterized this vote as a symbol of solidarity with a distressed population, offering hope to those who have suffered for an extended period. The deployment date remains uncertain, though U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently indicated that a security mission to Haiti could be deployed “in months.”
Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua stated that the force could potentially deploy within two to three months, possibly in early January. He also mentioned that key officers are undergoing French language training. Shortly after the vote, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry expressed gratitude to the U.N. Security Council, the U.N. Secretary-General, Kenya, and other participating countries for their support, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.
The exact size of the force remains undetermined. Kenya has previously proposed sending 1,000 police officers, and other countries like Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda have pledged to contribute personnel.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, did not fundamentally oppose the resolution but expressed concerns about deploying an armed force to a country, even at its request, without thorough consideration. He cited unanswered questions regarding the use of force and withdrawal plans, characterizing the decision as hasty and short-sighted.
China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, called for comprehensive consultations between the mission’s leading countries and Haitian officials regarding the deployment and explained his opposition to the resolution.