UN envoy to Haiti hopes UN will approve international intervention to combat gangs


The UN special envoy for Haiti said Wednesday that she heard a “warning” from the United States and Canada about the possibility of leading an international armed force to help Haiti fight gangs, but not a definite “no.”

Helen La Lime expressed her hope that the UN Security Council would positively address the issue of the force requested by the Haitian government. She told a new conference that an international armed force would be a partner to the Haitian National Police “that would go against the gangs.”

He spoke a day after the United States and Canada showed no interest at a Security Council meeting in deploying their security personnel despite renewed calls by the UN and Haiti to help end worsening violence in the nation. poorest in the western hemisphere. They are the two countries most mentioned as possible leaders of an international force in Haiti.

US Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told the council that “Haiti must address its continuing security challenges,” and encouraged the international community to support his efforts.

Canada’s UN Ambassador Bob Rae said the world needs to learn from all the previous military interventions in Haiti, which have failed to bring long-term stability to the country. He said that it is key that in the future the solutions “must be led by Haitians and by 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 specialized armed force, in sufficient numbers” to stop the crisis caused in part by the “criminal actions of the armed gangs”. “

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued the appeal and La Lime repeated it on Tuesday, as more than three months later, no country has stepped forward.

La Lime said there was widespread concern in the Security Council over the worsening security situation in Haiti.

She told the council Tuesday that “gang-related violence has reached levels not seen in years.”

Homicides and kidnappings increased for the fourth year in a row in 2022, he said. He said last year’s 1,359 kidnappings were more than double that of 2021, averaging about four a day. Murders rose by a third to 2,183, affecting all segments of society, including a former presidential candidate and the director of the National Police Academy.

La Lime said that the unanimous adoption by the Security Council in October of a resolution imposing sanctions on individuals and groups that threaten peace and stability in Haiti, starting with a powerful gang leader, and the sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada are having an impact.

On the political front, he said, a “National Consensus Agreement for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections” signed on December 21 by a wide range of political, civil, religious, union and private sector officials was a positive development that calls for elections. by February 2024.

But he stressed Wednesday that the crucial missing element is a specialized international military contingent to support the police.

In the Security Council “there is a lot of concern and I think there is recognition that help is needed,” La Lime said. “Sanctions continue to do their job, and there is recognition that it is time to sit down and deal with this issue of force. So my hope is that the Security Council will.”

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