United Nations Security Council (UN) approves the deployment of a multinational force led by Kenyan police in Haiti.
In the exercise conducted on Monday, 13 nations supported the mission, with no votes against the resolution.
The council consists of 15 nations, with veto power held by the US, UK, China, France, and Russia.
However, China and Russia abstained from the vote, wary of authorizing the blanket use of force under Chapter 7 of the founding U.N. Charter. The remaining 13 members voted in favor.
“More than just a simple vote, this is, in fact, an expression of solidarity with a population in distress. It’s a glimmer of hope for the people that have for too long been suffering,” Haiti’s Foreign Minister Jean Victor Geneus told the council in appreciation of the decision reached.
“We have stepped up to create a new way of preserving global peace and security, answering the repeated calls of a member state facing a multi-dimensional crisis amid alarming spiraling gang violence,” said senior U.S. diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis.
Approval for the mission means that Kenya will, by January 2024, lead the multinational force with 1,000 police officers.
The Security Council also expanded a U.N. arms embargo to include all gangs – a measure China wanted. Haitian officials have said guns used by gangs are believed to be mostly imported from the United States. The embargo previously only applied to specific individuals.
“This is a very important decision. If the council had taken this step at an earlier time, the security situation in Haiti might not have deteriorated to what it is today,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council after the vote.
UN Security Council will also announce a framework for the mission, with a review expected to be conducted every nine months. This was after local Haitian and international stakeholders demanded accountability and clarity on how Kenya will overcome language, cultural, and geographical barriers while leading the controversial mission.
The mission in Haiti is set to help combat gangs terrorizing the country, which has overpowered the Haitian police.
Notably, the mission will not be under the United Nations’ Control despite being subject to council voting to make the mission legal under internal law.
In September, Kenya and the United States and Kenya signed a Ksh 14.8 billion defence deal agreement as part of US support for Kenya’s Security mission.
Haiti has been subject to growing gang dominance through rape, kidnappings, and robberies being their mode of operation.
A UN report from the secretary-general’s office indicated 2,800 murders between October 2022 and June 2023, including 80 killings of minors.