Late Monday, the UN Security Council gave its approval for the deployment of the Multinational Security Support (MSS) Mission to Haiti, opening the door for countries like Kenya to send their committed armed personnel to the Caribbean nation.
Dubbed 2699/23, the resolution was endorsed by 13 of the 15-member Council, including Africa’s representatives; Mozambique, Ghana and Gabon and now directs the deployment of a Mission that had raised controversy on its legality in Kenya.
The Council gave a nod to the resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which signals the situation in Haiti a threat to global peace and security.
Drafted by the US and endorsed by Ecuador, it needs the validation of all permanent members of the Council, including the US, France, UK, Russia and China.
Abstention of Russia and China’s meant their stand did not affect the decision on the resolution, allowing pushers like the US to enable its suggestion to pass.
African countries in the Council; Mozambique, Gabon and Ghana, said the resolution would be an “important stepping stone” to address the security situation in Haiti, now under the grip of violent gangs.
“We highly praise Kenya for offering to lead the Multinational Security Support Mission. This allows us to move from rhetoric to action for a country whose history should lead us to question the conscience of every one of us,” the African members known as the A3, said in a joint statement.
They, however, said the ultimate solution rests with Haitians to recover their country from the grips of chaos.
“We appeal for a national consensus aimed at an inclusive political transition,” they added.
Initially, the mission had been a request from Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry who wanted his government supported to deal with gangs that had taken control of crucial installations like a local fuel depot.
But Haiti’s history including five previous failed foreign interventions had raised controversy.
According to Russia, the deployment under Chapter 7 had raised the bar and that the resolution needed a rethink before final voting, even though Moscow argued it supports an intervention that could rescue Haiti as long as there is serious thought put into it.
“We hope that the countries involved in the Mission will hold consultations with the Haitian people,” said a representative of China who argued that Haiti’s unstable government, if it actually asked for the mission, makes it risky.
Legal experts in Kenya argued it would be unconstitutional even though the government said they were conducting a reconnaissance to understand Haitian terrain. This would be the first time Kenyan police would be deployed to a Caribbean country under this arrangement.
Kenya vowed to send 1000 police personnel and the US will fund the programme to the tune of $100 million if the Congress agrees. Canada has said it will support the programme too although it will not be sending troops.
Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Senegal, Spain, Suriname and the Bahamas are also expected to send personnel.