Breaking: UN Security Council Authorizes a Military Intervention in Haiti, Lead by Kenya
The Multinational Security Support Mission for Haiti is a risky move
The UN Security Council approved a first-of-its kind mission in which Kenya will lead an armed intervention in Haiti. With a vote of 13 in favor and two abstentions (China and Russia) the Security Council authorized the Multinational Security Support Mission for Haiti.
The Haitian government, the United Nations Secretary General and key parts of Haitian civil society have long called for an international mission to help restore order amid Haiti’s descent into a gang-violence. It was precisely a year ago that the Secretary General issued a report urging an international intervention in Haiti to support the Haitian National Police and curb a spiraling humanitarian crisis. For nearly a year, however, no country signaled a willingness to lead such a mission. That was until July, when Kenya volunteered to send about 1,000 troops and lead the intervention.
There was a catch, though. Before Kenya would deploy troops, Nairobi insisted on a mandate from the Security Council. This was not technically or legally necessary because the troops would be deploying at the direct request of the Haitian government. Rather, Kenya wanted the Security Council to authorize the mission as a demonstration of international solidarity and to give the mission a degree of political and diplomatic breathing room.
This is not a traditional UN Peacekeeping mission. It is not even a UN mission, per se. Rather, Kenya will lead a multinational force which is also expected to include troops or police from Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda. Crucially, the resolution passed today comes under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which authorizes the use of force and comes with the imprimatur of binding international law. (It was the invocation of Chapter VII that lead to China and Russia’s abstentions—both expressed a wariness that such a move was necessary and that it might set some sort of precedent)
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hailed the resolution as “an important milestone in bringing much-needed help to the people of Haiti who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals.” But his move is not without considerable risk.
Since the assassination of President Jovenal Moise in 2021 the Haitian government has delayed elections and now contains precisely zero elected officials. It lacks legitimacy and the support of the Haitian people, many who view the government as part of the problem. Still, given the dire security and humanitarian situation, there’s a degree of popular support for outside intervention — despite the long history of failed international interventions in Haiti.
Below the fold for paying subscribers:
Full text of the approved resolution
My Q and A with Crisis Group expert Renata Segura on the risks involved of a Kenyan lead intervention in Haiti
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