The United Nations Security Council voted late Monday to send a multinational armed force to help combat violent gangs in Haiti.
The forces going to Haiti will be led by Kenya, the Security Council decided, following a resolution drafted by the U.S. and Ecuador, then approved with 13 votes in favor and two abstentions from China and Russia.
The resolution authorizes the force’s deployment for one year, with a review after nine months. It’s a non-U.N. mission that will be funded by voluntary contributions. Already the U.S. has pledged up to $200 million.
The action marks the first time in nearly two decades that such a force will be deployed to Haiti. The vote was held nearly a year after Haiti’s prime minister requested the immediate deployment of an armed force.
Haiti has been spiraling into political and humanitarian crisis for some time, greatly aggravated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse July 2021. The country no longer has a single democratically elected government official.
Democratic elections were supposedly expected to be held some time in 2023, but none have been scheduled so far.
In January, the Committee to Protect Journalists (JPC) listed Haiti as one of a handful of countries that drove a 50% increase in the number of journalists murdered last year, along with Ukraine and Mexico.
And in July, the U.S. State Department ordered non-emergency government personnel and family members to leave Haiti as soon as possible, citing “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.”
The State Department also warned non-governmental U.S. citizens that they ought to leave “by commercial or other privately available transportation options” as soon as possible, citing “widespread kidnapping” as well as “protests, demonstrations, tire burning, and roadblocks [that] are frequent, unpredictable, and can turn violent.”
A deployment date for the multi-national forces has not yet been set, though Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said that a security mission to Haiti could be deployed “in months.”
Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua said last week that the force could deploy within two to three months, or possibly early January.