Fierce gang violence continues to plague the people of Haiti. Many of the attacks are very brutal in nature, explained Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara Feinstein, in a recent briefing:
“These include indiscriminate attacks on women and children, including sexual and gender-based violence, widespread kidnappings, extortion, and other means of harassment which threaten food security, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and basic livelihoods.”
The United States continues to pursue a comprehensive approach in Haiti, including assistance to strengthen, train, and equip the Haitian National Police.
Towards this end, Secretary of State Antony Blinken “commend(ed) the Government of Kenya for ... considering to serve as the lead nation for a multinational force in Haiti” to help take on the scourge of gang violence.
The United States supports the Haitian National Police as leading any efforts to improve security in Haiti, including through a multinational force, stressed Deputy Assistant Secretary Feinstein:
“Our assistance to the Haitian National Police – more than $120 million in the last two years – has increased the [Haitian National Police Force’s] institutional capacity to stem gang violence in greater Port-au-Prince, including by equipping vetted specialized officers to undertake complex anti-gang operations, to work with community policing units in vulnerable neighborhoods, and to provide experts to advise HNP leadership.”
The next steps for the Kenyan Government are to perform an assessment on the ground in Haiti. And provided the Kenyans are able to secure approval from their own government to lead a multinational force, they would then work with the United Nations to gain UN authorization of such a force, said Deputy Assistant Secretary Feinstein:
“The United States is prepared to introduce a resolution authorizing a [Multinational Force], and we look forward to working with our partners on the Security Council to secure its swift passage.”
The United States is encouraged by this development to improve Haiti’s security through a multinational force. As Secretary Blinken affirmed, “Our support for the people of Haiti remains unwavering.”