UN Security Council authorizes 1-year deployment to quell gang violence in Haiti News
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UN Security Council authorizes 1-year deployment to quell gang violence in Haiti

The UN Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution Monday which authorizes UN member states to undertake a stabilization mission to Haiti. Under the coordination and leadership of the Kenyan government, the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission will  cooperate with the Haitian government, for an initial period of one year, to restore peace and security amid surging gang violence.

The MSS mission is a response to the Haitian government’s longstanding plea for aid from the international community to restore peace in the country, where gang violence has been a issue since 2021. In March this year, UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk called for immediate action from the international community to help quell the surging gang violence. Between then and now, several reports from different human rights groups such as the National Human Rights Defense Network, Haiti Response Coalition and the UN itself have emerged, relaying the severity of violence in Haiti.

The MSS mission is an unprecedented non-UN multinational mission. Even though the UNSC passed a resolution to authorize the deployment, the MSS mission is not a UN security operation. Robert Rae, the chairperson of the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, said that typical peacekeeping operations involve armed struggles between two ethnic or regional groups. However, the MSS mission targets gang violence within Haiti’s territory.

Among the UNSC’s 15 members, 13 of them voted in favor of the resolution, with China and Russia abstaining. The Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said, “[China] has always taken a cautious and responsible approach to the Council’s invocation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter on the authorization of the use of force.” He called for the countries participating in the MSS mission to consult with Haiti on their specific arrangements for the deployment of security forces. He also urged the MSS mission to report timely to the UNSC, comply with international law, and respect Haiti’s sovereignty.

Relatedly, the UNSC’s resolution includes a clause that requests member states participating in the MSS mission to “ensure the highest standards of transparency, conduct and discipline” throughout their operation. According to a report of Human Rights Watch, the 2017 UN Peacekeeping operation in Haiti had a history of sexual abuse and exploitation.

It is worth noting that the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) has also been operating in the country. BINUH shares a similar objective with the MSS mission to strengthen Haiti’s political stability and governance, advance a peaceful and stable environment and protect human rights. As to how the MSS mission, BINUH and the Haitian government would work together, it remains to be seen how the operation goes.