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The United Nations Security Council approved the deployment of an armed multinational force to Haiti, as the battered Caribbean country grapples with out-of-control violence from criminal gangs and a years-long political crisis, CNN reported.
Thirteen members of the Security Council voted in favor of a resolution, with Russia and China abstaining from the vote.
Under the resolution, a “multinational security support” force led by Kenya will be sent to Haiti for a 12-month mission. The force will not be under formal UN control, however.
The armed troops will try to help get the dire security situation under control and strengthen the Haitian National Police’s efforts to rein in criminal gangs.
The resolution also calls for a global stop to weapons sales to Haiti, except for approved security purposes.
The Haitian government and UN diplomats hailed the decision, saying the mission “speaks to the UN’s ability to galvanize collective action.”
It’s unclear when the force will be deployed, but the Security Council’s decision follows repeated calls by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry for international support in tackling Haiti’s rising insecurity.
Warring gangs control much of the capital Port-au-Prince, and have forced around 200,000 people to flee their homes because of murders, kidnappings, and rape.
The prime minister has also warned that nearly five million Haitians are struggling to survive amid soaring inflation.
Despite international support, critics have expressed skepticism of the mission, citing past UN peacekeeping scandals in Haiti, including sexual abuse and a cholera outbreak.
Some also question Henry’s mandate: He took over the leadership following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
The prime minister has said Haiti needs better security before holding elections, which are long overdue.