In a bid to address the ongoing security crisis in Haiti, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the deployment of a robust international force to combat armed gangs and restore stability in the nation. Guterres emphasized that the estimate was made by a U.N. expert. Stating that Haiti requires up to 2,000 additional anti gangs police officers, is not an exaggeration.
Highlighting that the U.N. is not seeking a military force or a political mission, Guterres appealed to members of the U.N. Security Council and potential contributing countries. Moreover, to take immediate action in deploying a multinational force to assist the Haiti National Police in “defeating and dismantling the gangs.”
Haiti has been requesting such a force since October of the previous year, and Guterres has been actively seeking a country to lead the deployment. However, both the United States and Canada, two likely candidates, have chosen not to participate. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Thursday in Georgetown, Guyana, that the United States is engaged in discussions to identify a lead nation.
The U.N. Secretary-General, who recently visited Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, described the criminal gangs as having a “stranglehold” on the population. He expressed deep concern, saying, “The Haitian people are trapped in a living nightmare. Humanitarian conditions are beyond appalling.”
Haiti’s Long-standing Request for Assistance
Guterres made these remarks ahead of a Security Council meeting convened on Thursday to discuss his report on Haiti. His statement followed the news conference held on Wednesday by the U.N. independent expert for Haiti, William O’Neill. He recently concluded a 10-day trip to the country.
O’Neill estimated that Haiti requires 1,000 to 2,000 international police officers with expertise in combating organized criminal gangs. Addressing their financing, and handling cases of kidnappings and urban operations. He emphasized that the quality of the officers is more crucial than the quantity.
When asked about O’Neill’s estimate, Guterres stressed the need for a comprehensive assessment to determine the appropriate number for an international force. But he supported the expert’s figures, stating that they do not appear to be exaggerated. Additionally, Guterres highlighted the importance of providing financing, training, and equipment to the police force.
During the council meeting, several members expressed support for the secretary-general’s call for an international force. But no new offers were made. Jamaica and The Bahamas have already indicated their willingness to contribute to a multinational force. Meanwhile, Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali mentioned that Rwanda and Kenya have also shown interest.
The international community closely observes the situation in Haiti, with hopes that the deployment of an international force will help address the security crisis and alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people.