Antonio Rodrigue

Haiti asks the UN to immediately send an international armed force to fight gang members who have kidnapped the country

“There is no more time to waste, the security situation could worsen any day,” Haitian ambassador Antonio Rodrigue told the UN Security Council.

UNITED NATIONS – Haiti warned this Tuesday that it can no longer wait for an international armed force to be sent to the country to combat the armed gangs, an operation that it requested last October and which has yet to come true.

“There is no more time to waste, the security situation could worsen any day,” Haitian ambassador Antonio Rodrigue told the UN Security Council during a meeting on the crisis in his country.
The diplomat insisted that it is “more necessary and urgent than ever” to have a short-term solution to restore security in Haiti and once again called for the immediate dispatch of that international mission to help the National Police against gangs.

This operation was officially requested last October by the Haitian government and supported by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, who proposed establishing a “rapid action force” made up of soldiers from one or more countries and not under the UN flag. .
However, for now the project has not crystallized due to the lack of finding a State willing to lead it, according to diplomatic sources.

The United States and Canada have promoted talks on this issue, but so far they have shown no intention of leading the operation, according to those same sources.
In the session on Tuesday, both countries stressed the need to support Haiti and showed their willingness to help, but they did not say anything concrete about their possible role in that mission.

On behalf of the UN, the organization’s representative for the country, Helen La Lime, made it clear that without this international armed deployment, the small advances that have been seen recently in Haiti will not be of much use.
La Lime was referring mainly to the agreement reached in December between political forces to carry out a transition process and general elections, a compromise welcomed by the members of the Security Council.

The Haitian ambassador, in any case, stressed that without restoring security in the country there will be no acceptable elections nor will institutional normality be recovered.
According to data compiled by the UN, gang violence reached levels not seen in decades in 2022, with a sharp increase in homicides, to a total of 2,183, and 1,359 kidnappings, more than double the previous year.

Wars between armed groups have raged in neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, with snipers shooting men, women and children from rooftops and continued reports of sexual assault, a tactic being used to sow fear and destroy the social fabric, according to the ONU.

Melissa Galbraith
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