The crisis in Haiti deserves intervention, says a draft of the US proposal to the UN

The crisis in Haiti deserves intervention, says a draft of the US proposal to the UN

The crisis in Haiti deserves intervention, says a draft of the US proposal to the UN

The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution encouraging the “immediate deployment of a multinational rapid-action force” in Haiti in response to the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation there, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by The Washington Post.

The drafting of the resolution followed a push by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for the creation of an international force to support the Haitian National Police as powerful armed gangs destabilize the country, disruption of fuel and electricity supply impoverished Caribbean nation.

The resolution is the first sign that the Biden administration may be willing to participate in a mission in Haiti that has a military component. U.S. officials were noncommittal when asked about requests to send in U.S. forces to reduce violence and misrule that have led to shortages of clean drinking water and threaten to worsen cholera outbreaks.

The resolution does not identify specific countries that would participate in the rapid reaction force, nor does it specify what roles those nations will play would play.

Neither the White House nor the State Department immediately responded to requests for comment on the draft resolution, which it did first reported by the McClatchy news organization. A spokesman for the Haitian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, declined to comment.

A person familiar with the ongoing discussions within the US government, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is considered sensitive, said any US military personnel involved in the mission in Haiti would likely provide only logistical support. This person said they were not aware of any plans to put US “boots on the ground”.

A sharp increase in fuel prices has sparked violent protests in Haiti

The United States has long been reluctant to deploy military forces to Haiti. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would accelerate humanitarian aid to Haiti and “increase and deploy” security assistance for the country’s national police “in the coming days.” He did not specify what that might entail, saying only that the aim was to “strengthen their capacity to counter gangs and re-establish a stable security environment under the rule of law”.

In this week’s proposal, Guterres recommended countries send a rapid response force to be accompanied by a United Nations-led mission. In a draft resolution reviewed by The Post, which a diplomat said had been updated as of Friday, the United States “encourages the immediate deployment of a multinational rapid response force to support [Haitian National Police]as recommended in the Secretary General’s letter.”

It is unclear to what extent other members of the UN Security Council support such a move, should China or Russia veto the proposal, or the current draft could be significantly changed before the United States proposes it on Monday.

The resolution also imposes an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on criminal elements in Haiti. It features Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, who is known as Barbecueas someone who “engaged in acts that threaten the peace, security and stability of Haiti and planned, directed or committed acts that constitute serious violations of human rights.”

In Haiti, a man named Barbecue tests the rule of law

Last month, Cherizier, who heads the G9 Family and Allies group, blocked access to the Varreux terminal in Port-au-Prince, the capital. The port is responsible for about 70 percent of the fuel distributed in the country.

Cherizier is seeking a change in the country’s leadership, which has been run since last year by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who took power after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Moïse’s murder remains unsolved.

The blockade worsened difficult economic and social situation in Haiti. Hospitals run out of gas in the middle of a re-emergence of cholera at the beginning of this month. Banks work three days a week, as opposed to the usual six. At least one bank branch is set to close next week due to fuel shortages.

Cholera resurfaces in Haiti as gangs block access to water, hospitals

According to World Food Programme4.7 million people in Haiti face varying degrees of hunger, with an estimated 19,000 experiencing what the organization considers catastrophic levels.

Port-au-Prince is increasingly becoming an isolated island with gangs, often linked to the political and economic class, blocking major roads, all but eliminating the connection to the north and south of the country. Their grip makes it extremely difficult for humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

Overpowered by the gangs, the Haitian National Police lost control of the situation. Local media reports that in the past few days a gang seized an armored vehicle and stole the equipment inside.

On Saturday, the State Department issued a statement saying that US and Canadian military aircraft had arrived in Port-au-Prince that day to deliver “essential security equipment purchased by the Haitian government, including tactical and armored vehicles” to Haitian authorities.

“The equipment will help [police] in their fight against criminal actors who incite violence and obstruct the flow of critically needed humanitarian aid,” the statement said.

Karun Demirjian contributed to this report. Mérancourt reported from Port-au-Prince.

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