HomeTop StoriesUN chief calls for special police forces and military support to fight...

UN chief calls for special police forces and military support to fight gangs in Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the United Nations on Tuesday urged the international community to send a multinational force consisting of “special police forces and military support units” to Haiti to fight gangs with advanced weapons and to restore the security of the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Secretary-General António Guterres said in a 12-page letter to the UN Security Council obtained by The Associated Press that “addressing the security situation in Haiti requires a series of coercive law enforcement measures, including the active use of force in targeted police operations against heavily armed gangs. ”

The letter was in response to a Security Council resolution passed on July 14 asking Guterres to come up with “a full range of options” within 30 days to help fight Haiti’s armed gangs, including a non-UN multinational force.

Guterres welcomed Kenya’s offer to lead an international force, as well as renewed commitments of support from the Bahamas and Jamaica, and the announcement by Antigua and Barbuda that it is considering contributing to the force. He urged more countries, especially from America, to contribute and “build on this new momentum”.

See also  Pleasant Farms man arrested after wife's death

Gangs have overpowered Haiti’s police force and experts estimate they now control some 80% of the capital Port-au-Prince. There are only about 10,000 police officers for the country’s more than 11 million residents, and more than 30 were killed between January and June, according to Human Rights Watch.

Guterres said the gangs have surrounded the capital, effectively cutting off roads in the north, south and east of the country, and violence is spreading to the Artibonite region of central Haiti and other areas, hampering the delivery of aid and supplies. is blocked.

He cited reports of gangs shooting people in public spaces and their homes, burning people alive in public transport vehicles, mutilating and executing alleged opponents, recruiting children, and using sexual violence and rape against women and girls.

“Gangs have become more structured, federated and autonomous in their attempts to confront state authority, weaken state institutions and consolidate control over the population,” the secretary-general said. “They target police stations, courts, prisons, schools, hospitals and strategic installations such as ports, oil terminals and major roads.”

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry last October issued an urgent call for “the immediate deployment of a specialized force, in sufficient numbers” to stop the gangs. However, no country stepped up to lead such a force until Kenya’s bid at the end of July.

See also  Veteran urges others to apply before the important PACT Act deadline

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on August 1 that the United States would introduce a UN Security Council resolution authorizing Kenya to lead a multinational police force to fight the gangs and provide 1,000 officers. However, she did not give a timetable.

Since the offer, Kenya’s police have come under scrutiny, especially by human rights watchdogs, for alleged killings and torture, including the shooting of civilians during the country’s COVID-19 curfew.

While the US considered Kenya to lead the force, it also openly warned Kenyan police officers against violent abuse.

Guterres said the Haitian National Police is facing “deep worry” with continued reports of gang infiltration.

The force lost 774 officers in the first half of the year – “a staggering loss compared to an average turnover of about 400 police officers per year in the past,” he said. And the state of police infrastructure is “abysmal”, with about 40 of 412 properties across the country rendered useless “due to territorial control by gangs”.

See also  Biden Announces Protections for Venezuelan Migrants; demonstrators return to SI

Guterres made it clear in the letter that “Haiti’s current context is not conducive to peacekeeping” by the United Nations.

He said law and order must be restored and human rights violations and violence reduced “by deterring, neutralizing and disarming heavily armed gangs capable of vigorously resisting anti-gang police operations.”

Guterres stressed that securing strategic installations and key roads to restore freedom of movement and restoring the government’s presence to restore services requires “the robust use of force” by a specialized multinational police force.

In addition to deploying such a force, he said there are two possible options for the UN: to provide logistical support to the multinational force and national police force, and to strengthen the UN’s political mission in Haiti to expand its mandate to training and advising soldiers. national police and create “an enabling environment” for long-delayed elections and the restoration of democratic institutions.

Given Haiti’s plight and the need for security, Guterres said both options may be necessary to maximize the impact of a multinational police force.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments