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Multi-National Security Mission UPSC NOTE

 Why is UN sending a mission to Haiti? 

  • Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry first sought international support to assist the national police in October last year after the country plunged into a crisis when a group of gangs called “G9 and Family” seized control of the entry of the main fuel port Varreux in the capital protesting the PM’s decision to cut fuel subsidies. 

  • The blockade brought the country to a standstill and led to massive shortages. 

  • The lack of gas and diesel adversely affected transportation and forced several hospitals and other medical institutions that relied on fuel-powered generators to halt operations. 

  • A UNICEF report at the time claimed that the operations of three-quarters of the country’s major hospitals were hit due to the blockade. 

  • To make matters worse, there was a shortage of bottled water in the backdrop of a new outbreak of cholera. 

  • As the crisis deepened and overwhelmed the short-staffed police force, Haitian leaders turned to the international community for help, seeking a specialised armed force to counter gangs and their sponsors.

Multi-National Security Mission to Haiti 

  • Around a year after Haiti approached the United Nations seeking urgent help to combat deadly gang violence, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved international intervention in the form of a foreign security mission, led by Kenya, to restore security, protect critical infrastructure and control spiralling violence in the country. 

  • Haiti has experienced a surge in violence over the past year as armed groups took control of large parts of the country, including the capital Port-au-Prince. 

  • This has resulted in the killings of nearly 2,800 people, including 80 minors, between October 2022 and June 2023.

  • Unlike the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti that ended in 2017, the multi-national security mission (MSS) will not be operated by the UN.

  • Kenya has volunteered to lead the force. 

  • Other countries like the Bahamas, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda have also offered support.

  • The resolution says that the force will provide operational support” to the Haitian National Police, including building its capacity to counter gangs, improve security conditions in the country and secure ports, airports and critical intersections. 

  • Notably, the resolution adds that the forces will have the authority to make arrests in coordination with Haitian police. 

  • It also intends to create favourable conditions in the country to pave the way for elections. Polls have not taken place in Haiti since 2016. 

  • The strength of the force in Haiti has not been specified in the resolution, although discussions suggest that 2,000 personnel would be part of the mission.

  • While the U.S. has made it clear that it won’t send its troops.

  • The U.S. has pledged $100 million in logistical support like intelligence, communications, airlift operations and medical aid. 

  • While the deployment date is yet to be announced, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Mutua was quoted as saying by The Associated Press that the force could deploy within two to three months, or possibly early January.

What led to the delay?

  • Haiti’s troubled past with foreign military interventions is being viewed as the primary reason for the delay in deployment. 

  • The last time a force was sent to stabilise Haiti was in 2004 when former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a rebellion. 

  • This was followed by a UN peacekeeping mission which went on from 2004 to 2017. 

  • The mission was marred by allegations during its deployment in the country. 

  • A sewage runoff from a peacekeeper camp was blamed for causing a cholera epidemic which saw more than 10,000 deaths. 

  • There were also serious allegations of sexual abuse against the UN peacekeepers. 

  • Since then, Haitians have been sceptical about the intervention of a foreign armed force.

  • Moreover, countries were wary of lending support to PM Henry who doesn’t enjoy the popular support of Haitians.

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