Security Council Gives Green Light to “Multinational Security Support” Mission for Haiti
2 October, 2023, New York: The Security Council voted today to authorize Member States that have notified the Secretary-General of their participation to form and deploy a “Multinational Security Support” mission to Haiti, to bolster national police efforts to restore security to the violence-plagued nation.
Haiti is facing a political impasse since the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, as well as a brutal stranglehold by armed gangs on its capital, Port-au-Prince. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), between 1 January and 15 August this year, at least 2,439 people have been killed and a further 902 injured and 951 kidnapped.
The resolution passed by a vote of 13 in favour and 2 abstentions. By the terms of the resolution, the Mission will be led by one country, in close cooperation and coordination with the Government of Haiti, for an initial period of twelve months.
Building on the sanctions regime established by resolution 2653 (2022) and replacing paragraph 11 of that text, today’s resolution urges Member States to take all necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to Haiti, unless the intended recipient is the UN, a UN-authorized mission, or a security unit that operates under the command of the Government, and is intended to be used by, or in coordination with, those entities and used solely to further the objective of peace and stability.
In its preambular paragraphs, the text highlights that the nation’s root causes of instability require political solutions. It also recognizes the need for a Haitian-owned and led political process, with the support of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), ultimately leading to the organization of free and fair legislative and presidential elections. The Council also calls on the international community to remain committed to Haiti’s efforts to overcome the political stalemate, as well as the security and humanitarian situation.
The resolution underscores that the mission can also adopt “urgent temporary measures” to help the Haitian National Police maintain basic law and order and public safety, including through arrest and detention. On this, the Council stresses that the mission must at all times comply with international law, including human rights law. The mission must, the text continues, take fully into account child protection and the protection of other vulnerable groups throughout the planning and conduct of its operations.
Given the multitude of challenges facing Haiti, the resolution also contains references to the specific expertise needed in a number of areas. Member States participating in the mission should bring their knowledge on anti-gang operations and community-oriented policing, as well as on the protection of women and children. The mission must put victims at the centre of its prevention of — and response to — sexual and gender-based violence.
The resolution also delineates various safeguards and requirements to ensure that the mission avoids some of the missteps of previous interventions in Haiti. The mission should establish an oversight mechanism to prevent human rights violations or abuses, particularly sexual exploitation. The Council also requests that the mission adopt appropriate wastewater management and other environmental controls to guard against the introduction and spread of water-borne diseases. It further notes that the mission’s leadership should develop an exit strategy to be utilized once the terms of its mandate have been fulfilled.
The Council stipulates that the cost of implementing the temporary operation should be borne by voluntary contributions and support from individual Member States and regional organizations. The goal, the resolution notes, is to “support the efforts of the Haitian National Police to re-establish security in Haiti and build security conditions conducive to holding free and fair elections.”
The resolution follows on the heels of a request by the Secretary-General, as well as two prior resolutions passed by the Council in recent months. On 14 July, 2023, the Council encouraged support for the deployment of a “specialized force” in Haiti. On 21 October, 2022, the Council voted to impose sanctions on individuals and groups responsible for the violence in Haiti.
The Government of Kenya has previously offered to lead the mission. Fellow Caribbean nations including Jamaica, the Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda have expressed their readiness to support.