UN Security Council Authorizes Sending US-Backed Force to Haiti

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted in favor of a US-sponsored resolution that authorizes a deployment of Kenyan-led troops to Haiti. The Washington-backed government in Port-au-Prince requested the mission after gangs captured large swaths of the capital city. The US has pledged financial support and training for the international force deployed to Haiti under the UN flag. 

During a meeting of the UNSC on Monday, the body approved a measure that gives Kenya the authority to send troops into Haiti aimed at restoring order. The measure calls for the troops to work with local police to plan “and conduct joint security support operations as it works to counter gangs and improve security conditions in Haiti.” The force will help secure “critical infrastructure sites and transit locations such as the airport, ports, and key intersections.”

It was unclear if Russia or China would veto the measure. Beijing’s representative to the council voiced some support for the mission, but China abstained. The Russian ambassador said Moscow would withhold support for the operation but would not veto the measure because it was requested by the Haitian government. The measure passed with 13 yes votes and two abstentions. 

The Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, rose to power with Washington’s support after President Jovenal Moise was assassinated in 2021. Since taking office, the streets of Port-au-Prince have become a battleground between rival gangs and vigilante groups of civilians frustrated with the rampant violence.  

While Henry supports the UN mission, the Haitian people have protested against deploying foreign soldiers. Additionally, various Haitian groups have issued letters demanding the UN drop the plan to send troops and for the White House to withdraw its support from Henry. 

UN soldiers have a dark legacy in Haiti. The last UN mission to Haiti lasted from 2004-2017. During that time, the troops committed sexual abuses against women and killed nearly 10,000 Haitians by causing a cholera outbreak. The State Department Human Rights report found Kenyan security forces commit rampant human rights abuses with little accountability. 

The Joe Biden administration has been pushing for the UNSC to authorize a deployment to Haiti for a year. Washington hoped to enlist Ottawa to lead the mission, but the Canadian government rebuffed the US. 

Kenya agreed to lead the mission. The US agreed to provide Nairobi with $100 million to aid the mission, and US troops will train the Kenyan soldiers. After Nairobi committed to sending its troops to Port-au-Prince, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Kenya to ink an agreement to increase military ties between the two nations.  

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.