UNITED NATIONS (HPD) — The United States and Mexico said Monday they are preparing a UN resolution that would authorize an “international assistance mission” to help improve security in Haiti so that urgent humanitarian aid can be delivered to millions of of people in need.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the announcement during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council as thousands of people in Haiti took to the streets to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The protests took place on the day the country commemorates the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a slave who became the ruler of the world’s first black republic.
Thomas-Greenfield said the proposed mission — which is “non-UN” — would be limited in time and scope and would be led by an “allied country” that was not identified “with the extensive and necessary experience required for a job So it can be effective.” It would include a mandate for the use of military force if necessary.
He noted that the resolution being drafted is a “direct response” to a request that Henry and the Haitian Council of Ministers submitted on October 7 for international assistance to help restore security and defuse the humanitarian crisis. The proposal mirrors an option UN Secretary-General António Guterres put forward in a letter to the council on Oct. 9, calling for one or more United Nations member states to deploy a rapid-action force to help the Haitian National Police.
Haiti has been gripped by inflation, which has pushed up food and fuel prices, and fueled protests that have brought society to a breaking point. Daily life in the Caribbean nation began to spin out of control last month, just hours after Henry announced the end of gasoline subsidies, causing prices to double.
Gangs blocked access to the Varreux fuel terminal, sparking a severe gasoline shortage at a time when rising prices have put food and gasoline out of reach for many Haitians. Drinking water is scarce and the nation grapples with an outbreak of cholera.
Political instability in Latin America’s poorest country has been unleashed since the unsolved assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July last year. Moïse was facing opposition protests demanding his resignation on corruption charges and claims that his five-year term as head of government had ended. The then president had dissolved the majority of Parliament in January 2020 after failing in his attempt to hold legislative elections in 2019 amid a political deadlock.
Thomas-Greenfield said the resolution authorizing the security mission is attached to a resolution seen by The Associated Press last week that would impose an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel restrictions on Jimmy Cherizier, also known as “Barbeque”, leader of an important Haitian gang. The sanctions would also target other Haitian individuals and groups who engage in actions that endanger the peace, security or stability of the country, according to the text obtained by the HPD on Thursday.
The US ambassador stressed that her country is “very aware of the history of international interventions in Haiti, and in particular of the concerns that the council authorizes a response that could lead to a peacekeeping role without a defined time limit.” ”.
Sanon reported from Port-au-Prince. Associated Press journalist Dánica Coto contributed to this report from San Juan.