The UN Security Council is set to vote on Monday on a resolution that seeks to authorize an international force to be deployed to Haiti for a year.
Antigua and Barbuda has agreed to send members of the Defence Force to Haiti but no timeline or the number has been agreed upon just yet.
In a statement on Sunday, the UN said the mission aims to help the country combat the escalating gang violence and restore security, which will enable them to hold the long-overdue elections.
The US-drafted resolution, which was obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday, welcomes Kenya’s offer to lead the multinational security force. However, it makes it clear that this will be a non-UN force, funded by voluntary contributions.
The resolution, which would authorize the force for one year, with a review after nine months, allows the force to provide operational support to Haiti’s National Police. The police force, which is underfunded and under-resourced, has only 10,000 active officers for a country that has over 11 million people.
The force would help build the capacity of local police by planning and conducting joint security support operations to counter gangs and improve security conditions in Haiti.
In addition, the force would help secure critical infrastructure sites and transit locations such as the airport, ports, and key intersections. Powerful gangs have seized control of key roads leading from Haiti’s capital to the country’s northern and southern regions, disrupting the transportation of food and other goods.
Passage by the Security Council would allow the force to adopt urgent temporary measures on an exceptional basis to prevent the loss of life and to help police maintain public safety.
Leaders of the mission would be required to inform the council of the mission’s goals, rules of engagement, financial needs, and other matters before a full deployment.
A spokesman for Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was not aware of the resolution or the upcoming vote, and the government did not immediately have a comment.
The resolution condemns the increasing violence, criminal activities, and human rights abuses and violations that undermine the peace, stability, and security of Haiti and the region.
This includes kidnappings, sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants, homicides, extrajudicial killings, and arms smuggling.
If adopted, it would be the first time a force has been deployed to Haiti since the UN approved a stabilization mission in June 2004 marred by a sexual abuse scandal and the introduction of cholera.
That mission ended in October 2017. Concerns have also surrounded the proposed Kenyan-led mission, with critics noting that police in the East African country have long been accused of using torture, deadly force, and other abuses.