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A year after interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry made the request for an intervention force to help the national police confront the gangs, and a year after almost all UN member countries stalling to provide the help requested, the UN Security Council yesterday voted Resolution 2699 to authorize a multinational peacekeeping force to help strengthen the capabilities of the PNH through the planning and conduct of joint security support operations as they try to combat the gangs and improve security conditions in the country. The resolution was adopted by 13 members in favor with Russia and China abstaining. PM Henry thanked the Security Council members and the US and Ecuador especially for drafting the text of the resolution and voting on it. The foreign minister, Jean Victor Généus, who was present at the vote welcomed what he called a gesture of solidarity from the ambassadors for their support and noted that this is not a simple vote, but an expression of solidarity with a people in distress.

For his part, the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Martin Kimani said the resolution has lit a beacon of hope for the besieged people of Haiti, while recalling the bold step by his country to lead the mission and thanked the Security Council for responding in an exemplary spirit of cooperation. The US representative Jeffrey DeLaurentis said the council made history by authoring the multinational support mission and intensifying its efforts to create a new way to preserve global peace and security. The deployment mission will help meet the country’s critical needs in the short term and foster the security conditions necessary for the country to advance long-term stability. While the mission will primarily support the Haitian police, it is only part of the larger effort to address the broader crisis, including humanitarian, economic and political challenges. The US has already pledged US$200m to support the mission. According to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the administration will lobby congress for US$100m in foreign aid while the military is also making US$100m available in support. 

The non-UN force will provide operational support to the Haitian National Police (PNH), which is underfunded and underequipped, with only some 10,000 active agents for a country of more than 11 million inhabitants. The two Security Council members who abstained, Chine and Russia, argued that the text of the resolution does not take into account their concerns, which include the fact that the mission is not intended to last forever, and must not encroach on the sovereignty of the country. While China insists on being cooperative, it doesn’t think the resolution goes far enough, while Russia doesn’t think the resolution achieves a satisfactory level of understanding that the increasing deterioration of the situation in the country over the decades in partly due to the foreign interference. 

Meanwhile, this past Monday, October 2, 2023, marks the 86th anniversary of the massacre of more than 30,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian ancestry under the orders of the former dictator, Raphael Leonidas Trujillo. Speaking on radio Kiskeya, the vice-rector for research at the public university of the North-East, Professor Maismy Mary Fleulant recalls that Haitians were massacred even as they tried to flee to Haiti, crossing the river which separates the two nations, and which bears the fateful name of “Massacre River”, today a point of contention between the two countries. Prof. Fleurant argues that the then government of Sténio Vincent did not have the courage to validly defend our compatriots, instead opted for a policy of compromise and submission against Trujillo. The Challenge Center, under the leadership of Professor Watson Denis, had published a work of great academic and scientific scope entitle “Terreurs de frontière, le massacre des Haïtiens en République dominicaine en 1937” in which he argued that the massacre of Haitians in the Dominican Republic in 1937 was carried out with a very clear political objective, which is to control the Haitian-Dominican border politically and militarily. During this massacre, the victims were stripped of their property that they had built up over several generations through the fruits of their work and their entrepreneurial spirit. Somehow, this anniversary comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries around the construction of the canal on the Massacre River by the Haitians. Haiti is building an irrigation system, supplied by the waters of the Massacre River with the dual objective of controlling its floods and irrigating more than 3,000 hectares of land in the Maribaroux plain. The Dominican Republic is objecting to this move and has since closed its borders with her neighbor and began expelling Haitians in droves. During a press conference, the DR President Luis Abinader, who has faced criticism from his own people, especially traders and producers because of the losses they face as a result of the border closing, spoke of a possible economic reopening of the border in coming weeks, though he does not foresee opening for migration purposes. He also informed the press that annual spending on border security has increased by 15% while he is planning on building a border fence which will soon be inaugurated.

Dela Harlley

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