The UN Security Council is divided on the sending of a mission to Haiti

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UN Security Council split on sending mission to Haiti

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A demonstrator, displaying the colors of the Russian flag, protests in Port-au-Prince against the sending of an international military force in Haiti, October 17, 2022.

The UN Security Council discussed on Monday the possible sending of an international force to Haiti to allow the population to emerge from the “nightmare” of the humanitarian and security crisis, without taking a decision on this option. which is not unanimous.

The situation is absolutely dramatic. The port is blocked by the gangs who do not let out the fuel […]. Without fuel, there is no water. And there is cholera, the treatment of which requires good hydration, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters.

This is an absolutely nightmarish situation for the people of Haiti, he added, repeating his call to send an international armed force to free the oil terminal of Varreux, the most important in the country, blocked by gangs since mid-September.

A force with a humanitarian vocation, answering the call for help from the Haitian government itself.

“I have the delicate mission of bringing before the Security Council the cry of distress of an entire people who are suffering and of saying out loud and intelligible that the Haitians do not live, they survive. »

— Jean Victor Généus, Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs

People move a woman after she was shot during a demonstration for the resignation of the Haitian government, in Port-au-Prince, on October 10, 2022.

To deal with the violence and the paralysis of the country, the United States and Mexico are working on two resolutions.

One would authorize a non-UN international security assistance mission to improve the security situation and enable the delivery of humanitarian aid, said US Ambassador Linda Thomas -Greenfield during the Security Council, advanced by several days.

This resolution will propose a limited non-UN mission, carefully framed, and led by a partner country with significant and necessary experience for such an effort to be effective, she added, noting that the United States would consider how best to directly support, enable and provide resources to such a mission.

This idea was supported by many members of the Council, but several expressed reservations and pointed to the demonstrations that took place in the country against this possible foreign intervention and the liabilities of the previous ones.

Peacekeepers are notably responsible for having introduced cholera into the country in 2010, which led to an epidemic which caused more than 10,000 deaths until 2019. And the return of the bacterium which benefits from the Drinking water shortages, which have claimed dozens of lives so far, are raising fears of yet another disaster.

“While the government lacks legitimacy and is incapable of governing, will sending such a rapid action force have the support of the various parties in Haiti or will it in the face of resistance, or even provoke violent confrontations with the population?

— Geng Shuang, China's Representative to the Security Council

China has, however, signaled its support in principle – with some adjustments requested – for a second resolution in preparation which provides for the establishment of a sanctions regime (travel ban, asset freeze, targeted arms embargo) against gangs and their leaders.

At this point, the only one mentioned by the text obtained by AFP is Jimmy Cherizier, nicknamed Barbecue, one of the most influential gang leaders blocking the Varreux terminal and whose actions directly contributed to economic paralysis and the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

A girl fills a water container in a ravine, in Port-au-Prince, on October 15, 2022.

Sanctions, on the other hand, were rejected by Russia, which denounced a process made hastily. Russian representative Dmitry Polyanskiy also called for weighing all the consequences of sending foreign contingents, deeming interference in the Haitian political process by known regional actors who consider the American continent as their background unacceptable. court.

If the Security Council voted – on a date not yet specified – to send such a force, it would remain to be seen which country would lead it.

All indications show that the United States will take the lead, said Richard Gowan, analyst at the International Crisis Group, who evokes possible support from Canada and other countries. Latin Americans.

So far, Americans and Canadians have delivered law enforcement equipment to the Haitian police.

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