Kenya is being asked to lead an international police force in Haiti, to help restore order in the destabilized country.
In October 2022, a UN resolution decreed that a police action be sent to Haiti, to help stabilize the gang-dominated country. Their democratic government has collapsed entirely following two major earthquakes, the loss of all civic infrastructure, and the assassination of a president, leaving several powerful gangs controlling most of the island nation, trapping the locals in violent wars between them.
Haiti’s current Prime Minister, Ariel Henry requested specialized armed forces from the UN to stop the gangs. But no nation would step up to organize or lead such a force.
In the over nine months since that appeal, only Kenya has “positively considered” leading such a force, offering to send 1,000 police to train, arm, and assist the Haitian National Police in restoring order. Kenya’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday it plans to send a task force to Haiti in the next few weeks to assess operational requirements for the police mission.
Welcoming Kenya’s offer, Haiti’s Foreign Minister Jean Victor Généus said: “Haiti appreciates this expression of African solidarity and looks forward to welcoming Kenya’s proposed evaluation mission in the coming weeks.”
“Kenya stands with persons of African descent across the world,” Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Nganga Mutua said. A ministry spokesman didn’t respond to questions about the force or what Kenya would receive in return.
Because no one else has stepped up to help, the U.S. has backed Kenya’s bid for the position, despite concerns about the nature of Kenya’s police force. Organizations who track police misconduct have reported high levels of police brutality and unreported deaths associated with policing. They are concerned that because this police action will not report to a U.N. force commander, that it risks being just an exportation of police violence to an already struggling country.