Concerns raised over Kenya's plan to send police officers to Haiti

Concerns raised over Kenya's plan to send police officers to Haiti

President Ruto (back R) and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry (back L) witnessed the signing of the agreement at the Kenyan Mission in New York, United States on September 21, 2023.

With the United Nations Security Council expected to vote on a resolution that will see an international force led by Kenya deployed to Haiti to quell a surge in gang violence, concerns have been raised over Kenya’s course, with Amnesty International and Kenya National Civil Society Centre raising a red flag over human rights record of Kenya police.

How Kenya will help restore law and order in the Caribbean country where past interventions failed to restore stability remains the key question. 

In stepping up and pledging to deploy 1,000 police officers to the Multinational Security Support in Haiti and with Washington throwing its weight behind her, questions continue being raised about Kenya’s motivation.

“For the U.S, they needed a friend, because they themselves don’t want to go to Haiti, they have been there many times and they messed up. So, they don’t want to go there because they’ve been messing up,” Macharia Munene, Professor of International Relations and History at USIU,

With the daunting task of urban warfare awaiting the Kenyan police contingent, the officers, if given a go-ahead will face a conglomerate of gangs who control nearly 90 percent of the capital Port-au-Prince, according to the United Nations and critics say Kenyan police are ill-prepared.

“Kenya is poorly prepared for that despite what some officials are telling us. There will be a language and cultural problem. The Haitians also don’t want us, the gangs are saying don’t come. And they are better armed than the forces there,” adds Prof. Munene.

Amnesty International through its representative to the UN wrote to members of the UN Security Council urging them to examine the human rights track record of Kenyan security forces. 

In the letter Amnesty international says: “Any deployment of foreign security forces must include clear, mandatory and enforceable parameters to prevent the unlawful use of force, negligence resulting in harm to local populations, and any other abuses by any individuals deployed as part of any multinational effort; these must also include clear measures to protect individuals against sexual exploitation and abuse.”

On the other hand, The Kenya National Civil Society Centre in a statement accused the Kenya Police of extrajudicial killings saying: “The Kenya Police Service is notorious for its excessive use of force and continues to take the flak to the large number of extrajudicial killings and arbitrary execution of protestors during the recent anti-government protests.”

And with the government’s commitment to deploy police in Haiti, questions have also been raised over whether procedure is being followed, including public participation, what level of Parliamentary engagement has been done, why hasn’t the Ministry of Interior, under which the NPS falls has not spoken about the planned deployment and why hasn’t the President come clean on the Haiti deployment.


Haiti Kenya

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