Kenya-led intervention force approved for Haiti

The UN Security Council voted Oct. 2 to approve a multi-national armed force led by Kenya to combat the violent gangs that have made Haiti ungovernable—marking the first time in nearly 20 years that foreign forces are to be deployed to the Caribbean nation. The resolution authorizes the Multinational Security Support mission to deploy for one year, with a review after nine months. Drafted by the US and Ecuador, the resolution was approved with 13 votes in favor and two abstentions, from Russia and China. (AP, PRI, Jurist)

Kenya's Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua told the BBC his country wants to go beyond tackling the gangs, helping to strengthen infrastructure and restore democracy in Haiti, where elections have been repeatedly postponed due to the violence. But many have voiced skepticism about deployment of the force, asking how it will work if Kenyan troops don't speak French or Kreyol, and questioning the wisdom of sending personnel from a military criticized at home for human rights abuses.

Previous armed interventions—including UN peacekeeping missions—have also done little to improve things in Haiti, which has been hamstrung by factors such as the monumental debt France forced it to pay in exchange for independence. (TNH)

UN Security Council continues sanctions, arms embargo on Haiti

The UN Security Council on Oct. 19 unanimously adopted a resolution renewing sanctions, an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on Haiti. These measures were first adopted in October 2022 to address the increasing violence and criminal activity, and deteriorating political, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country. (Jurist)

Kenya court extends bar on deploying police to Haiti

A Kenyan court has extended a temporary order blocking the deployment of hundreds of police officers to Haiti as part of a UN-approved multinational mission to tackle violent gangs. The court is now set to rule on the case on Nov. 9. Kenya's parliament is yet to debate the planned US-backed intervention. (TNH)

Haiti: armed gang takes hundreds hostage at hospital

Police were able to rescue hundreds of people taken hostage Fontaine Hospital Center in the Port-au-Prince district of Cite Soleil. The hostages included women, children and newborns. Gang killings and kidnappings have soared across Haiti since the president was assassinated in 2021. (NewsHour)

Kenya parliament approves deployment of police to Haiti

Kenyan lawmakers on Nov. 16 endorsed a request to deploy over 1,000 police officers to Haiti. The decision, shown in a televised broadcast from parliament, resulted from the presentation of a motion by parliament's Committee on Administration & Internal Security. The motion endorsed the government's request to dispatch security officers as a response to the escalating violence in Haiti. (Jurist)

Haiti: de facto prime minister accused of complicity in violence

A human rights group, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), has accused de facto prime minister Ariel Henry of deliberately enabling the deterioration of security in the Caribbean country. The UN says almost 4,000 people were killed between January and November this year amid paralyzing gang violence. (TNH)

Deadly gang siege in Port-au-Prince neighborhood

Dozens of deaths were reported as Solino, a large neighborhood of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, came under a days-long siege from gangs, raising fears that levels of violence that claimed nearly 4,000 lives in 2023 could intensify further.

A Kenyan judge is due to rule this month on whether the African country can lead an international force to try to quell the violence in Haiti. (TNH)

Court blocks Kenyan bid to lead Haiti police mission

The Kenyan High Court has blocked the deployment of 1,000 police officers to Haiti to try to help rein in rampant gang violence, ruling that President William Ruto’s plan—which had been approved by parliament—is "unconstitutional, illegal and invalid." The Kenyan government vowed to challenge the ruling. As Kenya had been slated to lead the UN Security Council-authorised mission, the court’s decision has thrown the future of the largely US-funded enterprise into doubt. The situation in Haiti has dramatically escalated in the past year as gang violence rages in the capital Port-au-Prince and spreads through the neighbouring Artibonite department. According to new UN figures, nearly 4,800 people were killed in 2023, double the 2022 figure; while the number of kidnappings soared from 1,359 to 2,490. Social unrest has also spiked this month, as supporters of former rebel leader Guy Philippe launched protests against acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry, paralysing cities across the Caribbean country. (TNH)

Haitian police fire tear-gas at protests against government

Police in Haiti fired tear gas at protestors on Feb. 5 as demonstrations against Prime Minister Ariel Henry continue to rage on in the nation's capital, Port-Au-Prince. Protesters decried Henry's lack of action against gang violence.

According to Human Rights Watch report, the protest wave began after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, with Henry leading the country without a constitutional mandate as he did not receive parliamentary approval. In 2022, there were almost 900 kidnappings and 1,350 homicides related to gang violence between January and August alone. (Jurist)

Haiti: 'rogue' security brigade joins uprising

Violent protests to oust acting prime minister Ariel Henry continue to rock Haiti, paralyzing entire cities. Looting, attacks on public institutions, and clashes left many wounded, while at least five members of a heavily armed brigade leading the insurrection were killed. Haiti National Police also arrested three agents of the Protected Areas Security Brigade, known as BSAP, and confiscated one of their vehicles. (TNH, MH)

Haiti: Kenya-led intervention plan moves ahead

Representatives of the Haitian and Kenyan police held meetings with the US State Department and the Pentagon in Washington to plan the deployment of a Kenya-led Multinational Security Force in Haiti—part of an attempt to bypass a ruling from Kenya's High Court blocking the country's police from being sent to the Caribbean nation. (TNH)

Haiti: Henry agrees to hold elections... in 2025

Acting prime minister Ariel Henry has agreed to hold elections in Haiti by mid-2025, according to a leaders’ statement at the end of a regional CARICOM summit in Guyana. Henry has faced growing protests and calls for his resignation amid rampant gang violence. On Feb. 29, as he was travelling to Kenya to push forward plans for a UN-authorized security assistance mission to rein in the gangs, violence broke out in several neighborhoods of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and at the international airport, which had to cancel flights. (TNH)

Kenya agrees to send 1,000 officers to Haiti

Kenya and Haiti signed a security deal on March 1 which will see Kenya deploy 1,00 police officers to the Caribbean nation. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry thanked President William Ruto and the people of Kenya for their commitment to Haitian security.

Though the Kenya-led mission was officially authorized in October 2023, it has faced challenges. On Jan. 26, the Kenyan High Court struck down a plan to send 10,000 police officers. It is unclear whether the new agreement to send only a fraction of the initially promised deployment will receive or survive the same level of scrutiny. (Jurist)

State of emergency in Haiti

Haiti is under a state of emergency, with a nighttime curfew in effect. The measure was taken after armed gangs overran the two biggest prisons in the country and released thousands of inmates—including convicted murderers and kidnappers. (PRI)

Who is in control in Haiti?

No one knows who is in charge in Haiti any more. Returning from Kenya, where he was trying to shore up a security assistance mission, acting prime minister Ariel Henry diverted his plane to Puerto Rico on March 5 after being turned away by the Dominican Republic. In his absence, the gangs that have tightened their grip on Port-au-Prince since the July 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moïse have been on the rampage, freeing thousands of inmates from penitentiaries, launching an assault on the international airport, sacking and burning police stations, and forcing the closure of the main port.

Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier called on Henry to resign or face a civil war, while the regional CARICOM body and the United States, a key ally, urged him to speed up a transition. But to whom? A "Council of Ministers," all that's left of a government that has largely ceased to function, issued a "nameless decree" Marc 7 extending the state of emergency in and around the capital until April 3. A night-time curfew was also extended through March 11. But given the lawlessness, the effect of the decree may be limited.

Humanitarian needs, meanwhile, are soaring, with at least 15,000 newly displaced, according to the UN. Haiti's main hospital and several health centers were forced to close because staff couldn’t reach them safely and medical supplies are lacking. According to UNICEF, two in every three Haitian children need emergency assistance, and families can't access help without risking the crossfire. The fate of the UN-approved Multinational Security Support mission (MSS), which the US was planning to bankroll, also appears in doubt. (TNH)

Haiti prime minister announces resignation

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced March 11 that he will formally resign after a transitional council is installed to lead the Caribbean state, which has been plagued by gang violence. Henry has been stuck in Puerto Rico, prevented from returning following a trip to Kenya to discuss the deployment of a multinational task force to stabilize Haiti.

Regional leaders also met in Jamaica March 11 and agreed to form a new transitional government in Haiti led by a seven-member presidential council that will choose a new interim prime minister and prepare the nation for elections. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a regional organization comprising 15 member states, expressly stated that it will exclude from the council anyone currently facing criminal charges; anyone who has been convicted in any jurisdiction; anyone who is under UN Sanction; anyone who intends to run in the next election in Haiti; and anyone who opposes the UN Security Council Resolution 2699. (Jurist)

Haiti inches toward interim government ...and starvation

Haitian civilians are paying a heavy price amid the country's political crisis. The World Food Program (WFP) said March 12 that 1.4 million of Haiti's 11.6 million people are on the brink of starvation, largely because armed gangs have put a chokehold on transport routes and aid distribution. Displacement linked to the gang violence has pushed more than 362,000 from their homes' some 15,000 were displaced again just this month by continued gang battles. Hospitals and many clinics have closed out of fear that their staff will be attacked or kidnapped, and medical supplies are sparse. Sudden spikes in fuel and food prices have also strained day-to-day survival.

Gangs have threatened more mayhem if Prime Minister Ariel Henry returns from Puerto Rico, where he has been stranded. He pledged to resign on March 12, but the road to new elections is pocked with hurdles. Haitian political parties and coalitions have partly agreed who would sit on a transitional presidential council. The council would choose an interim prime minister, a cabinet, and plan for general elections, which haven't been held in nearly a decade. But there have been heated disputes amongst the political parties and coalitions that put the council names forward, suggesting delays. Kenya, meanwhile, says it won't deploy an armed force to tackle the gang problem and restore stability until a presidential council is in place. (TNH)

Haiti gang violence claims 1,500 lives so far this year: UN

Ongoing gang violence in Haiti has killed more than 1,500 people this year, including ozens lynched by so-called self-defence brigades, the UN Human Rights Office said March 28. The report indicates that in 2023, the number of victims of gang-related violence amounted to 4451 killed and 1668 injured. In the first three months of 2024, 1554 deaths and 826 injuries have been recorded. (Jurist)

UN report sees 'unprecedented' rights abuses in Haiti

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, stated April 2 at the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council that the scale of human rights abuses in Haiti is unprecedented in its modern history.

Türk expressed deep concerns over the serious rise in kidnappings and sexual violence. According to a UN report published last week, gangs continued to use sexual violence to brutalize, punish and control people. and some women are forced into exploitative sexual relations with gang members. In addition, rape is still being used as a threat to push families into paying ransoms. (Jurist)

Haiti sees gain toward interim government ...and starvation

Members of the transitional presidential council for Haiti finally agreed on a planfor a temporary government to be established and pave the way for elections, but outgoing authorities must still approve it. Meanwhile, the ongoing curfew was extended as gang violence still rages, and as the World Food Program warned it could run out of food stocks in Haiti by the end of April. (TNH)

Haiti transitional council sworn in amid growing violence

In Haiti, the nine-member Transitional Presidential Council has been sworn in. It replaces the prime minister, Ariel Henry, who officially resigned April 24. It now has the difficult task of leading the violence-stricken country. Its main task is to get the country ready for elections in 2026, the first since 2016. (PRI)

Haiti transition off to a rocky start

Last week, acting prime minister Ariel Henry officially resigned and the transitional presidential council that is supposed to calm the political waters in Haiti and take the Caribbean nation safely through to long-delayed elections by February 2026 was sworn in. This week, it got down to business, but it was far from an auspicious start. A majority of four on the council (two of its nine members have no voting rights) initially announced the appointment of former sports minister Fritz Bélizaire as the new prime minister but appeared to then back-track amid accusations that their choice was being forced through on the sly.

The regional CARICOM body is reportedly trying to patch things up and garner more consensus around the cabinet positions, but all signs point to a fracturing of the body already. There was also a renewed outbreak of violence, with gangs laying siege to several neighbourhoods in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The fate of a controversial UN-backed security assistance mission, due to be led by Kenya and deployed as early as this month, also remains uncertain. (TNH)

Kenya readies 'security' force for Haiti

Preparations for the deployment of Kenyan forces to Haiti are underway, with the arrival of the first contingent set to happen by the end of May, the Miami Herald reported, citing a US government official. US military planes have started flying in contractors and supplies to build a base for the multinational security support (MSS) force. While several governments have said they will contribute to the MSS, the mission still lacks funding. (TNH)