The U.S will Support Sending Multinational Rapid Reaction Force to Haiti
The U.S. will support sending ‘multinational rapid action force’ to Haiti
BY MICHAEL WILNER AND JACQUELINE CHARLES
UPDATED OCTOBER 14,2022
The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that will encourage the “immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force” to Haiti to address the nation’s worst security and health crisis in decades, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald. The draft resolution, confirmed by multiple U.S. and U.N. officials, comes in response to a call by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres last week for the establishment of a rapid reaction force to assist the Haitian National Police.
Over the past four weeks, powerful armed gangs have all but sent the country into anarchy, blockading the country’s largest fuel terminals and cutting off its critical roadways. It is the first public indication so far that the Biden administration is willing to participate in a military force in Haiti — although the resolution does not specify what role various nations would play. A U.S. source familiar with the drafting of the resolution said the multilateral force would not be under the supervision of the U.N. or assembled under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which endorses the use of force for the maintenance of peace. Last week, Guterres proposed that Haiti and other nations or transnational organizations deploy a rapid response-force, to be followed in the medium-term by a U.N.-led force. It remains unclear who would lead the rapid-action force, but the United States, Canada and France — three countries with a long history of involvement in Haiti — have all expressed skepticism in recent days.
But the violence and lack of governance in Haiti have led to a shortage of potable water and a burgeoning cholera outbreak, alarming the international community and forcing the Biden administration — long reluctant to intervene in Haiti militarily — to acknowledge last week that the status quo has become untenable. If the draft resolution remains unchanged, and the Security Council adopts it, the U.N. would encourage “the immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force to support the [Haiti National Police] as recommended in the Secretary-General’s letter,” according to the draft. It is still unclear whether China or Russia, two permanent members of the Security Council, will support the resolution.
China has been critical in recent months of the international community’s approach to Haiti and has called for a stronger arms embargo on the Caribbean nation. The United States is also seeking a U.N. mechanism that will levy international sanctions against Haiti’s gang leaders. This week, the U.S sent an elite disaster assistance response team to Port-au-Prince, deployed a major Coast Guard vessel to patrol the Haitian coast and issued visa restrictions on prominent Haitians involved in the violence. On Saturday, flights from both Canada and the U.S. are expected to land at the Port-au-Prince airport carrying critical security assistance, including armed vehicles ordered by the Haitian police, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
This story was originally published October 14, 2022 8:08 PM.
Michael Wilner is McClatchy’s Senior National Security and White House Correspondent. A member of the White House team since 2019, he led coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Wilner previously served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post. He holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.