Civil Society Threatens to Sue and Block Govt From Proceeding With Haiti Mission

Kenya Police Officers
A photo showing Kenya Police Officers.
Tom Maruko

The Kenya National Civil Society Centre (KNCSC) has poked holes into President William Ruto’s decision to send Kenyan police officers to restore law and order in Haiti.

According to KNCSC, Kenyan Police officers have in the past been involved in gross misconduct and are therefore not fit to be sent on a peacekeeping mission.

“Notoriety of the Kenya Police Service for human rights violations, including their dubious reputation for extra-judicial and arbitrary executions, and corruption makes them the least qualified for any deployment to Haiti as peace-keepers,” KNCSC stated.

The activist group highlighted instances the police had acted in disregard of the law for instance by using what they termed excessive force during the recent Mass protests.

An armed gang in Haiti.
An armed gang in Haiti.

This, they said, makes Kenyan police unfit to be deployed to the peace keeping mission.

KNCSC urged the UN to reject Kenya’s Haiti's mission on grounds that it does not meet the threshold required to deploy police officers to a peacekeeping mission.

“In any peace-keeping mission, especially by the United Nations, three key inter-related and mutually reinforcing principles apply and must be met by any member-State before any consideration is made for inclusion of their personnel in a peace-keeping mission and subsequent deployment,” KNCSC wrote.

“The three principles are: (1) Consent of the parties; (2) Impartiality; and (3) Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate.”

To make their point, the group referred to one of Haiti's most prominent gang leaders, Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who has warned any potential foreign force sent to the country against committing human rights abuses.

KNCSC claimed that Cherizier's statement is an indicator that Haitians dont approve of Kenya;s mission.

Further, the civil society threatened to sue if the government proceeds with the mission, adding that the UN should ensure any forces deployed to Haiti do not commit human rights violations.

“Should the concerned authorities continue with the deployment plans without any regard to the Constitution and the law, the KNCSC will be left with no other option,” KNCSC declared.

KNCSC's opposition comes at a time when the UN Security Council is preparing to vote on Kenya’s mission to Haiti.

China and Russia had raised concerns about the plan, questioning the size of the Multinational Security Support mission and details on its rules of engagement.

Moreover, China wanted an arms embargo put on the Caribbean country prohibiting the illegal trafficking of heavy artillery into the country.

All eyes are on the council to see how they will especially when several parties are opposing the mission.

Protestors fill the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 20, 2023.
Protestors fill the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 20, 2023.
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