The United Nations Security Council has issued three firm conditions to the Kenya Police before its deployment to Haiti in an effort to foster accountability and reassure human rights activists who opposed the mission.
On Monday, 13 out of 15 countries of the governing body authorised the deployment of Kenya Police to lead a multinational security task force in restoring peace in the gang-controlled Caribbean nation.
Russia and China abstained from voting as the duo advocated for other diplomatic measures rather than the use of force.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned that the UN would be keenly following the mission to ensure Kenya's police respects and upholds human rights. The foreign troops deployed to Haiti will thus be vetted, monitored and held accountable for any grievances raised in line with the mission.
Vetting will ensure that the police meet the standards required for international peacekeeping missions while monitoring their activities will aid the UN in identifying gaps that ought to be addressed instantly and aid the forces in adjusting their strategies.
With activists accusing Kenya Police of human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, it was thus imperative for the UN to create a sense of accountability and transparency.
“The Kenyans have participated in international peacekeeping forces before; they come with a lot of experience, but they also know that we will take the vetting responsibilities very, very seriously and that the monitoring and accountability will be seriously looked at as we work to put this force on the ground,” Greenfield declared.
UN's guidelines were also issued in line with botched previous international interventions in Haiti, which led to both a cholera outbreak and horrific sexual abuse attributed to peacekeepers.
“We have learned from the mistakes of the past, and this is an opportunity to address a strong call from the Haitian people, this time around, for the international community’s support,” Greenfield reassured.
Further, the ambassador explained that the 1,000 Kenyan police will be collaborating with the Haitian Police to restore stability and security to the Caribbean country. The peacekeepers will be supported financially and logistically by the US as well as other UN countries.
Earlier, the Kenya National Civil Society Centre (KNCSC) urged the UN to revoke the deployment of Kenya Police to Haiti, citing impunity, human rights violations, extra-judicial and arbitrary executions and corruption.
According to the group, the accusations made the troop unfit for any peacekeeping mission. The civil society further threatened to seek an injunction against the deployment should the government proceed with the mission.
However, pro-government politicians claimed that the police sent to Haiti were highly trained and capable of quelling the Haitian gangs.
“I know Kenyans have made a joke out of this and many think the police who are going there are traffic policemen. Kenya has special armed forces. There is absolutely no problem whatsoever we must put our country in the global arena at least for the good things. I totally support it," Belgut MP Nelson Koech stated.
“Our officers have encountered gangs before they are properly trained for that," he added.
- . . . . .