“Dawn Of A New Era” Haiti’s New PM Promises The UN.

Photo: AFP. Kenyan riot cops kitted out for action.
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Haiti’s latest unelected Prime Minister assured the international community Wednesday that his violence-plagued nation is at the “dawn of a new era,” and said that he was sure that a Kenyan-led international police mission would help to pacify the armed gangs that have taken over the impoverished Caribbean nation.

“Our country is at a crucial turning point in our history,” Prime Minister Garry Conille told a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Haiti. “We find ourselves facing a huge challenge but also an excellent opportunity to restore peace and security in our nation.”

He said 12,000 armed gang members are holding Haiti’s population of 12 million people hostage, and he welcomed the arrival on June 25 of the first police contingent from Kenya. It will lead a multination security support mission of about 2,500 police officers expected to deploy to help Haiti’s police stabilize the country.

“We will restore our territory house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood,” Conille said. “This isn’t just a security operation; it is a renaissance of the national spirit.”

Conille, 58, a physician and former UNICEF and international development official, was elected in May by the Presidential Transitional Council to lead the transitional government and took up his post on June 3.

“At this decisive juncture, no project, be it economic or political, can be tackled without addressing the security issue,” he said, acknowledging the many challenges facing the new government.The latest U.N. report on Haiti, issued last Thursday, says gang intimidation and attacks have displaced 578,000 people, mostly in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince, with the majority fleeing to rural areas in the south and north.

Murders are up significantly. The U.N. political mission in Haiti, known as BINUH, said in the first five months of this year, 3,252 people have been killed — an increase of 800 people over the last five months of 2023. Kidnappings are also high, with nearly 1,000 abductions between January and May 2024.

At least 80% of Port -au-Prince is no longer under the control of the Haitian authorities, and violence is spreading to other parts of the country. The Haitian National Police, or HNP, have been targeted and attacked, and 20 officers have been killed so far this year. Gangs also have demolished three police stations and three prisons.

The humanitarian situation is equally bleak. Nearly 5 million Haitians are in emergency or worse levels of food insecurity, and more than 275,000 children under age 5 are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of this year.

The United States is the largest funder of the multinational security support force — also known as the MSS — having pledged more than $300 million focused on logistics, equipment and training.

“The Haitian people deserve, at long last, to live in peace — to go to work, school or a house of worship without the threat of violence,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in the council.

In helping restore security to Haiti, the MSS will also be helping to create conditions for the holding of credible elections. Haiti hopes to hold them no later than February 2026.

The multinational security support mission has been beset with delays, including court challenges in Kenya and a shortage of funding.

Haiti has been in turmoil since the July 7, 2021, assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his home in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville. Armed gangs now control much of the capital and have spread to other parts of the country, where they have carried out massacres, kidnappings, human trafficking and sexual violence.

Source: VOA.
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