Haiti Senate votes against request for foreign forces to stop crisis

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The Senate has approved a resolution urging Prime Minister Dr Ariel Henry to postpone his request calling for international partners to immediately deploy specialised armed force, in sufficient quantity to stop the crisis across the country caused partly by the criminal actions of armed gangs.

In the resolution, adopted over the last weekend, the Assembly of Senators says it “requests the de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry to immediately suspend the execution of the resolution of October 7, 2022”.

The Council of Ministers had on October 7, authorise Prime Minister Henry to “request and obtain from Haiti’s international partners effective support through the immediate deployment of a specialised armed force, in sufficient quantity to stop, throughout the territory, the humanitarian crisis caused, among other things, by the insecurity resulting from the criminal actions of armed gangs and their sponsors”.

Since January this year, the Senate, because of consistent postponements of Haiti’s legislative elections resulted in the 30-seat body being reduced to a third and eight legislators last weekend adopted the resolution that also asks the “political, economic and social forces to grant the benefit of urgency to the discussions in progress in order to reach a sufficient consensus for a lasting exit from the crisis”.

The senators are also urging the Protector of the Citizen “to request the expertise of the main organisations working in the human rights sector in order to obtain, as of now, humanitarian corridors which guarantee the exit of fuel from the terminals” as well as calling on Prime Minister Henry “to grant a reprieve to the implementation of the new fuel prices at the pump” so as to assist the poorest in the nation.

The senators said they will be submitting the resolution “to the Executive for the purposes of promulgation and publication in the official journal of the republic, Le Moniteur”.

On Sunday, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to consider “as of matter of urgency” the request by the Haitian Government for the immediate deployment of an international specialised armed force in the French-speaking Caribbean country.

Guterres said that the force would address the humanitarian crisis, including securing the free movement of water, fuel, food and medical supplies from main ports and airports to communities and health care facilities.

The secretary general on Sunday submitted to the Security Council a letter with options for enhanced security support to Haiti, as requested by the council in its resolution 2645 (2022) and called on Haitian stakeholders to “rise above their differences and to engage, without further delay, in a peaceful and inclusive dialogue on a constructive way forward.

“The United Nations stands by the people of Haiti, and will support efforts to build consensus, reduce violence and promote stability in the country,” he said, adding he “remains gravely concerned about the situation in Haiti,” which is also facing an outbreak of cholera amid a dramatic deterioration in security that has paralysed the country.

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