Haiti says it is working on an agreement with Kenya to secure a long-awaited police deployment

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Women and children gather outside a police station after fleeing their homes in Cite Soleil due to gang violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Haiti’s government announced Wednesday that it is working on an official agreement with Kenyan officials to secure the long-awaited deployment of a police force from the east African country.

High-ranking officials from both countries met in the U.S. for three days this week to draft a memorandum of understanding and set a deadline for the arrival of Kenyan police forces. The closed-door meetings included top U.S. officials and were held weeks after a court in Kenya blocked the U.N-backed deployment of police to help Haiti fight a surge in gang violence, saying it is unconstitutional.

It was not immediately clear if or how a memorandum of understanding could circumvent the court’s ruling, which the president of Kenya has said he would appeal.

Haiti’s government said in a statement that there were “intense discussions” to bring a memorandum of understanding into compliance with legislation of both countries.

“A final decision on the text should come early next week as well as its signature by both parties,” Haiti’s government said.

It said the talks also focused on the mission’s operations, logistics and compliance, as well as surveillance, required equipment and human rights issues.

The deployment was requested by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in October 2022 and approved by the U.N. Security Council a year later. But it has since encountered multiple legal obstacles as gang warfare in Haiti’s capital and beyond continues to rise.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk recently noted that more than 800 people were killed, injured or kidnapped across Haiti in January, more than three times the number compared with the same month in 2023.

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