Security crisis in Haiti: UN Security Council authorises international police mission

Bern, 02.10.2023 - At its meeting today, the UN Security Council authorised the deployment of police forces by third countries to Haiti. The security situation in Haiti is precarious due to high levels of gang-related crime. With this measure, the Security Council seeks to help maintain public safety and protect the population. At its meeting on 6 September, the Federal Council had adopted guidelines for negotiations within the Security Council concerning this resolution.

Haiti is facing a worsening security crisis caused by rampant gang violence. Between January and June 2023 alone, gang members committed over 2,000 homicides. Sexual violence and kidnappings have taken on epidemic proportions. The Haitian national police do not have sufficient resources to contain the escalating violence. Moreover, the humanitarian situation is alarming: according to the FAO, around five million people, almost half of Haiti's population, are facing food insecurity. The threat of famine is looming. Severe flooding caused by torrential rains and an earthquake in June exacerbated the situation.

With its decision of 2 October 2023, the UN Security Council responded to a request from the Haitian government. The UN secretary-general recently issued a report calling on the Security Council to adopt various measures to improve security in Haiti. A key recommendation includes the establishment of a multinational police support mission, which Kenya has agreed to lead. During the negotiations on the resolution, Switzerland advocated in particular for respect for international law and human rights to be guaranteed and for measures to be taken to prevent sexual abuse, and for a monitoring mechanism to be set up in the mission.

On 6 September 2023, the Federal Council gave its preliminary approval for the authorisation of a security support mission for Haiti. It had issued guidelines for the negotiations in New York. In exceptional cases and under certain conditions, the mission should also be able to use force to fulfil its mandate of supporting the local police in restoring public order and security. Based on the modalities agreed between the Federal Council and the foreign policy committees of the National Council and the Council of States to involve Parliament during Switzerland's term on the Security Council, the chairs of the foreign affairs committees were consulted on this matter in accordance with Art. 152 para. 4 of the Parliament Act.

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