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Anti-gang task force agreement with Kenya in the works, Haitian government says

anti-gang-task-force-agreement-with-kenya-in-the-works,-haitian-government-says
Anti-gang task force agreement with Kenya in the works, Haitian government says

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.

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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.

Prime Minister of Haiti addresses United Nations General Assembly

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 22, 2023. (LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images)

“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.

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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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