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Yesterday and today, the head of Haiti’s National Police (PNH) Frantz Elbe and Justice Minister Emmelie Prophète met at Ft. McNair in Washington, D.C., with officials from the U.S., Kenya, and “other countries,” to discuss the deployment of the proposed multinational security mission of Kenyan police to Haiti to combat violent gangs. The Miami Herald yesterday quoted White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby explaining: “We look forward to seeing where we can get. But the idea, really, is to start to set out the general parameters of what that multinational security force could look like, and how it would operate. It’s an entry-level discussion. I have no doubt there will be follow-on discussions as appropriate.”

This is the first such meeting to take place since Kenya’s High Court ruled on Jan. 26 to prohibit the police deployment out of the country, on grounds that it violated the Constitution. The ruling caused high anxiety in the Biden administration, which had arranged the Kenyan deployment as an alternative to sending white U.S. or Canadian troops to deal with Haiti’s extraordinary security situation. Since Jan. 26, Kenyan, Haitian, and U.S. officials have been huddling to find a way around the court ruling to ensure that the police deployment can take place.

Amidst horrific violence, gang warfare, indiscriminate killings, and wanton destruction, which parallel the brutality of what Israel is doing in Gaza, pinning hopes on 1,000-2,000 Kenyan police, plus some number more from small Caribbean and African countries, is fantasy-ridden at best. As the Miami Herald reported, one Haitian is killed every two hours, 17 wounded a day, 40 kidnapped a month. Since last October, when the UN Security Council agreed to send a multinational security force to Haiti, armed gangs have killed, kidnapped, or injured at least 3,425 people, including children. According to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Volker Türk, January was the most violent month in two years, with 1,100 deaths, killings, kidnappings and injuries. For all of 2023, the death toll was a little under 5,000 people; if nothing changes, 2024 will exceed that.

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