The U.N. Mission in Haiti Has a Fighting Chance

The U.N. Mission in Haiti Has a Fighting Chance
Police officers take cover during an anti-gang operation in the Lalue neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 3, 2023 (AP photo by Odelyn Joseph).

Last week, a controversial proposal passed the United Nations Security Council establishing a multinational armed mission to Haiti led by Kenya. Despite the concerns of skeptics that this will simply be the latest of a series of botched multilateral interventions there, Haiti’s current security crisis is precisely the kind of situation where a mission like the one envisioned can have an outsized value in promoting human security. Still, whether it can live up to its full potential will depend on a number of factors yet to be determined: the mission mandate, personnel numbers and funding, a planned endgame and—importantly—appropriate benchmarks for judging success in order to maintain political will.

At first blush, it’s easy to see why many Haitians view news of the soon-to-arrive force with a glimmer of hope. Their arrival is meant to buttress the government in its fight against violent gangs, which have killed around 3,000 civilians in the past year and kidnapped, raped or forcibly displaced tens of thousands of others. An infusion of foreign security forces is also meant to support the Haitian police in tamping down vigilante violence by civilians who have taken to attacking accused gang members in their own right, often lynching and burning them in the streets.

At the same time, despite calls for help by Haiti itself for the past year, the U.N. has been slow to agree to authorize the force. Haitian-American organizations have been some of the biggest opponents of a U.S.-led mission, due to past U.S. interventions that seemed to make things worse. Some Haitians feared any new mission would simply prop up an unelected leader, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, without a reasonable prospect of durable peace. And even previous U.N. missions to Haiti have been marred by scandal and viewed by some as ineffective.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.