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Kenya’s decision to lead an armed multinational force to Haiti amid brutal gang violence has been criticized by human rights groups. The multinational force, consisting of 1,000 Kenyan police personnel, is expected to combat criminal gangs responsible for a wave of killings, kidnappings, and rape in Haiti. Amnesty International Kenya urged UN member states, human rights organizations, and citizens to thoroughly examine the “human rights and humanitarian implications” of deploying an armed multinational force to Haiti.
Kenya’s police have been criticized for their violent approach to containing demonstrations, with up to 23 people possibly killed during anti-government protests in Kenya. The UN expressed concern about police brutality during the protests in Kenya, but Kenya’s foreign minister Alfred Mutua dismissed the UN’s comment as “inaccurate” but did not provide a figure on the death toll.
The Kenya National Civil Society Center has also opposed the deployment of the country’s police personnel to Haiti, accusing it of “extrajudicial killings.” Kenyan President William Ruto called the outcome of Monday’s vote “overdue” and a critical instrument that will provide a different footprint in the history of international interventions in Haiti. He argued that the decision “marks an important moment in the history of global multilateralism” and enables nations to discharge a collective moral duty of securing justice and security for all peoples of all nations.
However, some Kenyans believe that the mission to Haiti is an “unnecessary risk” and “big gamble” motivated by President Ruto’s move to please the international community. They also express concern that a language barrier and unfamiliar terrain in Haiti might pose a threat to Kenyan security forces.