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Six US congress members reject Ruto plans to send police officers to Haiti

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 02:22 | By
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. PHOTO/Print
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. PHOTO/Print

A bid by the government of Kenya to deploy police officers to quell gang violence in Haiti could suffer a fresh blow after six members of the US Congress expressed strong reservations on the role of the Government of the US in the authorisation of the mission.

This disapproval from US lawmakers comes after a recent decision by the High Court to reject the plan to send police officers to Haiti throwing into doubt the future of an initiative.

The congress members have claimed that the deployment and support of the US in the mission lack clear objectives.

Foreign intervention

In a letter to Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, dated December 8, 2023, the six members - Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district); Yvette D. Clarke (9th District of New York); Rashida Tlaib (Michigan’s 12th congressional district); Barbara Lee (California’s 12th congressional district); Jan Schakowsky (Illinois’ 9th congressional district); and James P McGovern (Massachusetts’s 2nd congressional district), the six congress members claim that that Kenya’s intervention in Haiti will destabilise the country further.

“Another armed foreign intervention in Haiti risks destabilising the country further”, and “will not result in the necessary Haitian-led transition to a democratic government,” the lawmakers claim.

The Congress members say they are disturbed by the decision to deploy Kenyan security forces, who have a well-documented record of violating human rights” adding that “earlier last year, the Kenyan security forces killed up to 23 people during demonstrations in Kenya, raising concerns with both the UN, Kenya National Civil Society Centre (KNCSC) and Amnesty International, Kenya around police brutality.”

The US lawmakers also rely on reports from Kenyan civil societies on police brutality to back their claims. “The KNCSC has opposed the deployment of Kenyan security forces to Haiti, accusing them of “extrajudicial killings”, the six Congress members added.

On October 2, the KNCSC issued a statement in which the organisation strongly opposed plans to deploy a contingent of the Kenya Police Service (KPS) to Haiti as peace-keepers on account of KPS’s dubious reputation for human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, excessive use of force and their seemingly irredeemable penchant for bribe-taking.

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