US Politicians Write to Secretary Antony Blinken Over Conduct of Kenyan Police


Six members of the United States Congress have opposed the move by their government to support a Kenya-led multinational security mission to Haiti.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, the members questioned why the US would support the Kenyan security forces who have a history of violating human rights.

They referenced the 2023 mass action organised by the Azimio coalition, where up to 23 people died during the demonstration.

“Earlier in 2023, the Kenyan security forces killed up to 23 people during demonstrations in Kenya, raising concerns with both the UN, Kenya National Civil Society Centre and Amnesty International, Kenya around police brutality,” the six Congress members stated.

US State Secretary Antony J. Blinken in an image taken on August 25, 2021.

Photo

US Embassy

“The Kenya National Civil Society Centre has opposed the deployment of Kenyan security forces to Haiti, accusing them of ‘extrajudicial killings’.”

The six Congress members comprise Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts 7th congressional district), Yvette Clarke (9th District of New York), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan 12th congressional district), Barbara Lee (California 12th congressional district), Jan Schakowsky (Illinois 9th congressional district) and James McGovern (Massachusetts 2nd congressional district).

Further, the Congress members pointed out that the process lacked clear objectives and strategy, adding that another armed foreign intervention in Haiti would destabilise the country.

“With the absence of clear objectives for this mission, we strongly believe that funding this security operation in tandem with continued support for the de facto Haitian authorities is a misguided strategy that may have catastrophic repercussions for the Haitian people.”

The members detailed that Prime Minister Ariel Henry requested foreign support to address a gang-led operation that had blocked fuel terminals in the country.

They added that Haitian authorities had already recovered the main fuel terminals and thus an armed foreign intervention would enforce Henry’s powers, whom they termed as an illegitimate leader.

Instead, the US Congress members called for a transitional process that would pave the way for a Haitian-led solution.

“The State Department should not override the will of the Haitian people – it is clear that a transitional government is the only viable path forward for Haiti to return to stability and democracy,” the Congress members opined.

Following the pledge by President William Ruto’s administration to deploy over 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti, the US announced that it would donate Ksh14.7 billion in support. Interior CS Kithure Kindiki later revealed that the whole operation would cost Ksh90 billion. 

The High Court, however, stopped the peacekeeping mission, arguing that the Constitution only allows members of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to be deployed outside Kenya.

In a rejoinder, President Ruto defiantly confirmed that the country would go ahead with the planned deployment in a bilateral agreement with Haiti. 

President William Ruto meets leaders of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

PCS





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