Kenya roots for unified approach to calm ailing Haiti at UNGA summit

President William Ruto chats with Ms Mette Frederiksen Prime Minister of Denmark at United Nation Headquarters in New York, USA. [PCS]

President William Ruto has re-affirmed Kenya’s leadership on global peace and security at the just concluded 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

And stabilisation of Haiti featured heavily in most official deliberations with Kenya getting a mention at every stage as one of the nations, providing leadership.

In his address, President Ruto said Kenya will play its part fully in search of solutions to the Haiti crisis. “Kenya stands in solidarity with all humanity, without regard to region or border or hemisphere. This is why, and how we see the people of the Republic of Haiti, suffering immensely from the bitter legacy of slavery, colonialism, sabotage and neglect,” he said.

He added: “As a nation forced to wage a painful struggle for our independence and sovereignty, Kenya empathises deeply with the humiliation of a proud people, and the price they have had to pay for their hunger for liberty, and the sorrow they have endured for their thirst for freedom.”

He said Kenya believes Haiti is the ultimate test of international solidarity and collective action, and noted that the international community has failed this test so far, arguing that Haiti deserves better from the world.

“The cry of our brothers and sisters, who were the first people to win their struggle for freedom from colonial tyranny, has reached our ears and touched our hearts,” Ruto told the General Assembly.

Kenya’s engagement with the Haiti situation took a significant step forward when a high powered fact-finding mission was dispatched to the Caribbean nation. The mission, composed of diplomats, humanitarian experts and security personnel, was to assess the situation on the ground and gather crucial information to inform Kenya’s approach at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Haiti is recovering from political instability, a devastating earthquake, and ongoing humanitarian challenges. The mission identified security concerns, including gang violence and lawlessness, as major obstacles to stability and recovery. These issues have hindered delivery of aid and reconstruction efforts. The mission highlighted the limited access of the Haitian population to basic services, including clean water, sanitation and electricity.  

Kenya is advocating increased international humanitarian aid and has proposed a greater role for UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti. “Inaction is no longer an option. As we mobilise to show up for Ukraine, and countries that have experienced climate shocks including Libya, Morocco and Hawaii, we must not leave Haiti behind,” said Ruto.

Kenya urged the UN to urgently deliver an appropriate framework to facilitate deployment of multi-national security support as part of a holistic response to Haiti’s challenges.

The US is expected to table a UN Security Council Resolution to authorise deployment of a Police Team from Kenya. The US delegation is also expected to table a resolution that will give mandate and oversight the deployment to Haiti.

At the summit, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS Alfred Mutua held talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on the Haiti issue. Kenya and Haiti also signed agreements paving way for exchange of ambassadors.

Dr Mutua said while an international approach was crucial in the search for peace in Haiti, Haitian-led solutions must be at the forefront.