UNITED NATIONS, Oct 1 (AFP) - The UN Security Council will decide on Monday whether to endorse an international force to back Haiti's police as they battle entrenched criminal gangs, according to a published agenda.
For the past year, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have called for such a force to address the country's spiraling security crisis.
But given the challenges faced by past peacekeeping efforts in Haiti and the risks of sending an outside force into today's quagmire, finding a country willing to lead the effort has been difficult.
However, Kenya announced in late July that it was ready to take on the lead-nation role and deploy a 1,000-strong force to the impoverished Caribbean country.
The United States, which has expressed willingness to provide logistical support but no boots on the ground, indicated last month that several other countries were prepared to contribute to a multinational security force.
Those countries include Jamaica, the Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda.
Following weeks of internal debate over an appropriate mandate, Security Council members on Monday will decide whether to give their blessing to such a mission -- which would not be under UN control.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly in mid-September, Prime Minister Henry again implored the international community to provide "urgent" aid to his nation.
A recent UN report from the secretary-general's office said Haiti's multiple crises had grown worse over the past year.
The report said violence by the gangs who control much of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince and some areas beyond, had become more intense and more brutal.
It described gangs using rape as a weapon; snipers on rooftops terrorizing local residents; and even people being burned alive -- but also said ordinary Haitians had begun forming self-defense units to fight back.
The report said nearly 2,800 murders had been tallied between October 2022 and June 2023, including 80 killings of minors.
The violence has been aggravated by an illicit arms trade, largely coming from the United States.
China, which holds a Security Council veto, has previously expressed skepticism about an international security mission. It has instead emphasized a need to crack down on the arms flow from Florida.
Photo from UN