United States President Joe Biden has called on the United Nations to approve a “security support mission” to Haiti to help the Caribbean nation stem months of surging gang violence.
Speaking during the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on Tuesday, the US president said the people of Haiti cannot wait much longer.
Biden is the only top leader from the five Security Council permanent member states to be in attendance at the high-profile UN event.
In October of last year, Haiti’s de facto leader, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, called on the international community to help set up a “specialized armed force” to quell a surge in gang violence that has disrupted daily life for millions of Haitians.
More than 2,400 people have been killed in Haiti since the start of the year amid rampant gang violence, the UN said earlier this month.
Gangs control roughly 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and violent crimes have soared, including kidnappings for ransom, carjackings, rape and armed theft.
The request for an international mission to Haiti enjoyed the backing of the US and the UN, but a deployment has been stalled for months because no country had agreed to lead such a mission to the country.
Civil society groups also have rejected the prospect of foreign intervention, saying past missions have brought more harm than good, and instead called on countries to bolster the Haitian police force and stem the flow of weapons into the country.