The Royal Canadian Navy vessels would be deployed to the coast of Haiti in the next few weeks, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, as the island continues to deal with humanitarian and security crises.
At a conference in the Bahamas for the Caribbean bloc, Trudeau said, in his speech, “We are working closely together to help.”
Later he said the main objective of the vessels is to conduct surveillance along with the Canadian aircraft deployed last month and not be used to arrest Haitian migrants.
Trudeau announced sanctions on two unnamed Haitian individuals for gang involvement, making Canada’s sanctioned people to be 17.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared, later Thursday, that the US would enforce visa restrictions on 12 people linked to crimes in Haiti.
While increasing gang violence has led to hundreds of Haitians dead and several displaced, cholera disease resurfaced on the island late last year, adding to the misery.
In October, the United Nations advised a “rapid action force” be deployed to back the national police to tackle armed gangs, which have escalated since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.
A survey conducted in January pointed out that the majority of Haitians are in favour of the proposed force, however, the mishandling of the past missions and support for Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s administration has triggered some doubt.
Over 40 civil society representatives signed an open letter declining any draft resolution approved by Henry’s administration and demanded compensation to families of those who didn’t survive a UN -linked cholera outbreak a decade ago.
UN representative to Haiti, Helen La Lime said she is “still hopeful” the force can be created, fixating on the need for urgency, even though no country has yet volunteered to lead the force.
People expressed their disbelief on Twitter regarding how the deployment of Canadian ships would help in this crisis.