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Canadian Forces personnel deployed to Jamaica to train troops for Haiti mission | Radio-Canada News

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Approximately 70 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) were deployed to Jamaica on Friday to train military personnel from several Caribbean countries who are heading to Haiti as part of a multinational security force led by Kenya and supported by the Nations United.

Canadian personnel will provide training in basic peacekeeping and combat first aid skills to troops from Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas – member countries of the Caribbean economic and political bloc known as the CARICOM – the FAC said in a joint press release with the Ministry of National Defense. Defense Saturday.

CARICOM troops are expected to help support the Haitian National Police in their efforts to restore security to the population in Haiti, the statement said.

The Canadian-led training mission, known as Operation HELIOS, will take place at the CAF Operational Support Center in Jamaica.

The Canadian deployment will last an initial period of one month, during which the CAF expects to train approximately 330 CARICOM troops, the statement said. The Canadian personnel deployed mainly come from the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment in Valcartier, Quebec.

“Canada is stepping up its important contributions to Haiti’s security. We will continue to support Haitian-led efforts to build stability,” National Defense Minister Bill Blair said in the statement.

“Cataclysmic” situation in Haiti

Haiti’s gang wars have intensified in recent weeks with heavily armed rivals unleashing new waves of attacks, including raids on police stations and the international airport.

More than 1,500 people have been killed so far this year in the ensuing violence, a report from the UN human rights office said Thursday, describing the “cataclysmic” situation in Haiti.

A woman with her hand over her mouth and nose walks down a street near a burning tire.
A woman walks past burning tires during a protest following the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 12. (Clarens Siffroy/AFP/Getty Images)

The report shows 4,451 killings last year and 1,554 so far this year, through March 22, as violence has escalated. Some people have been killed in their homes in retaliation for their alleged support of the police or rival gangs. Others were killed in the streets by snipers or in crossfire, according to the UN report. One of the victims was a three-month-old baby.

Armed brigades filling the security vacuum left by police lynched 528 people suspected of being linked to gangs last year and 59 so far this year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said. man.

“The recent escalation of violence has increased human rights violations, including killings, kidnappings and rape, particularly against women and girls,” the report said in its conclusions, calling on States to support the rapid deployment of a UN-backed international security force. force.

Canadian participation

Approximately 3,000 Canadians are registered in Haiti, according to Global Affairs Canada (GAC). With airports and roads under gang control, leaving the country has been a challenge.

GAC released an update Thursday that 50 Canadians have been evacuated from the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, to the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The department has now helped 132 Canadian citizens reunite with their families, the release said.

WATCH | Dozens of Canadians evacuated by helicopter from the Haitian capital:

50 Canadians evacuated from Haiti as violence continues

Fifty Canadian citizens have been evacuated by helicopter from Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince to the neighboring Dominican Republic as gang violence continues to wreak havoc on the streets.

In addition to efforts to get Canadians out safely, Canada is contributing $80.5 million to the multinational security force but says it will not send soldiers or police to participate directly.

A very small number of RCMP officers are currently deployed to Haiti, primarily for training purposes. Their number fluctuates; The terms of the deployment allow up to 45 RCMP members to be in Haiti at a time, but their current strength is in the single digits.

The soldiers and police officers making up the multinational security force will come from Kenya, Benin, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados and some other Caribbean island nations. Kenya will take the lead and be the first to deploy.

The Kenyan-led mission is not a United Nations operation but was authorized by the UN Security Council in October. The Haitian government has requested the mission in 2022.

Since then, she has faced numerous legal obstacles, including a January court ruling in Kenya that blocked the deployment of Kenyan police officers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada will continue to work with the international community to support Haitian-led solutions to the crisis in Haiti.

“We will continue to collaborate with Haitian stakeholders, CARICOM and international partners to strengthen the security and justice sectors, as well as to protect the people of Haiti and encourage Haitian-led efforts to restore peace , public order and prosperity in the country. ” Joly said in Saturday’s press release.

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