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Canada to deploy Navy vessels to Haiti as violence worsens


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday at an annual meeting of Caribbean leaders that his government will deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels to Haiti to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence in upcoming weeks.

The move comes shortly after a Canadian Armed Forces surveillance plane returned from a similar assignment in Haiti, which is battling a surge in killings, rapes and kidnappings blamed on gangs that have become more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

“Right now, Haiti is confronted with unrelenting gang violence, political turmoil and corruption,” Trudeau said at a Caricom meeting in the Bahamas where leaders of the 15-member trade bloc were gathered.

Also attending the meeting was Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who in October had requested the immediate deployment of foreign troops, a plea that the U.N. Security Council has yet to address.

“Now is the moment to come together to confront the severity of this situation,” Trudeau said, adding that Canada and Haiti’s neighbors need to work on long-lasting solutions to help restore order and security, allow for essential aid to flow and create the conditions for free and fair elections.

Trudeau also announced that his government would invest an additional $12.3 million in humanitarian assistance and another $10 million to support the International Office on Migration to protect Haitian women and children along the border that Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, which has deported tens of thousands of Haitian migrants and those of Haitian ancestry in the past year.

“The toll of human suffering in Haiti weighs heavily on me,” Trudeau said.

Earlier on Thursday, Trudeau met behind closed doors with Henry, who told reporters that he urgently wants Haiti to hold elections despite the worsening insecurity.