The Question of UN peacekeepers in Haiti
Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti : 2004 – 2017
The UN peacekeepers in Haiti has been a largely controversial issue since The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti ( MINUSTAH ) first began in 2004.
The force is composed of 2,366 military personnel and 2,533 police, supported by international civilian personnel, a local civilian staff and United Nations Volunteers. The force is led by the Brazilian Army and the force commander is Brazilian.
The mission has been blamed for the Cholera outbreak as well as 134 reported sexual abuse allegations.
According to its mandate from the UN Security Council, ‘ MINUSTAH is required to concentrate the use of its resources, including civilian police, on increasing security and protection during the electoral period and to assist with the restoration and maintenance of the rule of law, public safety and public order in Haiti ‘
Justice Boniface Alexandre assumed office as president, which caused political revolt. He appealed to the UN to try and supply forces to control the civilians.
Established Under the United Nations security council resolution 1542 on the 30th of April 2004.
– Leading the UN peacekeepers to enter Cite Soleil
The independent Human Rights organizations deemed the police officers and the Peacekeepers of atrocities placed on the civilians.
– However, some have argued that the results of the atrocities had to do with the fact that the peacekeepers were cracking down on slums.
In early 2005, MINUSTAH force commander Lieutenant-General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira testified at a congressional commission in Brazil declaring that “we are under extreme pressure from the international community to use violence”.
On 14 February 2006, in the Resolution 1658, the United Nations Security Council extended the MINUSTAH mandate until 15 August 2006.
India provided 3 units of around 500 personnel for MINUSTAH in October 2008. They were stationed in Port au Prince and Hinche. With the same task of maintaining law and order, setting up and operating checkpoints and anti-crime operations.
By the Beginning of 2010, it appeared that the UN peacekeepers had done what they needed to do in terms of ending violence. However, due to the earthquake, they had to remain.
The UN peacekeepers officially left in 2017, voted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council.
In Haiti, the roughly 2,300 soldiers are scheduled to leave gradually by October. Seven United Nations police units will remain for an initial period of six months to train Haitian police officers.
The devastating disease killed 9,000 people. It was traced back to the UN peacekeepers base.
Over 800,000 cases were reported.
On August 2016, the UN admitted that they had a role to play in the spread of the disease. MINISTUH had been seen to have caused the disease by Yale law School, the school of public health and the American school of microbiology.
– The UN peacekeepers had built a faulty construction of their sanitation base, which was located in Méyé, civilians had reported that they had seen sewage spills into the artibonite river. This river is was usually user for collecting water, bathing and cooking.
– In February 2013, the Haitian government created its National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera, this was a 10 year plan set to eradicated Cholera. The projected budget for the plan was 2 billion dollars and to support the initiative, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged 23.5 million dollars to combat cholera. However, many people felt as though the UN was not progressing fast enough and 19 members of the U.S. Congress urged the UN to take responsibility for cholera in Haiti.
– On two separate occasions, members of the US Congress sent a letter to the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice urging her and the organization to ensure that the cholera initiative was fully funded and implemented quickly.
– Since 2010, the UN has spent and/or committed more than $140 million to the epidemic.
Most recently, a UN report obtained and revealed by The Associated Press in April documented the sexual exploitation of nine children on the island from 2004-2007 at the hands of at least 134 peacekeepers.
In 2012, two Pakistani soldiers had been arrested for raping a 14 year old mentally challenged boy.
The UN Response
The UN promised to respond to the epidemic with a “set of new rules”. The UN Security General Ban Ki Moon said “the preponderance of the evidence does lead to the conclusion that personnel associated with (a UN peacekeeping) facility were the most likely source”. He further reiterated his disappointment by stating how the outbreak was handed “leaves a blemish on the reputation of UN peacekeeping and the organisation worldwide”.
He created a 400 Million dollar voluntary trust, so that Haiti could receive aid for the Cholera outbreak.
Via a statement in June, the deputy UN secretary general said that “without additional resources, the intensified cholera response and control efforts cannot be sustained throughout 2017 and 2018.
In September, a UN Fund that was aimed at helping sexual abuse victims grew to 1.5 million dollars, with donations from 10 specific countries.