Monday, September 19, 2011
NEW YORK, USA (CMC) — The United States is calling on the United Nations to keep its peacekeeping troops in Haiti even as it note that strong rules of engagement will be important to deal with a stable but fragile security situation in the French speaking country.
In an article in the Herald Tribune, the US Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, said Washington supports the renewal of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) mandate for another year under broadly the same terms as the 2010 mandate.
“MINUSTAH has been working tirelessly in Haiti to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, and to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights.
“MINUSTAH has provided vital security and logistical support during presidential and legislative elections, supported programs designed to strengthen the rule of law, and conducted capacity building work with the Haitian National Police (HNP) through the 2006 HNP Reform Plan.
“The United States commends the UN role in previous elections, and underscores the importance of UN assistance with the next round of partial national and local elections in Haiti”.
Last week, Haitian demonstrators took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of the UN troops in the wake of the alleged sexual assault on an 18-year-old man by Uruguayan solders.
They have also accused Nepalese soldiers of being responsible for the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 5,000 people in Haiti since the first case was detected in October last year.
In recent weeks, President Michael Martelly has also been seeking a reduction in the number of UN troops in the country.
DeLaurentis said that the United States supports the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon’s recommended reduction of two infantry battalions and the reduction in authorized strength of the formed police unit (FPU) personnel, but notes that strong rules of engagement for the remaining MINUSTAH forces will be important to deal with a stable but fragile security situation in Haiti.
“The United States believes that any determination of the future size of MINUSTAH forces must be based on security conditions on the ground. We commend the work of the UN security assessment team, which lead to these recommendations, and express our hope for continued progress in Haiti,” he wrote.
DeLaurentis said Washington also agrees with the Secretary-General’s finding that the Haitian National Police has improved in some respects, but is not yet in a position to assume full responsibility for the provision of internal security.
“The UN and the HNP jointly need to develop a new iteration of the HNP Reform Plan of 2006 and encourage Haitian ownership and leadership of the reform effort.”
“We urge the authorities in Haiti to reach agreement to appoint women and men of demonstrated integrity and competence to cabinet positions.
“The United States urges the authorities in Haiti to fulfill their pledge to fill all the six vacancies at the Cour de Cassation (the Supreme Court) by October 3, 2011. This pledge by the Haitian President must be fulfilled in order to enable the judiciary in Haiti to function.”