News

Study advises against swift UN exit from Haiti

Friday, August 03, 2012    

Print this page Email A Friend!


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A new report advises against the swift departure of a United Nations mission in Haiti despite debate over the peacekeeping force's eight-year presence.

The International Crisis Group's study released yesterday noted that discussion about the UN peacekeepers' eventual withdrawal has intensified under President Michel Martelly. During his presidential campaign, Martelly had expressed interest in the force's

early departure.

But the Group said the troops shouldn't be forced to leave too soon. It also said the mission should change its focus from peacekeeping to a more political role by reducing the number of troops and creating new priorities, including a focus on development.

"Any abrupt removal of the mission will create a security vacuum and encourage organised crime and violence," the study said. "There is no transition or exit strategy as yet."

The peacekeeping force known by its French acronym as Minustah was established in 2004 after a politically tumultuous period marked by the ouster of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Many Aristide supporters and others have criticised the UN peacekeepers, calling them an occupying force and pointing to their role in several abuse scandals. But others have praised the mission for ensuring two democratic transfers of power and providing stability in the country of about 10 million people.

The report recommended that the UN mission apologise for its likely introduction of a cholera outbreak that surfaced several months after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, and to move quickly to stem the spread of the disease. Cholera has sickened more than half a million Haitians, killing more than 7,000, and souring relations between the mission and the Haitian people.

The non-profit group also advised the Haitian government to put off efforts to re-establish the army until a national consensus has been obtained. As a candidate, Martelly said he hoped to revive Haiti's armed forces, but that idea has been met with opposition since he became president, with some diplomats saying that money should be invested instead in the country's understaffed national police force.

Former Haitian soldiers and their younger supporters, hopeful about the possible return of the army, seized several former military barracks and other public facilities earlier this year. Police and the UN closed the de facto military bases

in May.

ADVERTISEMENT

POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Should the next Police Commissioner be recruited from overseas?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT