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UN Mission To Haiti Should Send Troops In May


New York, Apr 21 2004 8:57AM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed sending United Nations military and police forces to Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, beginning in the latter half of May as the vanguard of an 8,300-strong United Nations stabilization mission that will take over from the United States-led multilateral interim force (MIF) on 1 June.

“The phased relief of MIF forces in Port-au-Prince and other locations must be carefully coordinated and planned jointly between the MIF and United Nations Force headquarters; this will be followed by the deployment of additional troops to implement the broader range of tasks to be implemented by the United Nations force,” he says in a new report to the Security Council on Haiti and a future UN peacekeeping mission..

The Secretary-General says the multidimensional UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will consist of 6,700 troops, 1,600 civilian police and additional international and local civilian staff, and have an initial mandate of 24 months.

Mr. Annan notes, however, that the situation in the Caribbean country, caught in a cycle of violence and impunity, looks more daunting now than it did when the UN sent earlier assistance missions to the Caribbean country, though positive changes can come about, based on transparency and consensus.

The UN, for its part, previously “failed to develop necessary sustainable partnerships with the Haitian society at all levels,” resulting in increased Haitian alienation, he says.

“Financial aid did not bear fruit to the extent expected because it was at times ill-targeted and did not take into account the deficiencies in local absorptive capacity,” Mr. Annan says.

These experiences have been taken into account in making the latest recommendations, which have been shared with the Haitian authorities, he says.

“The international community should seek to strike the right balance between Haitian ownership, on the one side, and accountability for results, on the other,” Mr. Annan says. “The international community should ensure that Haitian leaders have participated fully in the design of such assistance and assume responsibility for its implementation.”

While welcoming the recent Consensus on the Political Transition Pact that allows Haitian sectoral leaders to design a way forward in this transitional period, he notes, “However, this pact did not include all major political movements, as it could have.”

Prime Minister Gérard Latortue signed the Pact on 4 April on behalf of the 13-member transitional cabinet, as well as by the seven-member council of eminent persons, the leaders of civil society organizations and the representatives of political groups, “with the notable exception of Fanmi Lavalas,” Mr. Annan notes.

Fanmi Lavalas is the political party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced to leave the country on 29 February by the armed insurgency. The report shows that the group has objected to several developments since Mr. Aristide left and the United States-led MIF took up peacekeeping duties, but it is a member of the provisional electoral council.

Most Haitian stakeholders have agreed that municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections will be held before the end of 2005, with an elected President to be sworn in on 7 February 2006, the report says.

The reasons why Haitian authorities have been unable to redress human rights abuses effectively include the weakness of State institutions guaranteeing human rights and the lack of financial resources to pay compensation to victims, the report says.

A National Commission on Truth and Justice, established by Mr. Aristide in 1995, received 6,000 complaints about the 1991-1994 military regime, the report says. The commission’s recommendations in 1996 for institutional reform and reparations for victims, including rape victims who had been given HIV/AIDS, could not be carried out, however, due to lack of funds.

“Without putting an end to impunity, no genuine reconciliation or sustainable social peace can be attained,” Mr. Annan says, urging the international community to support capacity building in such areas as justice, human rights economic development and humanitarian aid.

2004-04-20 00:00:00.000

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