UN’s Ban Ki-Moon backs reducing Haiti force

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (AFP/File, Nicholas Kamm)


PARIS — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that he would like to see the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force in Haiti gradually reduced in size as the country stabilizes after a devastating 2010 earthquake.

In a pre-recorded interview due to be broadcast by RFI radio and TV5 Monde on Sunday, Ban also apologised for a recent sexual assault carried out by UN peacekeepers in the country, branding it “totally unacceptable.”

Frustration at MINUSTAH’s performance has been mounting in Haiti, and has been compounded by public anger over the rape case and reports linking a deadly cholera outbreak to raw sewage leaking from a UN base.

“I think it is an appropriate time for us to do a gradual drawdown of MINUSTAH, so that this role can be handled by Haitian people,” Ban said, while adding that this would be discussed with the Haitian government.

Ban praised the “important role” played by MINUSTAH since 2004, when it was deployed to disarm militias that sprang up when the army was disbanded, but added: “I can also understand the frustrations of the Haitian people.”

The MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Force in Haiti) mandate expires on October 15, at which point the UN Security Council will take up its future.

It currently comprises over 8,700 soldiers and 3,500 police.

Speaking on the sidelines of a UN Security Council meeting on Haiti, MINUSTAH chief Mariano Fernandez said the force would drop to a total of 9,450 soldiers and police from the current level.

“The Haitian people have showed great force and determination that should be applauded despite facing so many challenges and catastrophes of all sorts,” Fernandez said.

“The force reduction should be replaced by greater emphasis on the quality and specialization of police,” he added, noting the need for the creation of a top-flight police academy.

But Fernandez also stressed that the humanitarian situation in Haiti, where 640,000 people still live in temporary camps, “remains a concern.”

After the January 2010 earthquake, the number of MINUSTAH personnel grew from 9,000 to 12,250.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, who commands the military force in Haiti, agreed that the conditions were “ripe for us to return to the pre-earthquake troop level.”

Speaking in an interview with the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, he said the outcome of elections held earlier this year had shown a “stable environment” was developing in the country.

Five Uruguayan peacekeepers have been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man in the small coastal town of Port-Salut. They returned to Montevideo on Friday, local media reported.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to his Haitian counterpart, Michel Martelly, for the “abuse” and vowed to apply the “maximum punishment” to those responsible.

Haitian youths led violent protests Wednesday in Port-au-Prince demanding the withdrawal of MINUSTAH peacekeepers amid outrage over the sex scandal.


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2 thoughts on “UN’s Ban Ki-Moon backs reducing Haiti force

  1. Gouvenman Ayiti a dwe prepare yon pwogram sevis milite obligatwa pou peyi a.Tout moun dwe fe sevis milite ak sevis kominote kelkeswa laj ou genyen.Yo dwe afekte chak moun nan yon aktivite pwodiktif selon kapasite ak aptitid ou.Konsa, rebati peyi a va fet pi fasil.

    Lame nap pale la a, se pa menm ko lame kalewes nou te genyen nan peyi a anvan an.Fanm tankou gason dwe pote kole pou nou monte yon rejim milite disipline ak pwodiktif. Se pa moun zafe pabon ki pou fe pati lame sa a selman, se tout moun k ap viv nan peyi a.Moun rich tankou moun pov.

    Leta peyi a dwe prepare manm lame a pou yo retounen nan lavi sivil yo avek yon metye.Konsa, nou va prepare yo pou yo vin: Ponpye,sekouris,enjenye, achitek,medsen, avoka,agrikilte, mekanisyen,jesyone,antreprene,mason, chapantye,plonbye,eksetera era.

    Milite nou yo ki vle devni pwofesyonel kapab kontinye etidye lar milite wpi yo kapab pemet peyi a entegre fos nasyozini menm jan avek tout lot peyi yo, paske Ayiti se manm entegral nasyonzini.

    Annou kale je nou pou nou pran avantaj kare bare tankou tout ;ot nasyon yo.Nou pa kapab ab vote pou rezolisyon kap pase nan nasyonzini epi pou ap sibi tout efe nagatif yo selman. Jou a rive pou nou reklame dwa nou.

  2. We need a military that can both help with natural desasters. Trained as intellectual professtional. BUT, we need to train them to fight a WAR also! Why? Because we cant tell the freakin future. you cant say “we are not going to war.” I hope we dont but we have nieghboring contries that arent friends… So to speak….. We dont know who may become an enemy. If we manage to fix our economy things may change between us and other contries around us, and it may not be for the better. god forbid if we ever had to defend ourselves it would be extremely embarrassing that the first black republic in the world would have to rely on the united nations or the U.S to the defend them. let me tell you guys something government in the world… in the caribbean also are not written in stone. they may change we do not know when a radical government near by may rise and if one does rise we must be able to defend ourselves if we need to do so. So we dont need a bunch of illiterate/useless brute but we need an obeying, well trained in vocational skills/ intellectual skill millitary that can also be extremely brutal to a foreign occupation. And army that can prevent its contry from an invasion, rape, and mass killing. We dont know so we need to be ready for all not just natural desasters. Man is also a desaster to man if not controlled. and also another thing the U.N & u.s may not help us. They might just send humanitarian aid and that is not a military back up similar to georgia and russia they did not help. Now if the UN is backing a cut-back in troop that mean they are not leaving after their contract is over on Oct12 they will renew it, Haiti will keep paying them and the people will suffer.

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