UN votes to end Haiti peacekeeping mission in October

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On 14 April 2017 saa 10:43
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Security Council unanimously votes to replace 2004 mission with a smaller police-only force as stability emerges.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti and replace it with a smaller police.

The move signals the international community believes the impoverished Caribbean nation is stabilising after successful elections.

The peacekeeping mission - one of the longest-running in the world and known as MINUSTAH - has been dogged by controversy, including the introduction of cholera to the island by UN troops that killed thousands of Haitians, as well as sexual abuse claims against them.

The 15-member Security Council acknowledged the completion of Haiti’s presidential election, along with the inauguration of its new president, as a "major milestone towards stabilisation" in the Caribbean country.

"What we now need is a newly configured mission which is focused on the rule of law and human rights in Haiti," British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said.

"Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed," Rycroft said.

The shutdown of the $346m mission, recommended by UN chief Antonio Guterres, comes as the United States looks to cut its funding of UN peacekeeping.

The US is the largest contributor paying 28.5 percent of the total budget.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the decision to downsise may be because of American pressure to save money.

"The US has been demanding that the UN become leaner and meaner in its operation, and has at times threatened to withhold some of the massive funding that it gives the organisation," Hanna said.

There are 2,342 UN troops in Haiti, who will withdraw over the coming six months.

The new mission will be established for an initial six months, from October 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018, and is projected to exit two years after its establishment. It will be a police force of about 1,000 personnel.

The 15-member Security Council acknowledged the completion of Haiti’s presidential election, along with the inauguration of its new president, as a "major milestone towards stabilisation" in the Caribbean country.

"What we now need is a newly configured mission which is focused on the rule of law and human rights in Haiti," British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said.

"Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed," Rycroft said.

The shutdown of the $346m mission, recommended by UN chief Antonio Guterres, comes as the United States looks to cut its funding of UN peacekeeping.

The US is the largest contributor paying 28.5 percent of the total budget.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the decision to downsise may be because of American pressure to save money.

"The US has been demanding that the UN become leaner and meaner in its operation, and has at times threatened to withhold some of the massive funding that it gives the organisation," Hanna said.

There are 2,342 UN troops in Haiti, who will withdraw over the coming six months.

The new mission will be established for an initial six months, from October 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018, and is projected to exit two years after its establishment. It will be a police force of about 1,000 personnel.

JPEG - 61.5 kb
The 13-year UN mission began when violence erupted after president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s departure

Source:Al Jazeera


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