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UN votes to establish political mission in Haiti

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN Security Council approved a resolution Tuesday establishing a political mission in Haiti starting October 16 that will officially replace all UN peacekeeping activities in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

The vote on the US-drafted resolution was 13-0, with Haiti's neighbour, the Dominican Republic, and China abstaining. The council's action followed its unanimous vote April 12 to end Haitian peacekeeping operations October 15.

UN military peacekeepers left the country on October 15, 2017, after 13 years. But a stabilisation mission has stayed behind to train national police, help the government strengthen judicial and legal institutions, and monitor human rights.

The resolution authorises the political mission to advise Haiti's government “in promoting and strengthening political stability and good governance”, including promoting the rule of law, supporting an inclusive national dialogue and protecting and promoting human rights.

Acting US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen called adoption of the resolution “a historic moment”, saying the transition from a peacekeeping to a political mission demonstrates “that as conditions on the ground evolve the UN's presence can — and should — change to reflect these new realities.”

A successful transition, he said, will depend in large part on the Haitian government's assumption of responsibilities for a range of issues including professionalising the national police, reducing community and gang violence, protecting human rights, improving prison facilities and reforming the justice system.

This month, thousands of protesters denouncing corruption have been demanding the removal of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. A Senate investigation recently determined at least 14 former government officials allegedly misused US$3.8 billion under the administration of former President Michel Martelly.

France's deputy UN ambassador, Anne Gueguen, told the council that “the political instability, the deterioration of the economic situation and the worrying state of public finances in the country, food insecurity, difficulty in accessing basic services, as well as heightened levels of violence indeed remain sources of concern.”

The political mission will begin its work in difficult conditions, Gueguen said, “and unfortunately there are fears that the already volatile situation could further deteriorate in the coming months and weeks.”

France, Germany, Peru, the Dominican Republic and other council members expressed regret that the resolution recognises “the adverse effects of natural disasters on the stability of Haiti” but makes no mention of climate change.


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