United Nations votes to close Haiti peacekeeping mission

Patrice Gainsbourg
Abril 19, 2017

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged all countries that send troops to UN peacekeeping mission to punish soldiers who commit sexual abuse and exploitation, citing the abuse by Sri Lankan soldiers.

Haley also warned that "countries that refuse to hold their soldiers accountable must recognize that this either stops or their troops will go home and their financial compensation will end".

US ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday that thanks to recent elections in Haiti "the political context is right" for a new and smaller mission.

But the peacekeepers will leave with a tarnished legacy.

"Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed", Rycroft said. And some troops also have been implicated in sexual abuse, including of hungry young children, an issue reported on Wednesday by The Associated Press. Numbers indicate that in the years between 2004 and 2007, around 134 troopers have sexually abused and exploited 9 or more Haitian children. One boy said he slept with as many as 100 soldiers, averaging about four per day.

The United Nations voted to end a stabilizing mission in Haiti shortly after the release of a report documenting allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, raising questions about the short- and long-term security prospects for the impoverished nation.

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It creates a follow-on peacekeeping mission for an initial period of six months comprising 1,275 police who will continue training the national police force. 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.

With the Council's support, said Honoré, the joint transition plan would guide the handover, underpinning the gradual transfer of tasks to the government, the global presence and the United Nations Country Team, thereby allowing Haiti to seize the opportunity to "begin a new chapter in [its] history as the mission transitions".

"We will, however, continue to push for accountability of those troops in Haiti as well as all troop contributing countries involved in peacekeeping efforts", she said.

The dishonoring revelation comes at a sensitive time, as the U.N peacekeeping mission had announced the completion of their assignment in the Caribbean island, stating that the isle has now stable conditions and a promising establishment. Alleged victimizers came from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uruguay and Sri Lanka, according to United Nations data and interviews.

The sexual abuse was just as alarming - involving, in fact, more than 150 allegations. The allegations involved United Nations peacekeepers and other personnel. The next year United Nations soldiers from Pakistan did the same thing. Technically, United Nations does not have a binding on peacekeepers but the accused soldiers were left untouched in their countries.

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