UN votes to close, replace Haiti peacekeeping mission

A pick up truck with U.N. peacekeepers patrol an area affected by Hurrican Matthew in Jeremie

A pick up truck with U.N. peacekeepers patrol an area affected by Hurrican Matthew in Jeremie

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti and replace it with a smaller police, which would be drawn down after two years as the country boosts its own force.

The resolution will create a follow-on peacekeeping mission for six months to be known as MINUJUSTH comprising 1,275 police who will continue training the national police force.

The United States is now reviewing the U.N.'s 16 far-flung peacekeeping operations to assess costs and effectiveness and Haley told the Security Council that thanks to recent elections in Haiti "the political context is right" for a new and smaller mission. Some 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 sickened. Despite a "zero tolerance" policy and the repatriation of offenders, the inability to stop often poorly trained and ill-disciplined troops from abusing civilians has been a major stain on the U.N.'s credibility and reputation.

"We ought to have a very strong police oversight capacity, to address not only issues of human rights violations and the excessive use of force by police officers, but also questions of corruption among the staff", he said.

The scandal-struck United Nations peacekeeper mission in Haiti is to be wrapped up by mid-October, 2017.

British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said, "we strongly support the ending of this mission turning it into something else".

She said worldwide support, including from the United Nations, will be needed to enable the national police "to eventually provide security for all Haitian citizens".

MINUSTAH has been working in Haiti since violence and upheaval broke out in the island country in 2004.

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With the new mission, she said, “the Haitian people will be set on the path of independence and self-sufficiency.”.

The resolution said during the six-month period, the 2,370 military personnel would gradually leave the country.

This week the Associated Press revealed further reports on systemic sexual abuse of Haitians by UN Peacekeepers, in particular Sri Lankan soldiers.

“These peacekeepers are sent into vulnerable communities to protect the innocent, not to exploit or rape them, ” Haley said.

The resolution adopted Thursday recognizes "the major milestone" the country has achieved toward stabilization following recent elections.

Haley raised the thorny topic of allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers. "We expect the U.N.to fulfil its commitments", said Moise spokesman Jura.

Haitians as a result are either indifferent about or happy with the idea of the looming end of the MINUSTAH mission, even though there is widespread fear of renewed insecurity in the capital Port-au-Prince.

“They should have been out of here a long time ago.

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