Over the course of a period of 10 years, the country saw two foreign interventions on both military and humanitarian fronts, without ever having a war between political factions themselves. The first was in 1994, with Jean-Bertrand Aristide coming back to power after being kicked out of power during the September 1991 coup d'état. The second was in February 2004 following his removal from power, an intervention that was, this time, supported by a large, local, sociopolitical coalition and members of the International Community, such as the United States, France, Canada, Brazil, and Chile.
No less than eight United Nations missions were deployed in Haiti, the last of which was under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations because the country was seen as "a menace to the region's international peace and security." (Resolution 1840, October 2008). Among the factors that contribute to the instability are: the departure of Aristide and the 2004-2006 intermediary government, the brutal coups (from 1986 to 1991), the violation of human rights, and the migrants (boat people) that sneak past international controls. This is all happening within the national context of increased poverty, which is accentuated by a disastrous economy and environmental catastrophes in addition to weak state and government institutions and elite leaders driven by power struggles and predatory interests. This has led to focusing interventions on three principal objectives:
1) The restoration of rule of law;
2) The reinforcement of democracy; and
3) The reinforcement of security forces and borders.
List of the seven UN and joint missions from 1993 to 2002
On 29 February 2004, when the conflict in Haiti threatened to reach the capital directly, President Jean Bertrand Aristide was taken from the country on board a US aircraft to an unknown destination. His resignation letter was read by Yvon Neptune, the prime minister which he himself had appointed. In accordance with the constitution, the president of the court of appeal, Boniface Alexandre, was immediately named interim president. A request for assistance to support the political process underway was then submitted to the Security Council, which in turn passed resolution 1529 to authorize the creation and deployment of the Multinational Interim Force (MIF) in Haiti for a period of three months under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The MIF was under American command.
The mission's mandate was to:
a) Facilitate the implementation of conditions of security and stability in the Haitian capital, and elsewhere in the country, in accordance with requirements and circumstances;
b) Facilitate the provision and delivery of humanitarian aid;
c) Facilitate the provision of international aid to the Haitian police and coast guard in order to re-establish and maintain security and public order and to promote and protect human rights;
d) Favour the creation of conditions that will allow international and regional organizations, notably the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) to bring aid to the Haitian people; and
e) Coordinate the actions of the force, as necessary, with that of the special OAS mission and the UN special envoy for Haiti, in order to avoid a renewed deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
On 9 March a consultative committee composed of eminent Haitians (the Conseil des Sages), named a new prime minister, Gérard Latortue, former Minister of Foreign Affairs under the government of Leslie François Manigat in 1988. The Interim President Boniface Alexandre and the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Conseil des Sages (composed initially of seven members representing diverse political and social affiliations) then undertook to form a transitional government composed of 13 members.
On 4 April 2004, the representatives of the political class, the private sector and unions reached a consensus on the political transition five weeks after the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide. This agreement aimed to favour transition and the holding of elections in the country. The new administration, which had committed itself to guaranteeing the security of the population and promoting a climate of stability, also needed to address the issue of the members of the former Haitian army.
Fanmi Lavalas, the political party of the outgoing president, denounced the pact. The pact delineated the measures to be taken in a series of domains: security, development, the fight against corruption and the lack of accountability, decentralization, elections, judicial reforms, initiatives towards a national conference and a new social contract, institutional strengthening of political parties and civil society organizations, rehabilitation of former armed components and the professionalization of the national Haitian police. The pact also allowed the signatories to engage in discussions with the United Nations concerning the status of the MIF and the peacekeeping operation that would ensue.
In March 2004, a UN multidisciplinary evaluation team was sent to Haiti to identify the nature and scale of the needs the imminent peacekeeping operation would need to meet.
Composition of the MIF
The Multinational Interim Force for Haiti, deployed immediately following the departure of President Aristide, was commanded by General Coleman (US Marine Corps) who took command on 15 March. The MIF was deployed according to geographic sectors imparting to France (550 soldiers) the Northern sector of the country (Cap Haitien), and the Southern sector under American responsibility (1700 soldiers). The MIF was also composed of Canadians (110 soldiers) and Chileans (330 soldiers).
In a report to the Security Council dated 16 April 2004, the Secretary General drew lessons from past United Nations experiences in Haiti that had achieved only limited success. These failures were in part attributed to the different Haitian players but also to the international community involved in Haiti. Too often international actors neglected the need to build meaningful, effective and lasting partnerships with Haitians and their representatives when elaborating their development policies.
The Secretary General, therefore, recommended the creation of a multidimensional stabilization operation in Haiti, and on 30 April 2004, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1542 establishing the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for an initial duration of six months with the intention of prolonging the mandate. The transfer of power from MIF took place on 1 June 2004.
The initial mandate
The three main points of MINUSTAH's mandate were to:
- enable a secure and stable environment;
- support the current political process; and
- guarantee the respect of human rights.
MINUSTAH, the eighth United Nations mission, is a complex and multidimensional peacekeeping operation which operates under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, without peace accords or cease-fires existing between the parties in conflict. The subsequent resolutions: 1576 (29 November 2004); 1601 (31 May 2005), 1608 (22 June 2005), 1658 (14 February 2006) 1702 (17 August 2006), 1743 (15 February 2007), 1780 (15 October 2007), 1840 (2008) all reinforced MINUSTAH's same mandate while underlining the priorities of the current economic climate.
Resolution 1576, underlines the importance of the creation of the Core Group on Haiti; resolution 1601 underlines the importance of holding elections, requests the interim government immediately puts a stop to the lack of accountability and lawlessness and facilitates the launch of the program for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR). Resolution 1658 exhorts MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police (HNP) to collaborate with the international community for a reform of the entire policing system. Resolution 1702 notes that the conditions necessary for the implementation of classic disarmament and demobilization program are not present in Haiti, and that different programs are needed to respond to local circumstances. The Security Council instructed MINUSTAH, in close coordination with the Haitian government and the other concerned parties, notably the donors, to reorient its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts in order to better achieve the objective.
Resolution 1743 urges the international community to put together a new system to coordinate aid, based on immediate needs, as well as long-term development and the reduction of poverty, and to ensure its proper functioning in cooperation with the Haitian authorities. Resolution 1780 instructs MINUSTAH to put its specialist technical knowledge at the disposal of the Haitian government to help it follow a comprehensive approach to the management of its borders, the emphasis being put on the reinforcement of the state's capabilities and underlining the necessity to offer the Haitian government coordinated international support in this domain.
UN resolution 1780 takes into consideration the appeals of the President of the Republic for development tasks while at the same time not meeting them, strengthening of the national police, and a better control of the territory. The latter point included the deployment of forces to Haiti's land and maritime borders with the reinforcement of the four main crossing points: Malpasse, Anse à Pitre, Belladère and Ouanaminthe; as well as the deployment of rapid frigates all along the 1500 km of coastal borders with the possibility of having one for every 100 km. Supplied by 30 frigates, the maritime borders would be better controlled and the action range for each frigate would be reduced to 50 km.
Budget and Composition of MINUSTAH (2004 to the present)
MINUSTAH had an initial operating budget of $200 million following an initial meeting of Haiti funding providers, which was held in Washington in May 2004. From the period of 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007, it had a budget of $489,207,100. From the period of 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, MINUSTAH's funding rose to USD $575 million. The mission budget for the period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 stands at $ 611,751,200.
The different contingents of MINUSTAH arrived gradually and Brazil installing itself in Port-au-Prince while Multinational Interim Force troops were reassigned to MINUSTAH as a peacekeeping force. France, Canada, and the United States continued initially to hold operational responsibility over the country's troops.
Total MINUSTAH troop levels have dropped from 7,041 in 2008 to 6,940 in 2009-2010, while the number of UNPOL staff, which stood at 2,036 in 2008-2009 will rise to 2,211 between 2009 and 2011.
[b] The total of 11,000 positions represents the potential human resources that are not presently being filled.
The figures marked with an asterisk are budgeted estimates while the figures without an asterisk represent actual staff as of 31 October 2008.
As of October 2008, military personnel was made up of police (60%) and UNPOL and FPU together represented slightly over 20%.
With a relative increase in safety, the dominant military composition of the mission received more and more criticism. Even though many Security Council resolutions (Resolution 1702 and those that followed it) suggested reduced military personnel, an increase in police officers and transforming the mission into one of development support, Resolution 1840 renewed MINSUTAH's mandate until 15 October 2009, without changing the numbers of personnel although there was a significant reinforcement of the PNH. The most recent resolution (13 October 2009) renewed MINUSTAH's mandate and only slightly amended the troop to police officer ratio.
Civilian personnel was eventually divided into three categories: International civilians and the UNVs that represented barely 6% of the Mission's staff and national Haitians employed by the Mission that represented slightly more than 11%.
In large part, women were greatly under-represented in the Mission, particularly within military and police personnel. In fact, on 1 October 2008, they may have represented 33% of the international civil personnel, 26% of the UNV personnel, and 13.1% of the national civil personnel, but they only made up 1.74% of the military force, 6.77% of UNPOL, and 3.31% of the FPU. [c]
[c] Statistics provided by MINUSTAH' Gender Unit, Port-au-Prince, November 2008.
Heads of MINUSTAH
The Commanders of the military were all Brazilians, with the exception for a brief period when a Chilean was in an acting position:
Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, Brazil, 2004 to August 2005
Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar, Brazil, September 2005 to January 2006
Eduardo Aldunate Herman, Chile, January 2006 (acting)
Jos_ Elito Carvalho Siqueira, Brazil, January 2006 to January 2007
Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, Brazil, January 2007 to Present
Countries contributing personnel to the military and police force:
Roles and allocations of the different sections
The SRSG runs both MINUSTAH's civilian and military components and is directly linked to three sections: political affairs, legal affairs and public information and communication.
The section initiates on a regular basis contacts with political parties, members of the government and representatives of civilian organizations, universities, the private sector and the diplomatic corps. Its mandate is to contribute towards the three-fold process of the Haitian transition towards national reconciliation, democracy and a modern nation-state.
Communication and public information office
The Communication and Public Information Office (CPIO) is responsible for explaining MINUSTAH's mandate while reinforcing the visibility of the mission in Haiti and abroad. The section is represented in four areas of the country. It produces audio-visual programs and has a website. Since 2006 it has been trying, without success, to obtain an FM channel.
This section is responsible for all the legal aspects of the links which the mission establishes in the country: service contracts, rental or purchase of goods or buildings, the implementation of quick impact projects (QIPS), etc. It advises the SRSG to this effect.
The conduct and disciplinary unit is answerable to the office of the Special Representative to the Secretary General. It is situated at MINUSTAH's headquarter in Port-au-Prince. The unit can receive complaints regarding MINSUTAH's personnel including complaints relating to deaths or material damages.
The three pillars of MINUSTAH's activities
The military force is commanded by Major-General Floriano Peizoto VieraIt is responsible for security and stabilization in Haiti.
To accomplish its mission, the military force has four specific support entities:
1. Two companies of engineers (1 Brazilian, 1 Ecuadorian-Chilean);
2. Two military aviation units (1 Argentinian, 1 Chilean);
3. Field hospital (Argentinian); and
4. Military police unit.
The military component of MINUSTAH also supports the provision of emergency relief to the civilian population in the event of natural or man-made disasters. It organized rescue operations helping thousands of victims of the floods in Gonaïves in September 2004, in 2006 during the torrential rains, again in 2007, and in 2008 during the cyclones that caused such damage throughout the country.
b) Civilian affairs
The SRSG is assisted by two deputies each responsible for a pillar comprising various sections of MINUSTAH. The Principle Deputy, Luiz Carlos Da Costa, is in charge of several sections: administration, security, human rights, justice, civilian affairs and UNPOL.
MINUSTAH has offices in each of the country's 10 administrative regions and it is the civilian affairs section that is responsible for the civilian representation of the mission and the coordination of the activities of the other components. The mandates and the activities of the different sections are described as follows:
The section supports the development of a body of civil servants and the establishment of local authorities capable of organizing public services throughout the country. It intends to contribute to the proper functioning of the senate and the chamber of representatives and to reinforce the decentralized public institutions. It aims to increase the responsibility and participation of citizens in public affairs and government, to promote a national dialogue and to aid the resolution of local conflicts.
Since June 2004, MINUSTAH has implemented more than 130 quick impact projects, for a total of $1.3 million US, which support the rehabilitation of infrastructure (schools, hospitals, and municipalities), civic education, the construction of water pumps and cisterns, and the rehabilitation of roads.
In cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), this section has as its mandate to monitor the human rights situation, notably refugees and displaced persons who have returned home. It must also support Haitian government institutions and human rights groups in their efforts to promote and protect human rights. Present in MINUSTAH's 10 regional bases, the human rights section's activities include:
· observing and documenting of the human rights situation throughout the country;
· assisting the government to define a strategy to improve accountability;
· developing a national educational program on human rights (training for the Haitian national police force); and integrating a human rights dimension in the operational activities of MINUSTAH and the other United Nations agencies.
Its mandate is to help re-establish and maintain the rule of law and public security by providing technical assistance with a view to examining all the pertinent legislation, defining and rapidly putting into effect the measures needed to deal with prison overpopulation and prolonged provisional detention and provide the coordination and planning for these activities (excerpt from Resolution 1702). The section carries out several accompanying programs with the Ministry of Justice, the judicial inspectorate, and the School of Magistrates. It also carries out support programs for legislative reform and access to justice.
MINUSTAH's Corrections Unit
The Corrections Unit, through its work on the penal infrastructure and the welfare of detainees, helps to set up a safe and secure prison environment starting with the physical infrastructure itself. The majority of the work undertaken by the Corrections Unit is carried out in collaboration with the Haitian penitentiary administration directorate (Direction de l'Administration Pénitentiaire, DAP), the national authority responsible for the penitentiary service in Haiti.
As part of MINUSTAH's mandate, UNPOL is called on to contribute to the "restoration and maintenance of the rule of law, public safety and public order through the provision inter alia of operational support to the Haitian National Police (HNP) and the Haitian Coast Guard". Furthermore, it contributes towards creating a safe and stable environment, helps the transition government to supervise, restructure and reform the HNP in accordance with the norms expected of a democratic police, notably by carrying out background checks of its members and registering its personnel; by giving advice on questions of reorganization and training, including raising awareness of women's issues, and providing supervision and training of the police force.
c) Development pillar
Mr. Joël Boutroue was appointed in 2007 to the post of Deputy Special Representative for MINUSTAH with the responsibilities of Humanitarian Coordinator, Resident Coordinator and Residential Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The UNDP in Haiti aims to contribute to implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were set by the Millennium Summit participants in September 2000. The United Nations gave UNDP the authority over assessing and supporting implementing the MDGs.
This section has as a mandate to:
- Maintain MINUSTAH's response capacity in the face of disasters by providing the support necessary in terms of communication, logistics and security for the humanitarian community and the government;
- Support the preparation and response for disasters through active participation in the Provincial Disaster and Risk Management Committee (Comité départemental de gestion des risques et désastres, CDGRD) and coordinate MINUSTAH's response with government structures, UN systems and other actors in the humanitarian community; and
- Collaborate with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the government's counterparts at departmental level for the collation and validation of humanitarian information.
The essential element of the mandate of this section is to be found in Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security. The Security Council expresses "its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations and urges the Secretary-General to ensure that, where appropriate, field operations include a gender component."
The two principle aims of the Equality Office in Haiti are: a) to combat violence against women in all its forms; and b) to encourage the participation of women in the next elections, as candidates and voters.
The Equality Office in cooperation with UNPOL and the HNP works to reinforce the reception procedures in the women's commissions for victims of violence (including the layout and fitting-out of facilities and the training of the Haitian police men and women for a better management of the registered cases, especially when it comes to sexual violence against women).
DDR: Community Violence Reduction (CVR)
The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration section (DDR) changed its name in 2007 to reflect the change in direction of its activities and is now called Community Violence Reduction (CVR). It supports the government's National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (NCDDR). It aims to harmonize the vision and the intervention capacity of the different partners involved in CVR in order to facilitate regulation in matters of control and weapons circulation in Haiti, to support the potential beneficiaries with a view to their reintegration in their communities, and to inform and mobilize the different stakeholders in society on the actions that will encourage the reduction of violence and the control of firearms.
Child Protection Unit
The unit's mandate is to:
-Develop awareness and information sessions on HIV/AIDS for all the component parts of the mission, the national Haitian police force, former Haitian army members and the former members of armed gangs.
-Maintain partnership relations within the United Nations framework with the national authorities, the international community, NGOs, associations for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV/AIDS), and the private sector.
-Inform about HIV/AIDS by distributing educational material on HIV/AIDS such as e-mails, information leaflets, condoms, post exposure prophylactic kits (PEP kits) and providing HIV testing facilities for all MINUSTAH personnel. To date the unit has carried out around 2,000 screening tests on mission personnel.
Disappointing results of global UN interventions in Haïti
Despite some seemingly successful moments, the UN's interventions (sometimes in conjunction with the OAS)as a whole has to be seen as a failure; a failure attributable as much to the predatory tendencies of the Haitian governments which succeeded each other during this period, as to insufficient follow-through on policies promoted by the international community. Furthermore, the principle criticism levelled from all sides is that these missions left too soon without finishing what they started, that is, the real consolidation of the existing institutions (the national police and the judiciary).
The different missions expressed the necessity of rebuilding the state by strengthening the institutions which constitute it. However the costs involved in creating such a process are simply too high for a country which, in the end, does not hold a strategic interest.
A significant number of MINUSTAH's initial goals of fostering a more stable and secure environment have been achieved. A reform initiative designed to strengthen the National Haitian Police Force - the national entity responsible for ensuring law and order - has been in place since August 2006. Gangs perpetrating the new crime of kidnapping have been dismantled and no longer have the potential to destabilize the Government.
Acceptance and debate over the nature of the mandates
At no point was the presence of foreign military troops unanimously accepted in Haiti. From MIF to MINUSTAH, numerous voices were raised demanding the departure of the troops, denouncing it as foreign occupation, which for some had interrupted the eventual confrontation necessary between a hated regime and its numerous opponents. During the transition government (2004-2006), on several occasions, accusations of the violation of the rights of Haitians were levelled against the military component of MINUSTAH.
Following Préval's election, in 2006, the Security Council requested a re-evaluation of the mandate in order to determine whether it should be pursued as is, or not. For months different sectors in Haiti had been demanding changes to the mandate such that the military contingent, seen as of little use or even too tolerant to the destabilizing elements, be replaced by engineers and heavy machinery brought to Haiti to contribute to the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure.
Although Security Council resolution 1892 adopted on 13 October provided some alteration to staffing configurations, the level of mandate remains unchanged. However, the Security Council recognized the fact that the challenges facing Haiti are interlinked and that economic development is required in order to guarantee stability and security.However, even if undesirable, this military presence is seen by many Haitians as indispensable in the current circumstances and acts as a deterrent to all categories of bandits and armed gangs. Furthermore, MINUSTAH has helped the government and the national police substantially in their struggle against violence, drugs and the maintenance of order in the country at an acceptable level.
Sex scandals and internal corruption in MINUSTAH
Like many other UN missions, MINUSTAH has had its share of sex scandals. In 2005, following mounting criticism, the UN adopted a policy of zero tolerance, such that soldiers accused of misconduct are repatriated, tried and punished in their country of origin. At the end of November 2007, 108 Sri Lankan soldiers accused of sexual exploitation were repatriated. The minister for women and women's rights insisted that the accused be tried immediately on their return to their country. Since the arrival of MINUSTAH in Haiti, women's rights organisations (SOFA, Kay Fanm) have received several complaints of rapes committed by soldiers, police and civilian personnel.
The UN equally investigated fraud allegation and mismanagement in acquisitions in the context of its operations. Accusations were made against five employees for having influenced an oil delivery contract to the value of $10 million US per year to a Haitian company, Distributeurs Nationaux SA.
The Latin American presence in MINUSTAH
Seen by some as a regional effort in solidarity, the significant presence of troops, police and civilian personnel of Latin American origin demonstrates those countries' interest in the mission. 80% of the military and police force comes from the South American continent [Mullet, 2007].
Despite sending additional police in 2008, close to 95% of the Latin American resources were military. Only 11% of the police force and 11% of the international civilian force came from the Latin American countries. The heads of these countries repeatedly complained that they should be better represented in the two above-mentioned areas of the Mission. [d]
[d] David Morin, OIF Report, to be published in 2009
Brazil's presence in the mission is highly visible as the leader of the military component. The Brazilian supporters of this presence argued that Brazil had to assume its regional leadership responsibilities to be recognized as such in international forums (mainly within the UN), and it represented an opportunity to put into action its multilateral policies. Indeed, this participation, supported by the Brazilian congress, could have had positive internal consequences as well as the external ones. It would increase the dialogue already in existence with countries of the sub-region (albeit in different contexts, Mercosur, for example) such as Argentina and Chile, in cooperation with the other members of the Core Group (Canada amongst others) in the context of joint projects. However both the Left and the Right denounced this involvement as an exercise in regional neo-imperialism, or even the subordination of Brazilian interest to that of the United States.
The presence of Latin American countries in MINUSTAH has been questioned and the arguments brandished for national autonomy and freedom of action, responsibility towards the UN, do not hold for certain critics. Chile was the first country in the region, from March 2004, to send troops to the multinational force. Argentina and Brazil followed in June. These decisions were taken in a hasty manner, without real coherence and with the absence of regional coordination and planning. From this critical point of view, the presence of these countries is counter-current to the policy of regional peace and security. Individual national interests took precedence over the collective interests of the region and the Latin American decision regarding Haiti cannot be interpreted as an altruistic act whose primary aim is the democratic stability or the defence of the rights of the Haitian people.