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Rejection of MINUSTAH

Source :[Alterpresse] Port-au-Prince, October 15th, 2010

The Haiti social movements renew their rejection of the United Nations Haiti Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) the day after its one-year mandate is renewed by the Security Council.

The United Nations have failed in their mission to stabilize Haiti and have instead reinforced this country’s structural crisis, declares Camille Chalmers, Executive Director of the Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA) during a press conference on October 15th.

The day before, a sit in to protest the mandate’s renewal took place in front of the Ministry of International Affairs, held by several social organizations. They requested the immediate withdrawal of UN troops, known locally as “les casques bleus,” or “the blue helmets”.

“The United Nations have had continuous missions in the country since 1993. From 1993 to 2010 makes 17 years and it is 17 years of failure. 17 years during which not a single of these missions’ objectives have been achieved. And we can even assert that the presence of the blue helmets has only exacerbated Haiti’s structural crisis,” judges Camille Chalmers.

Created in 2004, MINUSTAH should have established a climate of stability and security, according to the UN resolution adopted at that time.

“During the period of 2004-2010, we have lived in blazing insecurity. The level of insecurity has become cyclic and recurring with incessant highs and lows,” he analyzes, adding that insecurity is aggravated by MINUSTAH’s presence.

The UN mission was also supposed to ensure credible and democratic elections, another failure, according to PAPDA’s director, who points to the lack of credibility of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the body responsible for the organization of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections on November 28th.

“In terms of the construction of a democratic climate and tradition, we have regressed in comparison with the periods preceding MINUSTAH’s arrival,” he says.

In addition, the Secutiry Council mandated that the blue helmets guarantee respect for human rights, but instead they have violated the rights of Haitian citizens. To this point, he recalls the cases of rape of Haitian women and girls perpetrated by 104 Sri Lankan soldiers. Sent home after the scandal, they were never tried for their crimes.

The economist also highlights other mandates issued to MINUSTAH by the Security Council over the years including economic revival, border security, and control of drug trafficking that bear witness to the mission’s failure.

In addition, from 2004 to 2009, MINUSTAH has cost 5 billion dollars, Chalmers says. “In this sense, it is extremely important to note the volume of resources being spent in the country. But rather than serve to reinforce the institutional capacity of the Haitian state, they are wasted on the overhead costs of the UN mission.”

Besides this, the presence of the mission deployed in Haiti under Chapter 7 of the United Nations charter is illegal, he states. This Chapter provides for the deployment of troops to maintain peace during genocides, civil war or crimes against humanity.

“Even if between 2003 and 2004 there was a severe political crisis [in Haiti], there was neither genocide, nor crimes against humanity, nor conflict within the population,” he recalls, maintaining that MINUSTAH enters into the framework of a “new offensive of American imperialism” to militarize the Caribbean region.

Translated by Alexis Erkert Depp