January 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 22 December 2006
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Expected Council Action
The Secretary-General’s report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will be available in January. However, no formal Council action is expected since MINUSTAH’s mandate does not expire until 15 February 2007. Informal discussions in January are likely, particularly among the Group of Friends of Haiti (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Peru and the US).

Key Recent Developments
On 15 August, the Council renewed MINUSTAH’s mandate for six months, with new tasks, based on the Secretary-General’s recommendations, including:

  • deploying 16 corrections experts to help the government address shortcomings of the prison system;
  • expanding assistance to the government to strengthen state institutions, especially outside the capital;
  • maximising the crime prevention role by adding specialised police capacities and expertise in anti-gang operations and corrections;
  • adapting its disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme to local conditions, with emphasis on reducing community violence; and
  • providing assistance for the reform of the justice sector.

MINUSTAH’s troop levels were reduced by 300 to 7,200 troops while police officers were increased by fifty to 1,951 with a call for more Francophone officers.

The government adopted the National Police Reform Plan on 8 August, but the Strategic Plan for the Reform of Justice has still to emerge.

A National Commission on Disarmament, Dismantlement and Reintegration was created on 29 August by the government. Cooperating with this commission and UNDP, MINUSTAH’s DDR unit is now focusing on five areas: the disarming and reintegration of gangs, the re-integration of youth, the re-integration of women, legislation to control arms, and community disarmament. The government has endorsed this program.

The security situation continues to cause problems. In November, two Jordanian MINUSTAH peacekeepers died from injuries received in clashes with gangs in Port-au-Prince. The Council held consultations and issued a press statement on 16 November, reiterating support for the Haitian government and for MINUSTAH.

After several months of delay, municipal and local elections were held on 3 December. Despite some violent incidents and a very low voter turnout, the UN said it was satisfied with the process.

Key Issues
In January, the Group of Friends is likely to discuss the Secretary-General’s recommendations and seek a common position in preparation for Council meetings in February and the renewal of MINUSTAH’s mandate.

Several issues are involved.

  • The size of MINUSTAH: It seems likely that the Secretary-General will recommend that current troop levels remain. But there is an issue of whether to return to the original level of 6,700 troops and 1,600 civilian police, given that the elections and the electoral process-the main reason for the increase to 7,200 troops-have concluded. Against that, MINUSTAH has been able to improve security in most parts; in the most violent area, the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Cité Soleil, the security situation remains extremely fragile.
  • The period of the mandate renewal: The Secretary-General is likely to recommend a one-year renewal. However, members will be conscious of traditional concerns by China regarding Haiti’s policies towards Taiwan and some assessment of the current state of the issue is likely to figure in informal discussions.
  • Haitian police reform: The Group of Friends will share assessments of progress.
  • Reform of the justice sector: There will be concern that the reform plan has not yet been adopted by the Haitian authorities. The Group of Friends may want to accelerate the process.
  • DDR: The Group of Friends may also want to discuss the new approach for DDR adopted by MINUSTAH.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem inclined to maintain current MINUSTAH troop levels and are reluctant at this stage to foreshadow any future withdrawal, fearing that it could increase the potential for destabilisation.

But there are different views on priorities for MINUSTAH. The US and the UK attach importance to security issues and regard the DDR process as a main priority. Others believe that strengthening state institutions is the most crucial measure and, accordingly, that police and justice reforms should be priorities. Denmark had put a special emphasis on human rights but will no longer be in the Council. The Latin American countries have stressed that socioeconomic development is the primary goal. Therefore, they support MINUSTAH’s labour-intensive quick-impact projects, such as infrastructure rehabilitation, which also have the benefit of reinforcing the visibility and credibility of the international community in Haiti.

Peru will take over leadership on Haiti in the Council when Argentina departs.

Underlying Problems
While the situation in Haiti after the elections is positive in general, significant caution remains due to underlying problems. Violence remains widespread. State institutions are far from stabilised. In 2006 Transparency International rated Haiti as the most corrupt country on earth.

Local and international NGOs believe violence stems from the lack of socioeconomic development, poverty and the absence of a state presence, including the rule of law. Some violence is politically motivated. Also, because DDR programmes had been primarily focused on the former Haitian army, other factions behind much of the violence have not been addressed. Today, the main problem seems to be that DDR programmes still do not provide gang members, especially gang leaders, with incentives to cease their activities.

On the economic front, it is noteworthy that during a donors’ conference in Madrid on 29 November, Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis said that 99 percent of the pledges made in July 2006 had still not been met.


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UN Documents

 Most Recent Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1702 (15 August 2006) prolonged the mandate of MINUSTAH for six months with the intention to renew for further periods.
 Most Recent Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2006/22 (15 May 2006) congratulated René Préval on his inauguration as president of Haiti and underlined that many challenges remain to be tackled.
 Latest Secretary-General’s Report
 Latest Letter
  • S/2006/726 (31 August 2006) was a letter from the Secretary-General conveying a letter from Haiti confirming the adoption of the police reform plan and enclosing a copy of the plan.

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Edmond Mulet (Guatemala)
 Force Commander
 Lieutenant General José Elito Carvalho Siqueira (Brazil)
 Size and Composition of Mission
  • Current strength (30 November 2006): 8,360 total uniformed personnel, including 6,668 troops and 1,692 police
  • Key troop contributing countries: Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Nepal, Argentina, Chile
 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007: $510.039 million

Useful Additional Sources

Full forecast

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