Expected Council Action
The Council will meet to discuss Haiti in January. The electoral situation remains tense and the anniversary of the earthquake is a reminder of the huge task still to be accomplished. A briefing seems likely to be the focus. The current mandate of the UN mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, continues until 15 October 2011.
Key Recent Developments
The political situation in Haiti remains tense. On 28 November 2010 national elections were held. Preliminary results on 7 December 2010 showed the top two candidates Jude Celestin, representing the ruling party, and Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, would participate in a run-off election in January. However, the results showed candidate Michel Martelly as coming in third place by less than one percentage point and individuals protesting the results staged violent demonstrations that closed much of the capital for several days during which several people were killed. Haiti’s election commission has ordered a review of the election results.
On 10 December the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy on the situation in Haiti. In a press statement, members stressed the importance of holding peaceful and credible elections and expressed deep concern at incidents of violence that followed the announcement of preliminary election results. The statement called upon all candidates and actors to remain calm and resolve any electoral disputes through established legal mechanisms. Council members underscored concern about allegations of electoral fraud, expressed strong commitment to supporting free and fair elections and called on all political forces to work through the electoral process. MINUSTAH was urged to continue extending critical support in ensuring a peaceful environment.
On 17 December the Secretary-General announced the creation of an independent panel to investigate Haiti’s cholera epidemic. (The cholera outbreak which began in October has killed over 2,000 and infected over 100,000. Some have asserted that UN peacekeepers from Nepal were the source of the outbreak.)
A key underlying issue is the slow recovery a year after the devastating earthquake. A related issue is whether the current size and scope of MINUSTAH’s mandate is adequate.
issuing another statement, urging all political stakeholders to conduct themselves peacefully and abide by the final election results;
deciding to temporarily increase the size of the peacekeeping force in Haiti as a response to recent unrest;
adjusting MINUSTAH’s mandate to improve civilian capacity and coordination; or
taking no action at the present time.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members remain concerned about the current situation in Haiti. Most members throughout the past year have seemed to indicate that if the security situation were to seriously deteriorate, that would be a basis for returning to discussion of MINUSTAH’s mandate and the overall Council approach to the situation. The November election was seen by many as a potential catalyst for forward movement. However, the post-election protests have demonstrated the potential for violence remains.
The Friends group continues to play an influential role in discussions regarding Haiti. Council members Brazil, France and the US are all heavily involved in the group, though it is unclear if a single country has the lead in the Council on Haiti at this time.
Selected Council Resolutions
Selected Press Statement