April 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2011
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AMERICAS

Haiti

Expected Council Action
A report from the Secretary-General on the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, is due by 15 April. An open debate on Haiti is likely on 6 April, at the initiative of Colombia, Council president for April. It is possible that a presidential statement might result.

The MINUSTAH mandate expires on 15 October.

Key Recent Developments
On 16 January former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to the country. (Duvalier was overthrown 25 years previously and had been living in exile in France.) On 18 January, Haitian authorities questioned him and charged him with corruption and embezzlement during the years of his rule. Duvalier was released the same day and a court will apparently decide in April whether the charges against him can proceed. In addition, several Haitians have filed separate charges against Duvalier for torture and crimes against humanity.

On 3 February, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council announced revised preliminary results from the first round of voting on 28 November 2010, concluding that former first lady Mirlande Manigat and popular singer Michel Martelly were now the top two candidates. Ruling party candidate Jude Celestin was declared to have come in third. This reversed earlier results that had placed Celestin in the runoff election scheduled for 20 March and was consistent with a report issued in January by the Organisation of American States (OAS) on allegations of irregularities in the first round voting. The UN Secretary-General welcomed the revised results.

On 18 February thousands of followers of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide marched in support of his return to Haiti. The march concluded peacefully. (Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party was excluded from the first round of elections in November because of registration problems; Aristide had been forced to leave the country in 2004.)

On 16 March a statement by MINUSTAH voiced concern over violence connected to some political campaigning in the leadup to the 20 March runoff election and called on all candidates to avoid threats, intimidation and harassment.

Aristide returned to Haiti on 18 March from exile in South Africa. Thousands of supporters took to the streets to welcome his return. Aristide has said that he will not seek an active role in Haitian politics, but on his return to the country he criticised the exclusion of his Fanmi Lavalas party from the national elections. A US government spokesman said the US was concerned that his return just before the election could destabilise the country.

On 20 March, Haiti held legislative elections and the presidential run-off between Martelly and Manigat. Steps were taken to ensure a better electoral process than in first-round voting in November 2010. The OAS increased the number of its observers, electoral sheets were colour-coded and a code of conduct was developed for individuals present at polling centres. Problems, such as polling stations opening late due to lack of ballot paper and ink, were initially reported at some locations. However, these seem to have been resolved relatively quickly. Polling hours were extended by an hour in some locations to compensate for a late start. Observers said the conduct of the voting appeared to be smoother than was the case in November. Preliminary results are expected by 31 March, with a final tally by 16 April.

On 21 March, MINUSTAH urged all candidates in the run-off presidential and legislative elections and their followers to exercise restraint and be patient as the voting results were tallied.

Colombia has informed Council members that during its presidency it intends to highlight the situation in Haiti with a view to making it a higher priority on the Council agenda. Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to preside over the open debate scheduled for 6 April. It appears likely that some other Council members will be represented at the ministerial level. It is possible that Bill Clinton may attend in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Haiti and co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. The concept paper for the debate emphasises that reconstruction and humanitarian programmes in Haiti should aim to achieve both peace and security on the one hand and social and economic development on the other. (In this sense the Colombian initiative is linked to the thematic initiative by Brazil in February and the content of S/PRST/2011/4 is relevant.) Colombia hopes that the open debate will provide better answers to the question how to better contribute to peace, security and development in Haiti. While accepting that proper weight must be given to the existing mandate of MINUSTAH, the paper points out that the exceptional nature of the situation confronting Haiti means that there is an acute need to understand the link between security and development in a case-specific way and to develop the means to act on that linkage.

In late March discussions apparently began at the expert level on the draft text of a presidential statement to be approved at the open debate. Members of the Group of Friends of Haiti (composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Peru, Uruguay and the US) had previously discussed such a draft. 

Human Rights-Related Developments
Marking the recent anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, acknowledged the significant efforts by the Haitian government and the international community to address the challenges facing the country. But Pillay expressed deep concern over some human rights issues that required urgent attention by the authorities. In particular, she saw the need for a comprehensive long-term plan so that the state, with the support of the international community, could provide “durable solutions regarding access to basic services, both for those living in camps and those living in slums, in line with its human rights responsibilities.” (The UN humanitarian coordinator has estimated that as of 1 January, there were 810,000 people living in the 1,150 camps that still exist in Haiti, down from its peak of 1.5 million in July.) Pillay also emphasised the need for much improved access to adequate shelter, water, sanitation, education and health care, including a strengthened cholera- awareness campaign.

Key Issues

A key issue for the Council is whether it can overcome past reluctance by some members to better linking the international efforts to reconstruct and develop Haiti with the existing mandate of the mission.

A related underlying issue that has broader implications for other UN missions is the issue of achieving a more seamless relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, as has been acknowledged by the Council in numerous presidential statements (S/PRST/2009/23, S/PRST/2009/24, S/PRST/2010/2, S/PRST/2010/7, S/PRST/2010/14, S/PRST/2010/18and S/PRST/2011/4).

A key political issue on the ground is whether the candidate eventually declared winner of the presidential election will be widely accepted by the population and able to govern effectively and work with the country’s parliament. The fact that the large Fanmi Lavalas party of Aristide was completely disallowed from participating in this election cycle may pose ongoing challenges to the next Haitian administration.

Underlying Problems
Entrenched poverty, a history of political instability initiated by Haitian elites, the exclusion of the Lavalas party from the election, all combined with the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and challenges in the strategic coordination of international assistance, continue to underlie the situation in Haiti.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • using the April open debate to state national positions on the current situation in Haiti and on the broader link between security and development needs in the context of peacekeeping missions;
  • adopting a statement requesting the Secretary-General for specific recommendations within a few months for a new approach to coordination and oversight of international efforts aimed at both maintaining security in Haiti and the reconstruction and development agenda; or
  • signalling a plan to revise MINUSTAH’s mandate in light of such recommendations.

Council and Wider Dynamics
There appears to be wide recognition among Council members that Haiti continues to require the sustained efforts of the international community in order to meet the large-scale challenges confronting it. Council members are concerned that only a fraction of the funds pledged to the reconstruction effort in Haiti have been disbursed (a situation of concern also to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission co-chaired by UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton).

While the Council has in recent years acknowledged the link between security and development in numerous thematic statements, there do not appear to be any clear ideas at this stage as to how to implement this in Haiti.

Council members seem to support the idea of a presidential statement as an outcome of the open debate. Members of the Group of Friends of Haiti also support a presidential statement. Some felt that it might be beneficial for such a statement to also cover rule-of-law issues as a point where security and development considerations converge.

The Friends Group continues to play an influential role in discussions regarding Haiti.

UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1944 (14 October 2010) renewed the mandate of MINUSTAH and called for a comprehensive assessment of the security environment in 2011 following the elections.
  • S/RES/1927 (4 June 2010) authorised the deployment of 680 additional officers for the police component of MINUSTAH as a temporary surge with a particular focus on building the capacity of the Haitian National Police and encouraged the mission, within available means, to provide temporary logistical and technical support to the government of Haiti that will be phased out as Haiti’s national capacity grows.
  • S/RES/1908 (19 January 2010) bolstered the troop and police personnel for MINUSTAH by 1,500 additional police and 2,000 additional military personnel.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2011/4 (11 February 2011) was on the interdependence between security and development.
  • S/PRST/2010/18 (23 September 2010) emphasised inter alia that effective peacebuilding requires an integrated approach based on coherence among security, development and other objectives.
  • S/PRST/2010/14 (16 July 2010) was on optimising the use of preventive diplomacy tools.
  • S/PRST/2010/7 (16 April 2010) was adopted during an open debate on peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2010/2 (12 February 2010) was on UN peacekeeping operations’ transition and exit strategies.
  • S/PRST/2009/24 (5 August 2009) was on integration of peacebuilding in peacekeeping missions.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) was on post-conflict peacebuilding.

Selected Press Statement

  • SC/10110 (10 December 2010) addressed the post-election situation in Haiti.

Selected Letter

  • S/2010/27 (18 January 2010) from Mexico to the Council argued for a realignment of MINUSTAH’s mandate.

Selected Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6471 (20 January 2011) was the most recent briefing on Haiti.

Other

  • E/2010/102 (14 July 2010) was an ECOSOC report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH

Edmond Mulet (Guatemala)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Kevin Kennedy (US)

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator

Nigel Fisher (Canada)

UN Special Envoy for Haiti

Bill Clinton (US)

Force Commander

Major General Luiz Eduardo Ramos Pereira (Brazil)

Police Commissioner

Geraldo Chaumont (Argentina)

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