Expected Council Action
In October, the Council will receive a report of the Secretary-General and hold a debate on Haiti. The Council, through resolution 2350, decided unanimously on 13 April to phase out the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), draw down its military component by 15 October, and replace the mission with a new entity, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). MINUSTAH’s mandate expires on 15 October and MINUJUSTH begins operating on 16 October.
Key Recent Developments
On 12 July, the Secretary-General transmitted his report on Haiti, requested by resolution 2350, in which he detailed the process of drawing down MINUSTAH and transitioning to MINUJUSTH. He said that the final withdrawal of the military component would begin on 15 August and that force headquarters would remain operational after the repatriation of the last troops, set for 1 to 5 October, until the last day of the MINUSTAH mandate, 15 October. He reported that MINUSTAH leadership consulted closely with the government and high-level commanding officers of the national police to ensure that adequate security arrangements were being put in place, in particular in areas where MINUSTAH troops and police are withdrawing.
The report also outlined MINUJUSTH’s key functions. In accordance with its mandate, MINUJUSTH will support and strengthen the accountability and oversight mechanisms in the justice sector, the Superior Council of the Judiciary, and the Inspection Unit of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and will also advocate the completion of key legislative reform processes. In addition, MINUJUSTH will provide capacity-building and advisory support for the effective functioning of the police, criminal defence and justice and corrections institutions, with particular emphasis placed on improving Haitian ownership.
The human rights component of MINUJUSTH will focus on strengthening the capacity of the national human rights institution, the Ombudsperson’s office, to operate as a reliable human rights accountability mechanism vis-a-vis all state institutions. This will include supporting the Ombudsperson to effectively and independently investigate systematic human rights violations and carry out public reporting functions. The mission will provide technical assistance and support for the capacity of civil society with regard to advocacy and reporting to human rights mechanisms.
MINUJUSTH will maintain a focus on the institutional and professional development of the Haitian National Police, within the framework of the police’s strategic development plan for the period 2017-2021. The mission will provide expertise to senior and midlevel management of the national police. The seven formed police units remaining in MINUJUSTH will provide continued operational support to the national police in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country, including—within the limits of their capabilities—the protection of civilians. According to the report, the ongoing withdrawal of the MINUSTAH military and police components, including the closure of military bases in the northern departments and Cité Soleil and the gradual transfer of security tasks to the Haitian National Police, has not affected the overall security situation.
On 13 July, the General Assembly adopted without a vote a resolution titled “The new United Nations approach to cholera in Haiti”, in which the Assembly welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to invite member states to voluntarily direct their share of the unencumbered balance and other income of MINUSTAH to the UN Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
The trust fund is part of the UN’s new two-track approach to cholera in Haiti, which was the subject of a 3 May Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly. Track one involves intensifying the UN’s support for efforts to reduce and ultimately end the transmission of cholera by improving access to care and treatment and addressing the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems in Haiti. Track two involves developing a package of material assistance and support to Haitians most directly affected by cholera, drawing on contributions from member states.
In the report, the Secretary-General called on member states to voluntarily allocate assessed contributions amounting to $40.5 million to a trust fund to support his new approach. The funds will remain unspent after MINUSTAH closes in October and would otherwise be returned to states. At press time, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uruguay had pledged to divert the unspent funds. The Secretary-General has estimated that the new approach will cost $400 million, but the effort remains severely underfunded. During a 14 June informal briefing of the General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that because of insufficient funding, cholera response and control efforts cannot be sustained through 2017 and 2018. Mohammed used the opportunity to call on member states to contribute resources that would enable implementation of the new approach to cholera.
Human Rights-Related Developments
On 5 July, the Human Rights section of MINUSTAH and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released their final joint annual report. The report highlights a lack of accountability, in particular the failure to systematically investigate the use of force and widespread illegal or arbitrary arrests by police. It also considers the vulnerable situation of women, children, LGBTI individuals, people with disabilities, and people of Haitian origin returned or deported to Haiti. In a statement on the report’s release, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on the government to continue addressing human rights challenges in the country, in particular cruel and inhumane conditions in prisons and the reform of the judiciary.
Key Issues and Options
An ongoing issue for the Council is the need for MINUJUSTH to develop further the capacity of the Haitian National Police and to address the lack of progress in the areas of rule of law and human rights-related reforms, in particular with regard to criminal justice and ensuring accountability for past abuses, within its projected two-year operating period. The Council may need to closely monitor developments during that period to steer the mission to completion of its mandate.
Another issue is the lack of funding for the new approach to cholera and the implications for the credibility of the UN presence in Haiti. The Council could issue a statement encouraging member states to fund the new approach and call on relevant members to voluntarily donate to the new trust fund their share of assessed contributions that will remain unspent after MINUSTAH’s closure.
Council members seem content with the progress Haiti has achieved recently. The presidential, legislative and municipal elections were all held in a peaceful manner and without major threats to overall security. Earlier this year, a new president, Jovenel Moïse, was inaugurated, marking the restoration of constitutional order. This was the backdrop for the Council’s adoption of resolution 2350, which authorised the gradual drawdown and closure of MINUSTAH by 15 October followed by the establishment of a much smaller successor mission, MINUJUSTH. While the Council voted unanimously in favour of resolution 2350, some members expressed concern regarding certain aspects of the resolution. Most notably, explaining their votes, Russia and China objected to the inclusion of a human rights mandate for the successor mission and its being established under Chapter VII. Bolivia also expressed reservations regarding invoking Chapter VII in the resolution, noting that this does not reflect the reality in the ground. Furthermore, Russia has also argued that some of the aspects of the MINUJUSTH mandate are not clear and would be difficult to implement in practice.
Council practice is that draft resolutions on Haiti are negotiated and agreed among the Group of Friends of Haiti, which comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Peru, the US and Uruguay, before being circulated to all 15 Council members by the US, as the penholder.
UN DOCUMENTS ON HAITI
|Security Council Resolutions|
|13 April 2017 S/RES/2350||This was a resolution extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for a final six-month period until 15 October and authorising the establishment of a smaller successor peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).|
|12 July 2017 S/2017/604||This was the Secretary-General’s report on MINUSTAH.|
|3 May 2017 A/71/895||This was a Secretary-General’s report that provided updated information on the implementation of the new approach to cholera in Haiti.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|13 April 2017 S/PV.7924||This was a meeting on Haiti during which the Council adopted resolution 2350.|
|General Assembly Documents|
|10 July 2017 A/71/L.78||This was a General Assembly resolution that welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to invite member states to voluntarily direct their share of the unencumbered balance and other income of MINUSTAH to the UN Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund.|