Expected Council Action
In December, the Council is expected to hold a briefing on the situation in Haiti and consider the most recent report on the implementation of resolution 2410, adopted on 10 April, which extended under Chapter VII of the UN Charter the mandate of the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).
The mandate of MINUJUSTH expires on 15 April 2019.
Key Recent Developments
The Council held its most recent meeting on Haiti in September, when Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita briefed the Council on progress towards the imminent transition to a non-peacekeeping UN presence. Keita presented the latest Secretary-General’s report, which outlined the 46 separate indicators for the benchmarked exit strategy. In addition, Keita presented infographics that contained more detailed information on the indicators. Although the mission remained active in assisting the local authorities, Keita noted that there has been a lack of progress on crucial aspects of the rule of law, including legislation on the penal code and the draft code of criminal procedure.
Resolution 2410 mandated the withdrawal of two formed police units (of the initial seven) in the period from 15 October to 15 April 2019. Keita informed Council members that the mission has developed an integrated security transition plan that will guide this transition. In concluding remarks, Keita emphasised the importance of the timely implementation of the 11 benchmarks for the exit strategy and said that all actors involved would have to increase their efforts to this end.
The security situation in Haiti has remained fragile. In June, a series of violent protests erupted after the government announced an increase in fuel prices. The demonstrations ended with the government suspending its decision and the resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant. Thousands of Haitians took to the streets again in October in country-wide anti-corruption demonstrations. The protesters demanded a transparent investigation into the government’s alleged mismanagement of over $3 billion in oil loans from Venezuela. At least six people were killed and dozens injured in clashes between protesters and police. Several inquiries by the Haitian legislature have concluded that a number of government officials were engaged in the misuse of funds. While the demonstrators also called for the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, he assured them that those responsible would be brought to account.
Violence erupted again on 18 November, a national holiday marking the anniversary of a victory over French forces in 1803. In addition to demanding accountability in the oil corruption scandal, the protesters reiterated calls for Moïse to step down. Moïse responded by calling for unity and an end to the fighting. According to media reports, at least five people were killed and dozens injured in clashes with the police.
In other developments, over 15 people were killed and over 300 injured in an earthquake on 9 October that affected the northern part of Haiti. The earthquake
resulted in significant material damage, leaving tens of thousands in need of humanitarian assistance.
The new Special Representative and head of MINUJUSTH, Helen Meagher La Lime, formally took office on 3 September. She succeeded Susan D. Page, who spent a little over six months in the position before being appointed on 4 May as the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Rule of Law.
Key Issues and Options
The Council faces several interrelated issues in Haiti. Chief among them is achieving the mission’s benchmarked exit strategy within the projected timeframe, that is, by October 2019. Given the lack of progress, the Council will have to consider the possibility that Haiti will not advance sufficiently against the benchmarks in time. In that case, the Council will have to decide whether to revise the current exit strategy or consider extending the mission. Remaining issues for the Council include the need for the mission to develop further the capacity of the national police and to continue to encourage progress across all rule-of-law sectors, in particular regarding reforms related to human rights and criminal justice, before the projected closure of MINUJUSTH.
The recent tensions in Haiti have exposed some of the underlying socio-economic issues that could potentially threaten the overall security situation. Should these persist, the Council could issue a statement calling for calm and dialogue and supporting the work of the mission. It could also, in due time, reassess the plans for the drawdown of the mission.
Council members have recognised Haiti’s notable progress over the past several years. The Council has welcomed as a major milestone the restoration of constitutional order and the successful holding of general and presidential elections in 2017. This led to the Council’s decision to initiate the gradual drawdown and devise the current exit strategy.
Negotiations on the last two mandate renewal resolutions have exposed some diverging views about the scope and the mandate of the UN mission in Haiti. In April 2017, the Council voted unanimously for resolution 2350—renewing the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 October 2017, to be followed by the start of MINUJUSTH the next day—but China, Russia, and to some extent Bolivia raised concerns regarding the inclusion of human rights in the MINUJUSTH mandate and its establishment under Chapter VII, which authorises enforcement action to restore international peace and security. During the last mandate renewal, in April, Russia and China abstained on resolution 2410, citing similar concerns. During the meeting in September, Council members raised concerns over the delicate security situation and questioned the readiness of Haitian authorities to take over security responsibilities from the mission in this environment.
The US is the penholder on Haiti.
UN DOCUMENTS ON HAITI
|Security Council Resolutions|
|10 April 2018S/RES/2410||This was a resolution extending the mandate of MINUJUSTH for another year under Chapter VII and set a timeline for the gradual drawdown of formed police units.|
|13 April 2017S/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).|
|30 November 2018|
|6 September 2018S/2018/795||This was the Secretary-General’s report on MINUJUSTH.|
|20 March 2018S/2018/241||This was the Secretary-General’s report of the strategic assessment of MINUJUSTH.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|6 September 2018S/PV.8342||This was a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita briefed the Council on the most recent Secretary-General’s report on MINUJUSTH.|
|10 April 2018S/PV.8226||This was the meeting at which the Council adopted resolution 2410 which extended the mandate of MINUJUSTH for another year under Chapter VII and set a timeline for the gradual drawdown of formed police units.|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|12 July 2018SC/13419||This was a press statement that condemned the recent violence in Haiti which resulted in several deaths.|