Expected Council Action
In June, the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution that will detail the transition of the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) to a non-peacekeeping UN presence. The mandate of MINUJUSTH expires on 15 October.
Key Recent Developments
On 12 April, the Council renewed MINUJUSTH for a final six months through resolution 2466 and endorsed transitioning to a Special Political Mission (SPM). This echoed a recommendation by the Secretary-General in his most recent MINUJUSTH report. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council within 30 days with “operational details of the proposed SPM, including specific objectives and information regarding its proposed deployment, staffing, and structure”.
On 13 May, the Secretary-General submitted his recommendations in a letter to the president of the Council on the potential operational details for the SPM, including objectives, structure, and size. Aligning with previous reports, the Secretary-General said that the SPM would focus on strengthening political stability and good governance, the preservation and further advancement of a peaceful and stable environment, and the protection and promotion of human rights.
In the document, the Secretary-General recommended “a special political mission with an advisory mandate, led by a special representative at the Assistant Secretary-General level, who would report to the Secretary-General through the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.” The Secretary-General also said that the SPM would be a stage in the transition towards a context in which Haitian institutions would be able to promote stability and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which are 17 goals established by the General Assembly in September 2015 and intended to address the global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. These efforts could address instability drivers and create political solutions to benefit Haiti during the transition period with the support of the UN country team and the commitment of Haitian institutions and the international community.
To address human rights, which many Council members view as vital in this context, the Secretary-General suggested that OHCHR continue to provide support to UN joint efforts in Haiti. Eventually, after the SPM leaves, a human rights office could be created. The Secretary-General also noted that the Haitian government has emphasised reduction of gang violence as a key priority. Therefore, the SPM would advise the government on creating a strategy to deal with this violence by building stronger links to communities.
The Secretary-General stressed the need to have “strong cooperation and coordination” with various stakeholders, including the UN Country Team, regional organisations, bilateral partners, and international financial institutions. He suggested the deployment of up to 30 civilian and seconded personnel to serve as police and corrections advisers. In total, the SPM would number 80-100 members, though the total number is unlikely to be listed in a resolution and will be determined by Fifth Committee negotiations.
Key Issues and Options
The focus remains on making progress towards achieving the benchmarks necessary for the transition to a non-peacekeeping UN presence in Haiti. The Council will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground and its impact on the nature of the UN’s presence. The most immediate task for the Council is mandating an SPM in Haiti. It is likely to be for 12 months and may change the reporting cycle for the Secretary-General from every three months to every four, or perhaps twice a year.
The Council could also choose to visit Haiti through a Council Mission, perhaps closer to October’s elections and MINUJUSTH’s withdrawal.
During negotiations on resolution 2466 in April, some Council members expressed their preference for a single resolution that would include MINUJUSTH’s six-month renewal and concrete plans for an SPM in order to provide more stability during the transition. They also wished to give the Secretariat as much time as possible to prepare for the post-MINUJUSTH presence.
The resolution was adopted with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (Russia and the Dominican Republic). They abstained for different reasons, and these reasons could come back into play during negotiations on the details of the SPM. The Dominican Republic was concerned that MINUJUSTH’s withdrawal would coincide with Haiti’s scheduled elections and potential instability. Russia maintained that Haiti’s human rights situation is not a threat to international peace and security and therefore disputed the use of Chapter VII, which authorises enforcement action in order to restore international peace and security, in this case related to human rights and justice. France and Germany countered this with direct references welcoming the use of Chapter VII for human rights monitoring. This difference may be a moot point given that SPMs are under Chapter VI.
Peru said that any exit strategy must consider the security conditions on the ground and the ability of Haiti to ensure security throughout its territory. It has voiced support for swift negotiations on the future mechanism and would like to see a robust SPM established with the necessary human and financial resources. Proposed German language about strengthening the resilience of Haiti with respect to climate change was not included, and further discussion on this can be anticipated in the context of a future resolution. China has already indicated in some public statements the importance with which it views unity on Haiti and so is likely to want to see a consensual text.
The US is the penholder on Haiti. At press time, a draft resolution had not yet been circulated but it is expected to happen soon.
UN DOCUMENTS ON HAITI
|Security Council Resolutions|
|12 April 2019S/RES/2466||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of MINUJUSTH for six months, until 15 October.|
|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.|
|1 March 2019S/2019/198||This latest 90-day implementation report called for in resolution 2410 and included results and recommendations from a Strategic Assessment Mission.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|12 April 2019S/PV.8510||This was a meeting at which resolution 2466, renewing the mandate of MINUJUSTH for six months, was adopted with 13 members voting in favour of the resolution and abstentions were cast by the Dominican Republic and Russia.|
|Security Council Letters|
|14 May 2019S/2019/387||This letter contained expanded recommendations from the Secretary-General for the Special Political Mission.|