Keeping Haiti Safe: Police Reform

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, September 12, 2011.

The International Crisis Group has released a report on the importance of police reforms for security in Haiti, meaning freedom from intimidation and abuse, conflict and violence, and crime and impunity.  The release comes during a time in which Brazil and other partner nations are increasingly contemplating a gradual drawdown of MINUSTAH staffing. This provides the Haitian government and its partners a window of opportunity to continue reforms that will make the Haitian National Police more effective and accountable.  The full report is attached and a summary is copied below.  

 

Overview:  Haiti’s porous land and sea borders remain susceptible to drug trafficking, smuggling and other illegal activities that weaken the rule of law and deprive the state of vital revenue. Post-quake insecurity underscores continued vulnerability to violent crime and political instability. Overcrowded urban slums, plagued by deep poverty, limited economic opportunities and the weakness of government institutions, particularly the Haitian National Police (HNP), breed armed groups and remain a source of broader instability. If the Martelly administration is to guarantee citizen safety successfully, it must remove tainted officers and expand the HNP’s institutional and operational capacity across the country by completing a reform that incorporates community policing and violence reduction programs.

 

The recent elections were only a first step toward determining the future of the country’s reconstruction and development. The real work now requires the political leadership – executive and legislative alike – to make meaningful efforts to address fundamental needs. Key to this is identification of common ground with the political opposition, grass roots communities and business elites, in order to reinforce a national consensus for transforming Haiti that prioritises jobs-based decentralisation, equal protection under the law and community security. President Michel Martelly declared Haiti open for business in his 14 May inaugural address, but a functioning, professional HNP is a prerequisite to move the country forward. Police reform has made significant strides but is far from complete after nearly five years. HNP deficiencies, along with the desire of Martelly supporters to restore the army and nationalistic opposition to the continued presence of the UN peacekeepers (MINUSTAH), contribute to proposals for creating a second armed force. Serious questions surround that problematic notion. If it is pursued, there must be wide consultation with civil society, including grassroots and community-based organisations, and particularly with victims of the old army’s abuses. But first it is paramount to continue strengthening the HNP, by:

 

1) Completing recruitment, including of women, training and full deployment;

 

2) Building police integrity by expediting the vetting process for all active duty officers and staff, including creating an appeals structure, so as to rid the force of those who do not meet standards because of human rights violations or criminal activity and to certify those who do, and by taking immediate action to suspend and if appropriate prosecute officers found to be involved in any serious crimes;

 

3) Revising the reform plan to focus on clearly defined areas for improving the quality of security the HNP provides and building community confidence, such as the training and strengthening of specialised units, crime investigation, border patrol and community policing, while UN police (UNPOL) more actively mentor those efforts;

 

4) Adopting an organic law for the state secretariat for public security that clarifies its role and those of the other executive branch bodies with responsibilities for the HNP; and

 

5) Linking police reform with the reconstruction efforts currently coordinated by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), by deploying better trained police to the provinces as economic decentralisation proceeds.

 

 

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Brazil Pledged to Help Haiti Build New Army (Xinhua - 7/27/12)

Brazil will help Haiti form a defense force that can eventually take over from the UN peacekeeping mission. Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim announced the decision during a meeting Thursday with his Haitian counterpart Jean Rodolphe Joazile. He said the Brazilian government would send a military mission to determine how Brazil could help the Caribbean country. "Haiti's government requested we cooperate in this manner. We are now trying to work on the ways the help can be given," Amorim said. Amorim said Brazil only agreed to help on condition the armed forces would not become a personal militia. He said he was assured by Joazile the new army would be a public force. "This is not about restituting the old army, against which these accusations were made, or building a model that works as a personal militia," he said.
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Amorim said Haitian officers might study engineering in Brazil, which would help the new Haitian military build professional and institutional capacity. Military engineering could help with civil defense - an important capacity for a country prone to natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes, he said. Amorim said, as the new collaboration with Haiti progressed, Brazil's participation in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) would be reduced. The Brazilian contingent in MINUSTAH was more than doubled after the massive earthquake which devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions in January 2010 and the country now has 2,000 soldiers in Haiti. "I do not know how long this will take, but the process of reducing the contingent in MINUSTAH has already started and will continue. It is not good for Haiti, the UN, or Brazil that the forces stay there in a permanent way," he said.
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But with the reduction of the military contingent, a local force must be formed to take over some of the peacekeeping forces' tasks, he said. In addition to security work, Haiti would also need to guard its borders and sea, as well as be able to deal with natural disasters, Amorim said. Brazil has been in command of the military component of MINUSTAH as well as the largest military contingent in the mission since it began in 2004. The mission was supposed to end in late 2010, but was extended by the UN amid concerns about stability in Haiti. Its current mandate extends until October 2012, which is likely to be renewed.

A New Haitian Army? Fears Abound. (Reuters - 3/9/2012)

By Joseph Guyler Delva
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For weeks, an armed band of former Haitian soldiers has occupied an old military camp in the capital, where they carry out military training in defiance of the government. "We took control of something that is ours. No one can force us to leave this place," said David Dorme, the leader of the group and a former sergeant in Haiti's army, which was disbanded in disgrace almost two decades ago. The camp and others that have sprung up in different parts of the country are the latest manifestations of a push to revive Haiti's army, which was long considered responsible for decades of human rights abuses and corruption, as well as a bloody military coup in 1991. The former soldiers have ignored appeals by President Michel Martelly to put down their weapons and leave the camp, where men brandishing assault rifles and handguns proclaim they are defending the nation's constitutional right. That may be in large part because Martelly has himself declared the army's reconstitution a central goal of his government, much to the dismay of Western governments that believe Haiti has far greater priorities in the wake of a devastating 2010 earthquake. Martelly faces mounting international pressure to take tougher action to evict and disarm the would-be soldiers before they grow any bolder and pose a threat to political stability. "We expect … concrete actions to put an end to this ad hoc process of regrouping, which is an unnecessary provocation," the head of the U.N. mission in Haiti, Mariano Fernandez, declared in an official statement last month. Martelly said recently that he had asked government officials to find ways to clear the sites being occupied by former soldiers and directed a commission to study the issue.
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The United Nations and major financial donors to Haiti's earthquake recovery question the country's need for an army, arguing that Haiti faces no external threats. Then there's the question of money, how Haiti could afford to assume the cost of arming and training even a small army. "Haiti doesn't have the money, and the international community has no appetite for funding something like this," said Mark Schneider, vice president of the International Crisis Group think tank, which monitors Haiti closely. U.N. officials also worry that talk of reviving the army could undermine international efforts to train and equip a new civilian police force, a key goal of the U.N. mission in Haiti. "The choice to re-create or not a force is a legitimate question and a sovereign decision," Fernandez conceded in his statement. "However, this initiative must not come at the expense of the capacity building and staffing of the National Police of Haiti." Haiti currently has a U.N.-trained police force of about 10,000, with plans to train another 5,000 to 6,000 over the next three years. But Martelly, a popular former folk singer who took office last May, argues that the army was never constitutionally dissolved and can be restored by presidential decree. He says it would be an important step back toward sovereignty in a country that for much of the past two decades has been overseen by U.N. forces and foreign aid agencies. Martelly announced his plan last November, on the anniversary of a major battle two centuries ago during Haiti's struggle for independence from France. "The dignity of the Haitian people is coming with the creation of the armed forces," he said. "The whole thing smells bad," said Jocelyn McCalla, a Haitian-American political strategist in New York, recalling Haiti's experience with a homegrown military, as well as offshoots such as the notorious National Security Volunteers, better known as Tonton Macoutes, during the dictatorships of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. In 2004, a ragtag rebel army that included former soldiers toppled then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and attempted to take power, until U.S. troops intervened to restore democracy. McCalla and others worry that any new military apparatus, together with a proposed intelligence service, could once again be used as a repressive force. The Martelly proposal appears to have some popular support. The U.N. peacekeeping mission has an image problem, with some of its members accused of being responsible for introducing a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010.

Haitian Military on Comeback Trail (Reuters - 3/1/2012)

For two weeks, an armed band of former Haitian soldiers has occupied an old military camp in the capital where they carry out military training in defiance of the government. "We took control of something that is ours. No one can force us to leave this place," said David Dorme, the leader of the group and a former army sergeant, even though Haiti's army was disbanded in disgrace almost two decades ago. The irregular camp and others that have sprung up in different parts of the country are the latest manifestations of a push to revive Haiti's army, which was long considered one of the most reprehensible in the Western hemisphere, responsible for decades of human rights abuses and corruption, as well as a bloody military coup in 1991. The former soldiers have ignored appeals by President Michel Martelly to put down their weapons and leave the Lamentin camp, where men brandishing assault rifles and handguns proudly proclaim they are defending the nation's constitutional right. That may be in large part because Martelly has himself declared the reconstitution of the army a central goal of his government, much to the chagrin of Western governments who believe Haiti has far greater priorities in the wake of a devastating earthquake two years ago.
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Martelly is under mounting international pressure to take tougher action to evict and disarm the would-be soldiers before they grow any bolder and pose a threat to political stability. "We expect ... concrete actions to put an end to this ad hoc process of regrouping, which is an unnecessary provocation," the head of the U.N. mission in Haiti, Mariano Fernandez, declared in an official statement last week. The United Nations and major financial donors to Haiti's earthquake recovery question the country's need for an army, arguing that Haiti faces no external threats. Then there's the question of money, and how Haiti could possibly afford to assume the cost of arming and training even a small army.
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"Haiti doesn't have the money, and the international community has no appetite for funding something like this," said Mark Schneider, vice president of the International Crisis Group think-tank, which monitors Haiti closely. The emergence of the irregular military training camps comes in the midst of a new political crisis. Prime Minister Garry Conille resigned last week after falling out with Martelly, plunging Haiti back into political paralysis and uncertainty. U.N. officials also worry that talk of reviving the army could undermine international efforts to train and equip a new civilian police force, a key goal of the U.N. mission in Haiti. "The choice to recreate or not a force is a legitimate question and a sovereign decision," Fernandez conceded in his statement. "However, this initiative must not come at the expense of the capacity building and staffing of the National Police of Haiti." Haiti currently has a U.N.-trained police force of about 10,000, with plans to train another 5,000-6,000 over the next three years.
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But Martelly, a popular former folk singer known as 'Sweet Mickey' who took office last May, argues that the army was never constitutionally dissolved and can be restored by presidential decree. He says it would be an important step to recover sovereignty to a country which for much of the last two decades has been overseen by U.N. forces and foreign aid agencies. Martelly announced his plan last November on the anniversary of a major battle two centuries ago during Haiti's struggle for independence from France. "The dignity of the Haitian people is coming with the creation of the armed forces," he said. A commission was set up to study the issue. Following consultations with other governments in the region, including oil-rich Venezuela, it is due to issue a report any day. In a meeting with a delegation of members from the U.N. Security Council last month, Martelly said the creation of an army was necessary to "fill the security vacuum" when the 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force eventually leaves Haiti. No one knows when that will be. The force, which is a mixture of troops and police, has been in Haiti for eight years under a mandate extended every October by the Security Council. Current plans are to maintain its presence for the foreseeable future, while gradually reducing its military component.
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In a speech last week in Miami, Haitian Defense Minister Thierry Mayard-Paul recognized the need to reinforce the police, but argued that the new army can be set up "in parallel". "It will not be an army that goes and fights. The goal is to have a force that can replace the U.N. and be prepared to handle natural disasters and other emergencies," he said, highlighting the need for specialized border and maritime units, an elite rapid reaction team, and an engineering corps. "We have to take our own destiny in our hands. We can't always be holding hands and asking for help from others." "The whole thing smells bad," said Jocelyn McCalla, a Haitian-American political strategist in New York, recalling Haiti's past experience with a home-grown military, as well as militia offshoots such as the notorious National Security Volunteers, better known as Tonton Macoutes, during the father-and-son dictatorship of Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, and his son, Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier. In 2004, a ragtag rebel army, made up partially of former soldiers, toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and attempted to take power, until U.S. troops intervened to restore democracy. McCalla and others worry any new military apparatus, together with a proposed intelligence service, could once again be used as a repressive force. "Some of the members of the Martelly government hail from that old guard of Duvalierists and most of them share the view that Haiti was better off with a strong executive who did not have to bother much with an opposition," said McCalla.
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The Martelly proposal appears to have some popular support. The U.N. peacekeeping mission has an image problem with some of its members accused of being responsible for introducing a deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010. Several peacekeepers have been accused of rape, and a recent survey of more than 800 households in Port-au-Prince found that a majority of respondents wanted the U.N. troops to leave. Former soldiers and many jobless youngsters are mobilizing apparently in the belief that the new force's creation is imminent. Dorme, the former sergeant, said some 6,000 ex-soldiers and jobless young men have contacted the Lamentin camp seeking to join the new army. He said many of them returned to their provincial regions, but they stand ready to join. He also said the constitution does not allow heavily-armed foreign soldiers to occupy Haitian territory. "We will stay here until U.N. soldiers leave the country." Dorme's group painted the gate of Lamentin camp with the French acronym of the Haitian Armed Forces, FAD'H. Some also wear brand new green and khaki uniforms. Although they refuse to provide details about their source of financial support, they appear to have enough funding in order to dress and feed the men attending training. "We do not have any problem with the authorities and the police. We do not intend to attack anybody. But if the police decide to attack us, we will provide a response and they will be responsible for any damage that would follow," Dorme said. "I hope they remember what happened in 2004. I hope they will think twice before doing anything like that." (Writing and additional reporting by David Adams; Editing by Tom Brown and Kieran Murray)

UN Says Haiti Police Force Best Body for Security (AP-2/16/2012)

By Trenton Daniel
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's national police force is the best body for providing security in this poor nation and the government should concentrate on building up the force, a senior U.S. diplomat said Thursday. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, commented on behalf of her U.N. Security Council colleagues as they wrapped up a four-day visit to meet with senior Haitian officials and view U.N. operations in Haiti. The U.N. focus on strengthening the understaffed national police is almost certain to complicate President Michel Martelly's push to restore Haiti's army, which was disbanded in 1995 because of its involvement in coups and history of abuse. The Haitian government, its international partners and the U.N. peacekeeping force "have invested in building the Haitian National Police as the body that can best provide daily protection for the Haitian people," Rice said at a news conference. "The goal has been set to increase it in the next five, three to five years, to another 15,000, 16,000 and perhaps more beyond that." Rice said the U.N. peacekeeping force will remain focused on increasing officer levels, "because that is the institution that exists, that is under way and has the best prospect in the near term of being capable of playing the (security) role" shared by peacekeepers and Haitian police. The United States, Canada and other countries have said Haiti should devote its limited resources to building the police force, which has just 8,000 officers in a country of 10 million people, and to rebuilding from the 2010 earthquake. Martelly argues that a new army is needed to patrol borders and protect the environment.
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Presidential spokesman Lucien Jura couldn't be reached for comment Thursday evening. The 15-member U.N. delegation visited the western port of Miragoane and the country's second biggest city, Cap-Haitien. In the north, the diplomats toured an industrial park and, Rice said, a "tragically overcrowded" prison and an "underperforming" court. On Thursday, the delegation went to a camp for people displaced by the earthquake and a hospital that houses a treatment center for cholera patients. The news conference coincided with a small street protest outside the international airport. About 80 demonstrators accused United Nations operations in Haiti of causing more harm than good. The U.N. mission and its peacekeepers have been blamed for introducing the cholera outbreak that has spread throughout Haiti and are also tied to allegations of abuse of children in the past year. "We take very seriously any instances of sexual abuse, exploitation and violence, especially those committed by U.N. personnel," Rice said. "They must and will be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetuators will be brought to justice." Several cases involving U.N. troops are under investigation. The U.N. set up the peacekeeping force in Haiti in 2004 to provide stability following the overthrow of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The mandate for the force of 11,000 soldiers will come up before the Security Council for renewal in October.

At End of Visit, Security Council Focuses on Police Reform

2/16/2012
UN News Service
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Police reform and the living conditions of Haitians who remain displaced after the January 2010 earthquake were the focus of the final day of the Security Council’s four-day visit to the impoverished Caribbean country. Council ambassadors this morning visited a police academy where instructors from the Haitian National Police (HNP) have been trained by UN Police serving with the world body’s peacekeeping mission to the country (MINUSTAH), according to information from a UN spokesperson. MINUSTAH has been working closely with the HNP in recent years to train its staff and reform its structure. The ambassadors also met with internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the Carradeux camp in the capital, Port-au-Prince, where they assessed the living conditions and the work done by both peacekeepers and humanitarian staff to help residents. Thousands of IDPs still live in temporary camps across Haiti, two years after the massive quake flattened much of the country’s infrastructure and killed more than 200,000 people. Later, the Council delegation travelled to a cholera treatment centre for a briefing on the cholera epidemic which struck the country in late 2010 and has since killed almost 7,000 people. The ambassadors have been visiting Haiti to examine the state of progress since the quake, particularly in reconstruction, job creation and capacity building. They are also evaluating the mandate of MINUSTAH, which has been in place since 2004.

UN Opens Probe Into Cases of Alleged Child Exploitation

1/23/2012
UN News Service
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The United Nations announced today that it is investigating two cases of sexual exploitation of children allegedly committed by its police personnel in Haiti. The first case involves UN Police (UNPOL) officers based in the capital, Port-au-Prince, while the second case involves one or more members of the Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Gonaives, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York. “The United Nations is outraged by these allegations and takes its responsibility to deal with them extremely seriously,” stated Mr. Nesirky. He added that the police contributing countries concerned have been informed. However, unlike cases involving UN military personnel, investigations into allegations involving UN police personnel fall under the responsibility of the UN. For this reason, a UN team was dispatched to Haiti on Saturday to investigate the allegations. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) stated in a news release that an investigation was immediately opened after the allegations were made. In addition, the UN Police Commissioner relieved the two suspects of their duties as a precaution to prevent them from having any contact with the population and to prevent any attempts to interfere with the investigation.
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“I want to reiterate my commitment to uphold the policy of zero tolerance of abuse by the staff of the Mission” said Mariano Fernández, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH. “Each member of the UN personnel, whether he or she is a civilian, member of the military or police, must observe a standard of exemplary conduct. “This is a commitment that is required when joining the United Nations, anywhere in the world. We will continue to take the strictest measures to ensure, where appropriate, that the perpetrators of such acts are punished with the utmost severity,” he added. The UN has a strategy in place to assist victims of exploitation and sexual abuse. In Haiti, MINUSTAH implements it in coordination with other UN agencies and national stakeholders. This mechanism is meant to guarantee that the victims receive medical and psychological support as fast as possible.

New Allegations of Abuse by UN Police in haiti (1/23/2012)

Associated Press
By ANITA SNOW
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UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. is investigating two new allegations of U.N. police abuse and "sexual exploitation" of children in Haiti, spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday. One case involves U.N. police officers in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, Nesirky said. They have been removed from duty while under investigation, he added. The second case involves one or more members of a police unit in the northern city of Gonaives. Nesirky did not release the nationalities of the police or provide any other details. "The United Nations is outraged by these allegations and takes its responsibilities to deal with them extremely seriously," Nesirky said. He said the organization's mission in Haiti alerted U.N. headquarters in New York last week about the allegations. The new charges of abuse come just months after six Uruguayan troops with the U.N. peacekeeping force in the Caribbean country were accused of raping a young Haitian man. That case has been referred to the Uruguayan judicial system. Nesirky said that while home countries investigate military members of peacekeeping missions, the U.N. investigates police officers.
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Allegations of abuse have dogged U.N. peacekeeping missions since their inception over 50 years ago. The issue was thrust into the spotlight after the United Nations found in early 2005 that peacekeepers in Congo had sex with Congolese women and girls, usually in exchange for food or small sums of money. The U.N. peacekeeping department instituted a "zero tolerance" policy toward sexual abuse, a new code of conduct for its more than 110,000 peacekeepers deployed around the world, and new training for officers and all U.N. personnel. Nonetheless, allegations of sexual abuse persist. Among the key reasons that Ban Ki-moon won U.S. backing to become U.N. Secretary-General in January 2007 was his pledge to restore the U.N.'s reputation - battered by corruption in purchasing and sexual abuses by peacekeepers - through effective oversight.

Eight Guilty for Prison Massacre in Rare Trial of Haiti's Police

1/19/2012
New York Times
By DEBORAH SONTAG and WALT BOGDANICH
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In a country where officials who abuse their power are almost never held accountable, 8 of 14 police officers tried for a 2010 prison massacre were found guilty on Thursday in the southern city of Les Cayes, Haiti. Andres Martinez Casares for The New York Times Ersilio Noel, in plaid, and seven other Haitians were convicted Thursday in a 2010 massacre. On the second anniversary of the massacre, Judge Ezekiel Vaval handed down sentences ranging from 2 to 13 years of imprisonment and hard labor. The stiffest sentences were given to the highest-ranking officials, the former Les Cayes prison warden, Sylvestre Larack, and the city’s riot police chief, Olritch Beaubrun, who was tried in absentia. Judge Vaval, who received frequent death threats during the three-month trial and traveled to New York over the holidays to write his decision free from pressure, delivered his verdicts to an initially hushed crowd of hundreds packing the courtroom. He spoke rapidly, looking off into the distance, and then rapidly departed as the audience erupted into cheers and jeers. “The decision of the judge is his expression of the truth,” Judge Vaval said. “There are other versions that exist but this is mine. And that is the law.” While it was a rough-hewn legal proceeding by American standards, the trial, having taken place at all, represents a rare victory for the rule of law in Haiti. Haitian government officials who break the law, be they police officers or presidents, typically elude justice, benefiting from a weak, corrupt judicial system.
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“Wow, this is a real landmark moment for Haitian justice,” said William O’Neill, an American human rights lawyer with decades of experience in Haiti. “To get some senior law enforcement officials held accountable with fairly serious sentences — it’s really historic.” Fourteen officers were charged with murder, attempted murder and other crimes for killing and wounding dozens of detainees in the aftermath of a disturbance on Jan. 19, 2010, a week after the earthquake. The officers opened fire on unarmed inmates “deliberately and without justification,” according to an independent commission. That commission, run jointly by the Haitian government and the United Nations, was appointed after an investigation by The New York Times in May 2010 contradicted the official explanation for the deaths at the prison. Initially, the Haitian government had accepted the local officials’ explanation that a single detainee had killed his fellow inmates before escaping. Mr. Larack, in fact, was promoted after the massacre to run the largest penitentiary in the country; when the Times reporters tried to speak with him there, he ordered them to destroy videotape of him refusing to answer questions. And Mr. Beaubrun, before leaving the country for what his lawyer said were medical reasons, told the reporters that his riot squad had never fired a shot. But The Times found that police and prison officers had shot unarmed prisoners, and witnesses at trial said that Mr. Beaubrun himself not only had ordered the shootings but had participated in them. The Times also reported that the police had moved some bodies before outside investigators showed up and had hurriedly buried some victims in unmarked graves. The joint commission then conducted an investigation — although hindered by the authorities’ initial failures to collect and preserve evidence — and prodded the government to prosecute the offenders.
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The prosecutor, Jean-Marie J. Salomon, charged that officers had killed 20 detainees, but the precise number of deaths and injuries is not known. Testifying at the trial, one detainee, Patrick Olcine, said he had been shot in the back but had never gone to the hospital. “They were taking dead people and living people, and they were picking them up together,” he said. “I didn’t want them to pick me up and go bury me.” By American standards, the trial often had a circuslike atmosphere, with protracted quarrels between screaming lawyers playing to the raucous crowds that daily packed a theater in Les Cayes, Haiti’s third-largest city. Small bottles of rum were on sale at the door, the trial was conducted in semidarkness when fuel for the generator ran out and the judge, lacking a gavel, rang a small bell in an often futile effort to gain control of the courtroom. Mr. Salomon inherited the case when he was appointed shortly before the trial. He had never tried a case before, and trial observers said he was often outmatched by highly seasoned defense lawyers.
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The defense maintained that the police were just doing their jobs. “But killing people was not doing their job,” said Florence Elie, Haiti’s ombudsman. The prosecutor asked the judge to sentence 11 of the defendants, including Mr. Larack, to life in prison and hard labor. But Ms. Elie said that the judge, who acquitted six of the officers, chose an equitable middle ground in his decision. He gave Mr. Larack 7 years and Mr. Beaubrun 13. “If they were civilians, they would have gotten life,” Ms. Elie said. “But the judge was wise. If he had given the normal sentence, we would have had bigger problems in the long run with our police force.” Still, Ms. Elie said she was very concerned about reprisals because the witnesses, the judge and the prosecutor had not been given protection, as recommended by the joint commission. The chief witness for the prosecution was threatened repeatedly and finally fled to Port-au-Prince, she said, adding that she had not been able to locate him since. Many Haitians wonder whether this trial could have a galvanizing effect on their justice system, but they are wary of being hopeful. Far bigger cases lie on the horizon. Former President Jean-Claude Duvalier, for instance, has supposedly been under investigation since his return from exile a year ago for human rights abuses committed during his 15-year reign. But the investigation appears to have stalled, and the new president, Michel Martelly, has shown no inclination to encourage it. Instead, Mr. Martelly has claimed that nobody in Haiti wants to see Mr. Duvalier prosecuted and that the push to do so comes from “certain institutions and governments” abroad. Although supposedly confined to his house, Mr. Duvalier has made increasingly frequent excursions, and presided over a promotion ceremony at the Gonaïves law school last month. But on Thursday, a judge summoned Mr. Duvalier to court to explain why he had violated his house arrest.

Female Police Officers Serve Vital Roles (MINUSTAH-1/18/2012)

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Female police officers play an integral role in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Their contributions extend across the spectrum of functions alongside those of their male counterparts. Data collected from the United Nations Police (UNPol) Personnel Database, as well as thoughts by female officers, provide a snapshot of their contributions at this moment in time. Currently there are 324 female officers serving in either United Nations Police (UNPol) assignments or Formed Police Units (FPU). In regards to UNPol officers, 62 out of 151 female UNPol officers serve within the Operations, HNP Development, and Police Commissioner’s Pillars of the UNPol component. These officers fill 12% of positions across a spectrum of 34 different assignments ranging from gender advocates, Reporting Officers, and close protection officers to name but a few. Female officers also occupy key supervisory positions such as the Team Leader of the Audit and Inspection Unit, as well as serving as the Executive Officers in the Chief of Staff and Police Commissioner’s office. Female UNPol officers also serve throughout the different regions in Haiti. The highest concentrations of female UNPols serve in the West Region, composing 13% of total officers, including those working in IDP Camps. Outside the West Region, 8% of UNPol officers are female. Females serve in a variety of assignments ranging from Police Monitors to IDP Camp Officers and Support Officers. Female UNPol officers also serve in a variety of leadership positions such as Department Chief, Chief of Reporting, Mobile Teams Coordinator, and Permanent Camps Coordinator. Overall, female UNPols comprise 11% of the officers in all ten regions of Haiti. Another area where female officers have made significant contributions to the MINUSTAH is the Formed Police Units (FPU). At this time, 173 female officers serving in Haiti work in an FPU assignment constituting 8% of total FPU officers. One FPU Unit, the Bangladesh FPU 2, is the only majority female unit, consisting of 68% women officers. The Bangladesh FPU 2 arrived in Haiti in May of 2010 and assisted in post-earthquake efforts. The tasks that the FPU 2 carry out include static and mobile security, coordination with other FPU units, and conducting checkpoint operations. Additionally, the unit has provided Haitians with free food, medicine, and medical treatment during this rotation. This assistance is part of an outreach by the government of Bangladesh.
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The fact that the Bangladesh FPU 2 is composed of a majority of women has not been a problem according to Senior Captain Sultana Farman Mafi, Deputy Commander of the unit. One of the positive aspects of the number of women has been the approachability by Haitian women and children. “Ladies and children approach females easily,” Mafi stated. According to Captain Mafi and Senior Captain Masuma Akter, Liaison Relations Officer of the Bangladesh FPU, the unit has received positive reaction from other FPU units and the men and women of Haiti. An interesting dynamic was observed between the women of the Bangladesh FPU and the UNPol FPU Coordinator, Darlene Jackson. Jackson, who has served 2 years now in Haiti, when asked previously about her experiences as a female in Haiti, drew particular attention to her relationship with the Bangladesh FPU 2 and her role as a mentor, both as a female and an officer. Jackson stated, “These women see me and believe if I (Jackson) can make it then they can.” When discussing this relationship with the two Bangladesh 2 FPU members, they opened up and became very effusive in their joy of working with Jackson. Both members stated that they knew of Jackson in Bangladesh before coming to Haiti. Female officers are a vital component of the MINUSTAH UNPol mission, composing a sizable number of members. The relationships between female members of both UNPol and FPU mutually support, assist, and empower one another thereby serving as force multipliers for each other’s edification. All are to be commended for their efforts.
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Author : Billy Young- MINUSTAH UNPol
Edited: Johnny Richards – Reporting Unit Chief
Haiti

Report on Alleged Killings by HNP and Government Response

12/27/2011
OHCHR
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GENEVA/PORT-AU-PRINCE – The UN’s human rights presence in Haiti on Tuesday urged Haitian authorities to properly investigate and prosecute police officers suspected of unlawful killings and torture, after two UN reports raised concerns that the illegal use of force by officers in the Haitian National Police (HNP) may have led to the deaths of nine people in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area between October 2010 and June this year. The reports released by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)/the Human Rights Section of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (HRS-MINUSTAH) detail investigations into six incidents in which approximately 20 members of the HNP were implicated in the deaths of nine Haitians. The Human Rights Section regularly receives allegations of illegal killings involving the national police and investigates cases considered emblematic. In all the incidents investigated, there is reason for concern that the deaths may have been the result of illegal use of force by the police. In some instances, there are indications of extra-judicial or summary and arbitrary executions. In one case, a 44 year-old man, Serge Démosthène, was reportedly beaten to death by police personnel, at times in the presence of senior police and judicial officials and while inside one of Haiti’s most prominent police stations during daytime. “Many police officers operate in what are sometimes very dangerous conditions,” the report notes. “However, the security of Haitian citizens and effective law enforcement depend substantially on the Haitian National Police.”
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“It is urgent that the Government take action to prevent killings, including extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, by representatives of the Haitian National Police and ensure rapid and effective investigations where deaths do occur, with a view to punishing those police officers responsible or clearing their responsibility where the circumstances and legal justifications for lethal force exist. Such action is essential not only to ensure protection of the rights to life and physical integrity of Haitian citizens, but also to reinforce public confidence and trust in an essential institution, such as the Haitian National Police.” The reports also describe actions taken by the State to respond to violations. Positively, in most cases the Haitian National Police internal affairs unit initiated investigations and a judicial official assessed the scene of the incident. In some cases, accused police personnel were suspended and detained, and criminal justice investigations were launched. However, the UN Human Rights office regrets the lack of any criminal convictions in any of the incidents. In several cases, the suspended police personnel resumed their functions even before the end of investigations into their conduct. “Autopsies and ballistic analyses are not systematically conducted in investigations,” the report noted further. “Witnesses are often afraid of the consequences of giving testimony and convinced that justice will not be rendered.” The report also noted that the head and deputy head of the police internal affairs unit had been removed from their functions. In both reports, the UN Human Rights office and MINUSTAH have called on the Government to ensure thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into all cases of suspected illegal use of force by the police, and for the officers responsible to be brought to justice. The United Nations remains committed to keep providing technical and logistical support, including human rights training and vetting of police personnel, to strengthen the capacity of the Haitian National Police. For further information or media inquiries, please contact Ravina Shamdasani on +41229179310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org.
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Costa Rica: Haiti President's Army Plan an Error (12/5/2011)

Associated Press
By TRENTON DANIEL
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Nobel laureate Oscar Arias has advised Haitian President Michel Martelly that it would be an "error" to restore the disbanded army, according to a letter delivered to presidential offices on Monday. In the two-page letter dated Nov. 28, the two-time president of Costa Rica tells Martelly that armed forces in the region have records of thwarting progress and quashing democratic values, and that the $25 million Martelly has proposed for the new military should be invested in education, health and strengthening other institutions. "I seek not to show disrespect for the sovereignty of a sister nation, but simply to share advice I see written on the wall of human history," Arias wrote in the letter shared with The Associated Press. "In Latin America, most armies are enemies of development, enemies of peace and enemies of freedom." The Haitian army was disbanded in 1995 because of its history of abuse, a move that was applauded by Arias' own foundation. First-time politican Martelly said he wants to fulfill a campaign pledge of reviving the army in an effort to restore national pride. He also envisions a force that will patrol Haiti's porous border with the neighboring Dominican Republic, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters. But the United States and Canada have said that the money for the military would be better spent on strengthening the police force, which has 8,000 officers in a country of 10 million. Canada added that it wouldn't help pay for the new military and that Haiti has more pressing needs as it struggles to recover from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake almost two years ago.
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Martelly later conceded that Haiti had other priorities, namely improvements to the country's health care and education sectors, but that he stills sees a need for the armed force. Martelly last month announced that he would form a commission to define the agenda of the military but that has yet to materialize. In his letter, Arias turns to history to show why he believes Haiti doesn't need an army. He notes how Costa Rica was once bordered by two countries with dictatorships but its absence of an army, he wrote, allowed the nation to be viewed as an ally. And since 1995, when Costa Rica's neighbor, Panama, disbanded its army, the two nations have shared "the most peaceful border in the world," wrote Arias, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his peacemaking efforts in Central America. "It is not by chance that these two countries also have the most successful economies in Central America, because the money we once spent on our armies is (now) invested in the education of our children and the health of our citizens," Arias wrote. He added: "To reinstall the army would be an error, and that is why I cannot keep silent." Martelly spokesman Lucien Jura couldn't be reached for comment Monday night.

Haitian President Delays Controversial Army Plan (11/19/11)

CBS News/Miami
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Haitian President Michel Martelly is delaying a controversial plan to reinstate the Haitian army, and is choosing instead to set up a special commission to decide. Martelly said Friday that his decision to delay a presidential decree reestablishing the disbanded army was not a rejection of the idea, CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported. He said the commission will have 40 days to report back on the new army’s configuration and set a calendar for its reinstatement. “Haiti must ensure the integrity of its territory and its national security,” Martelly said as he stood in the Champ de Mars, a public plaza turned sprawling tent city across from the broken presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. The return of the army had been one of his campaign promises. There are mixed reactions to Martelly’s long-awaited decision. While some see it as bowing to strong international pressure against the idea, others say it may be a way to win over the United States and others who oppose the rebirth of the army. Haiti’s disreputable military was dismissed in 1995 by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after he return from exile following a bloody 1991 military-led coup d’état, the Herald reported. But the army, accused of human rights abuses, was never constitutionally dissolved and part of it was kept as a music band. Martelly can simply reinstate it as a real army with a decree.

Haiti's Army - Ghost of Bloody Past Set for Revival (11/17/2011)

Reuters
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No one disputes that Haiti needs battalions of builders, developers and investors to help it rise from the ruins of last year's earthquake. But does it need a gun-toting Haitian army? With debris from the catastrophe still clogging Haiti's capital and nearby towns, a plan by President Michel Martelly to bring back to life an armed forces disbanded 16 years ago is triggering potentially divisive political and social tremors. Critics at home and abroad question the need to revive an entity associated with corruption, coups, abuse and killings in the Western Hemisphere's poorest and most volatile state. Major western donors, which fund a U.N. peacekeeping force of more than 12,000 in Haiti and are also shouldering the Caribbean nation's reconstruction burden after the 2010 earthquake, are balking at the idea of having to finance and train a reconstituted army. "Given the history of Haiti's military, their existence alone could be considered a threat to security," Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research think tank, told Reuters. "A brigade of construction workers would do far more good," the Miami Herald said in an editorial this week, reflecting a chorus of foreign opposition to Martelly's army plan. Major donors like the United States, Canada and the United Nations acknowledge that Haiti has the sovereign right to have its own army, but have strongly signaled they feel there are more important reconstruction priorities to attend to. This includes the urgent task of rehousing around half a million homeless quake victims still living in precarious tent camps in the wrecked capital Port-au-Prince, and an ongoing cholera epidemic that has killed more than 6,700 Haitians. Despite the negative reaction, Martelly, a shaven-headed former pop star and charismatic nationalist elected in March, is pushing ahead with fulfilling a campaign promise to restore the Haitian army as part of an ambitious program to rebrand development basket case Haiti as a Caribbean success story. He is expected to formally announce the army's restoration on Friday, Armed Forces Day, commemorating an 1803 battle in which rebels defeated French colonial forces and opened the way for Haiti to become the first independent black republic. The Haitian army was abolished in 1995 by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a left-wing populist who was ousted by a military coup in 1991 only months into his first presidency.
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Martelly's draft plans to restore the army and build it into a 3,500-strong force at an initial cost of $95 million have circulated in recent weeks, along with a proposal for a national spy service. "The force will be set up, but it won't be done with any rush," Martelly said in a recent interview with state television. He said his government would first ensure it created the necessary military infrastructure and obtained equipment and weaponry, blocked at the moment by remaining U.S. restrictions on arms exports to Haiti. "If we have an army and we have no weapons, we don't have an army," Martelly said. This has not stopped enthusiastic prospective recruits from training in makeshift assault courses run by ex-soldiers. Martelly argues Haiti needs its own defense force to protect its national borders and eventually take over from the U.N. peacekeeping force (MINUSTAH), whose image has been tarnished by recent scandals. MINUSTAH is already reducing its numbers amid hopes it can be withdrawn in the next few years. The president has tapped into popular resentment against the presence since 2004 of MINUSTAH, which some Haitians view as foreign occupiers in a land proud to be the world's first black republic born in 1804 out of a bloody slave revolt. "If they say we don't need an army, I wonder why we have foreign soldiers on our soil," said Maxo Benoit, a 24-year-old medical student in Port-au-Prince.
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Anger against the international peacekeepers, already simmering over evidence that Nepalese U.N. troops brought the deadly cholera epidemic to the quake-ravaged nation, increased after some Uruguayan troops were accused in September of raping a Haitian man. The U.N. is investigating the incident. "It does seem Martelly has sought to channel anti-MINUSTAH sentiment to bolster support for the reactivation of the armed forces," Weisbrot said, but he added that the move could backfire, because of internal divisions over the army plan. "The risk is that with this move, Haiti's bitter, longstanding divisions, which are never far from the surface, could come back with a vengeance," Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank, told Reuters. Haiti expert Robert Fatton of the University of Virginia said in a recent academic paper shared with Reuters it seemed powerful sectors in the elite and political class supported Martelly's initiative. Fatton recalled that Haiti's history was still stained with the bloody memories of feared private militias: the dreaded Tonton Macoutes of former father and son dictators Francois 'Papa Doc' and Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, and the "chimeres' gangs that intimidated opponents of Aristide. "I am afraid a new army and a spy agency are likely to revive the seeds of authoritarianism still germinating in the Haitian political terrain," he wrote in a paper to the Haitian Studies Association of the University of the West Indies. "The strong likelihood is that (they) would end up devouring scarce resources, stamping out dissent, silencing opponents, and ultimately becoming a tool of internal repression," Fatton added. Victims of previous abuses by the old military have echoed these fears, as have some Haitian lawmakers. With donor financing, the United Nations is already training a renovated Haitian National Police, which has expanded to 10,000, although experts believe its number will need to be doubled to be able to effectively keep the peace by itself. "The way forward is really to focus on the Haitian National Police and their being able to get stronger and larger and more capable at doing their jobs," a senior U.S. official said last month when asked about Martelly's plan to revive the army. Fatton and other analysts said Haiti's main security threat was not an external aggressor but crime, including transnational drug-trafficking gangs, and that this should be the responsibility of the expanding police force. Despite its unpopularity, the U.N. peacekeeping mission was important, Fatton said: "It is at the moment the only force that can keep a relative sense of security in the country." He said Martelly's determined insistence on pursuing the army's restoration could rekindle fears that surfaced during his election campaign about his links with former military figures and about a potential messianic authoritarian streak. The former entertainer swept to his March election victory with an energetic message of change carried in his campaign slogan "Tet-Kale," a Creole play on words that invokes Martelly's shaven head and also signifies "all the way." "The danger is Martelly may assume that his electoral triumph and his current popularity, as well as his image as a man of action, will give him carte blanche to do as he pleases ... To that extent (Martelly)'s rise to the presidency raises questions about Haiti's democratic future," Fatton wrote. But for some jobless young Haitians, a new army offers hope: "Maybe I can be one of the soldiers," said Jonel Metelus, a resident of Port-au-Prince's poor Martissant neighborhood. (Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Haiti to Restore Army Despite Resistance (AP - 11/11/2011)

By TRENTON DANIEL
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- President Michel Martelly is going forward with a plan to restore his country's disbanded army even though diplomats have told him their countries will not fund the project, a senior government official told The Associated Press. Martelly recently met with diplomats, including representatives of the U.S., European Union and Brazil, who suggested shoring up the national police rather than devoting resources to an army, given its long history of human rights abuses. Martelly was not persuaded, the official said. The president was somewhat dismissive when told by the diplomats that the international community would not pay for the new army. "He said, 'Who asked you to pay for my army?,'" according to the official, who agreed to discuss the matter Thursday night only if not quoted by name because he was not authorized to talk publicly about the meeting. The president plans to issue a decree Nov. 18 that will reinstate the army under the command of a former colonel and will ask hundreds of former soldiers to reapply, the official said. The force will initially total about 500 soldiers intended to guard the borders, help fight drug trafficking, protect the country's few remaining forests from illegal timber harvesting and help in natural disasters, the official said. It will take shape in June. "We are going to act surely and slowly," the official told AP. "We aren't going to do anything in a hurry." Martelly, whose government relies on international aid to finance most of its activities, said at the meeting that he would find a way to raise the money for the military. Both Martelly and his opponent in this year's runoff election pledged to restore Haiti's military, an idea that resonates with many Haitians who see such a force as a source of national pride, potential jobs and a way to keep order in a chaotic country. Some also see it as a replacement for the nearly 13,000 U.N. peacekeepers who came to Haiti after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in 2004. But it is also an idea that frightens many people inside and outside Haiti, where the army frequently inserted itself into politics and became a tool of repression. Aristide disbanded the army in 1995, after he was ousted by a military coup in 1991 and then restored to power three years later with the help of the U.S. Former members of the military and political opponents assert that his decree was not valid because it violated the constitution. Martelly's administration said in a report sent to various embassies that it would need $95 million to launch its new military force. The new plan, presented last month at the National Palace, carries a more modest, $25 million price tag. Martelly issued a statement Saturday calling it a "new public security force." The government plans to pay for the project by taking money from other government ministries. The army will be run by the Interior Ministry, the official said. Each department will be required to pay between 1 percent to 5 percent of its budget, the official said. Inevitably, the bulk of that money will come from outside sources, which provide 60 percent to 70 percent of the government's $2 billion budget. Jon Piechowski, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, said in a statement that the United States, the Haitian government and other countries with embassies in Haiti agreed that the Haitian National Police, known by its acronym HNP, should be the center of foreign support instead of the army.
The important thing here is that the U.S. and Haitian government and the rest of the international community are all in agreement that the HNP should remain the focal point of efforts to improve security and rule of law," Piechowski wrote in an email.
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Referring to the army as a "civil defense corps," he said it would not detract from efforts to strengthen the police. The police force, which has only 8,500 officers in a country of 10 million people, has been the focus of international efforts at reform. One Martelly opponent said building a new army will come at the expense of the police. "The president needs to stop pushing for the army and reinforce the national police," said Sen. Moise Jean-Charles, a vocal critic of the president. "The police could provide security throughout the whole country." The date set for Martelly to announce the decree, Nov. 18, is a national holiday marking the last major fight between Haitian and French forces before Haiti secured its independence in 1804. He is expected to tell hundreds of former soldiers and their followers to stay calm. In recent months, bands of ex-soldiers have been training camouflage-clad would-be recruits in the capital and countryside with the hopes of re-enlisting or securing a job, raising concerns among international officials and Martelly opponents like Jean-Charles that they could be used as private militias. On Tuesday, Samson Chery, a former sergeant who has led several dozen soldiers in the hills above Port-au-Prince in weekly training exercises, met with government officials along with his colleagues. He said Friday by telephone that he looked forward to the army's official return. "The minute the decree comes out we will wait for orders," Chery said. "And we will march." Their eagerness to enlist, however, is of concern to Martelly, said the government official. "This horrifies Martelly and he doesn't condone this," said the government official.

Why Haiti Does Not Need a New $95 Million Army (11/2/2011)

Bloomberg
By Amy Wilentz
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As one of his first executive acts, Haiti’s new president, Michel Martelly, has asked donor nations to help him re-establish the army that was disbanded by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide 16 years ago. The initial cost: $95 million, which will go, Martelly says, to a starter force of 3,500. At best, Martelly’s priorities are confused. At worst, they are ominous. He is proposing to spend a lot of money on a militia that Haiti doesn’t need when the country is still in shambles because of the 2010 earthquake. Worse, he is reconstituting an institution that was used, from the 1950s onwards, almost exclusively as a tool of oppression. Elected by a huge margin last spring, Martelly ought to make completing Haiti’s recovery from the earthquake his first order of business. More than 500,000 Haitians remain homeless in the quake’s aftermath, living in squalid tent camps that punctuate Port-au-Prince and its environs. Government offices -- the presidential palace, the prime minister’s office, the ministries of finance and justice, the legislative building, and the bureau of taxation -- are in ruins. Electricity is still unreliable in Port-au- Prince, and more erratic in the provinces. Sanitation is minimal in the capital; a cholera epidemic -- death toll 6,600 -- rages into its second year.
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It’s easy to understand, if not forgive, Martelly’s interest in an army, especially given Haiti’s history. Because independence from France in 1804 was hard fought and hard won by the slave generals who were the country’s founding fathers, the idea of an army has always been dear to Haitians. Without a military, it was thought, Haiti would be open to another conquest by foreign forces. After independence, Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic fought a few battles. By 1915, Haiti’s army was so dysfunctional that 330 U.S. Marines were able to take over the country without military resistance. The U.S., which occupied Haiti for the next 19 years, disbanded the army and created a replacement called the gendarmerie or “garde,” which fought alongside the Marines against Haitian guerrillas who opposed the U.S. presence. After the Americans left, the army that evolved from the “garde” continued the tradition of using its arms solely against fellow Haitians in the service of whatever regime was in charge. Eventually, its officers developed their own taste for power. They would take interim control, choose the next president and oust him, then the strongest among them would run for president. When the ruthless dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier became president in 1957, he countered the army’s power by establishing his own force. The Volunteers for National Security -- or Tontons Macoutes, as they were called -- were a dangerous secret police loyal only to him. After Duvalier’s son and successor was ousted in 1986, the Tontons Macoutes were disbanded, though never properly disarmed. In 1995, Aristide dissolved the army, officially because of its repugnant human-rights record. At the same time, he hadn’t forgotten that the army had participated in a 1991 coup that ended his first term in office. The weapons of the army, like those of the Tontons Macoutes, were never thoroughly confiscated.
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Today, Haiti’s internal security is overseen by the seven-year-old United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. The 12,000-person force suppresses unrest and helps Haitian police cope with crime, including kidnappings and drug trafficking. The mission won’t stay forever, of course, and has already drawn down its numbers, from 13,000. Clearly, Haiti will need a way of ensuring its own security. Martelly says he wants to re-establish the army as a supplement to the still weak Haitian national police, a force that the UN, along with various aid groups, has been trying to professionalize for more than 10 years. And he believes reviving the military is a way to address unemployment, officially estimated at around 50 percent but probably much higher. These, however, are not good reasons to raise an army in Haiti. The solution to a weak police force is to strengthen the police. The solution to joblessness is jobs, not barracks. Haiti’s security concerns are domestic ones, best handled by a well-trained police force. The nation’s one short frontier, with the Dominican Republic, is quiet and can be patrolled by a small border guard. The only serious external interventions in the past century have come from the U.S. and the UN, and against them, any Haitian army would be powerless.
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What a resurrected army could do is precisely what Haiti doesn’t need again. I was shot at by the Haitian army several times in the late 1980s, when I was reporting on popular resistance to the military regimes that followed the fall of Duvalier. Not only did the soldiers open fire on unarmed demonstrators, but they followed as I fled with the protesters into the shantytowns, and continued shooting. They went from house to house, looking for demonstrators, beating some and imprisoning others. Michel Martelly needs to think in original ways about how to run his exhausted country, rather than hew to worn- out Haitian traditions of macho and militarism. If he wants to build a brigade, let him build a street-building, house- constructing, sewer-digging, tree-planting brigade. Let him upgrade the sorry Haitian police. He can start by paying them decent wages, which will improve morale and thus performance and make them less prone to corruption. Certainly the $95 million that Martelly hopes to raise from donors in order to build an army could provide thousands of jobs and many services and improvements that Haiti sorely needs. Maybe he could look for funds to train and pay teachers, which is what Haiti really requires to build its future. Instead, Martelly wants to use $15 million of the $95 million he seeks to pay pensions to ex- soldiers, many of whom are sworn enemies of Haiti’s democracy. These are neither judicious nor innovative steps for the first president elected in post-earthquake Haiti. (Amy Wilentz is the author of “The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier.” The opinions expressed are her own.)

President's Plan to Restore Army Faces UN Hurdle (10/26/2011)

Associated Press
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The top U.N. official in Haiti says the government's plan to restore the army will require a new agreement with the world body. Head of U.N. Mission Mariano Fernandez tells The Associated Press the existing agreement has no provision to allow peacekeepers to work with a Haitian military. Fernandez says the Security Council would need to change the mandate. Fernandez is in charge of the 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers who have kept order in Haiti since 2004. He said Monday the country has been making progress in reducing political conflict. He praised President Michel Martelly for recent meetings with former leaders. Haiti's army was disbanded in 1995 after years of abuse and military coups.

Three Years In, Haitian Police Academy Remains Unbuilt

10/12/2011
Postmedia News
By Lee Berthiaume - October 12, 2011
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Three years after Canada pledged $18 million to build a national police academy in Haiti, not a single brick has been laid. This is despite assertions from the International Crisis Group think-tank and others that a strong police force is essential to the Caribbean nation's development, particularly after the January 2010 earthquake. "It's certainly a disappointment," said Timothy Donais, an expert on Haiti at Wilfrid Laurier University. "The fact is police training is an area where Canada was supposed to be taking a lead among donor countries." The national police academy project was announced initially in October 2008 as part of a five-year, $555 million Canadian commitment to help Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country, following decades of authoritarian rule. Canadian government documents say the project is to be located on a 15-hectare plot of land near the city of Ganthier, about 30 kilometres west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The academy is to accommodate about 300 students between the ages of 25 and 45, with 70% being men and 30% women. There will be about 20 buildings, which vary from one to four storeys and will include sports and training facilities. Donais said the Haitian national police force is shaped like a barbell, with a large number of personnel at the very top and bottom of the chain of command, but few mid-level officers. The academy was to train these middle ranks so they could provide more on-the-ground leadership. However, the Canadian International Development Agency did not report any progress on the project before a devastating earthquake struck on Jan. 12, 2010, killing as many as 300,000 people and damaging infrastructure across Haiti, including police buildings. Rather, during a trip to the country in April 2010, three months after the disaster, CIDA Minister Bev Oda re-announced the project. "I am proud that Canada is responding to Haiti's immediate needs, as well as helping to build the future of a new Haiti through the construction of a new hospital and police academy," Oda said at the time. Then, only last week, the government issued a fresh request for proposals on the project through the Canadian Com-mercial Corporation, which said it was helping CIDA with the contract. Oda's office did not respond to questions by press time. The minister is in Haiti this week meeting government officials and reviewing Canadian aid projects. In an email, a spokesman in her office said the government received a number of bids in response to the initial request for proposals, none of which met the necessary requirements. That is why the Canadian Commercial Corporation has relaunched the process. "The government is committed to the construction of the Haitian National Police Academy," Justin Broekema said. "The construction of the police academy is expected to begin in the spring of 2012." Last month, the International Crisis Group, a respected thinktank known for its in-depth analysis and work in fragile countries, issued a report highlighting the need for a strong, professional Haitian police force. ICG also noted the lack of progress on the Canadian-funded national police academy. "Since 2008, Canada has approved $20 million to assist construction at a site in Ganthier, a commune north of Portau-Prince," the report says, "but the project was slow to start, then further delayed by the earthquake."

Just Say No to A New Army (Globe and Mail - 10/10/11)

By Geoff Burt
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Haitian President Michel Martelly plans to make good on his campaign pledge to restore Haiti’s armed forces, disbanded in 1995 because of widespread abuse. Since Haiti faces no external threats, Mr. Martelly’s army would primarily be responsible for securing the porous border with the Dominican Republic and maintaining order in emergencies. The price tag is $95-million, to be underwritten by Haiti’s international donors.
The creation of a Haitian army is at the bottom of the donor governments’ agenda. Canada should take the lead by signalling it won’t fund the return of a force that’s not only unaffordable but has the potential to do more harm than good.At the moment, Haiti’s fragile security is provided by a mix of 12,000 international peacekeepers and the Haitian National Police. The Haitian government’s plan explicitly indicates that the new force is necessary to replace the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) when its mandate expires. For many Haitians – who blame MINUSTAH for the cholera outbreak that killed 6,000 and the recent sexual abuse of a Haitian boy by Uruguayan peacekeepers – the internationals can’t leave soon enough. Haiti’s impatience with the UN mission is understandable, and most countries have armies, so why should Canada object? The fact is, Haiti does not face “military” threats. Its problem is crime – the International Crisis Group estimates that murders, kidnappings and robberies have risen by 15 per cent in the past year – and armies are not very effective at fighting crime. The ability to document, investigate, try and punish crimes requires a complex chain of institutions, a chain that starts with the police but also involves the courts and prison system. The police are part of this judicial chain; the army is not. As for maintaining law and order, the notion that police and soldiers are interchangeable greatly underestimates the specialized skills of police officers. Police are trained to use the minimum amount of force necessary to mediate disputes and avoid escalating conflicts. Over the years, Haitians have been exposed to what military-oriented law and order looks like, and they don’t like it. The country was up in arms when clashes between another group of soldiers, from MINUSTAH, and armed gangs in the Port-au-Prince slum of Cité Soleil left dozens dead. Haitians complain that having military personnel on patrol in armoured vehicles makes them feel less safe, not more. There is little reason to expect that a newly established Haitian armed force would perform any better. Making policy in a country as poor as Haiti means setting priorities. Haiti’s police force currently stands at 10,000. International experts estimate that a country of 10 million such as Haiti needs at least twice that number to maintain order. Improving the quantity and quality of police is a difficult, expensive and long-term proposition. Beyond the police, Haiti suffers equally from serious deficiencies in its justice and prison systems, which were only exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake. It is irresponsible to devote resources to creating a new armed force when these fundamental law-and-order institutions are in such desperate need of funding and attention. While it’s true that the international community should not try to impose solutions on Haiti’s leaders, they owe it to their own citizens to ensure that financial assistance is spent responsibly. The proposed armed force’s two chief responsibilities – maintaining order and patrolling borders – can easily be assumed by a well-trained, professional police force. Canada should take the lead among Haiti’s donors by applying its leverage to say no to underwriting an unnecessary new army in Haiti.
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Geoff Burt is a research officer at the Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Document Outlines Haitian President's Plans for Army (9/27/11)

Associated Press
By Trenton Daniel
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Haiti's president is moving forward with a controversial campaign pledge to restore the country's disbanded military with an initial force of 3,500 soldiers, according to a document obtained
The role for the army replacing the former discredited military would be to patrol Haiti's border, keep order during times of crisis and provide opportunities for young people, says the document outlining the plan. President Michel Martelly's government proposes spending $95 million to train and equip the new armed force with the goal of eventually replacing the 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers in the country. "The fragility of the Haitian state now makes it vulnerable to the risks of internal unrest that could plunge the country into anarchy," the document says. Martelly spokesman Lucien Jura said Tuesday afternoon that he was unaware of the document, and referred questions to security consultant Reginald Delva, who told the AP he would comment later. Haiti has not had a military since it was disbanded in 1995 under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after years of coups and human rights abuses. Some Haitians have said in recent months they welcome the creation of a new army, a reflection of patriotism but also of the expectation that it would create jobs in an impoverished country. Human rights groups have expressed uneasiness with the idea of restoring a military that was notorious for abuses. The Martelly administration's proposal has been circulating among foreign officials in Haiti and would need the approval of Parliament as well as funding that would likely have to come from international aid. The AP obtained the document from an official on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to distribute it. Haiti's government notes in the report that it does not face any threat from other countries but says a new army is necessary to patrol the porous border with the Dominican Republic, now frequently used by drug traffickers and for other types of smuggling. The budget for the project, known as the National Council of Defense and Security, includes $15 million to compensate former military personnel who lost wages and pensions when Aristide disbanded the military. That is a long-standing grievance of the former soldiers. The 22-page proposal says organizers would initially name an interim military staff and identify sites for military bases in the countryside, with the first class of troops recruited from November to January. The plan also calls for creation of a "national intelligence service," a special unit to deal with terrorism threats, criminal syndicates and illegal trafficking networks. It would also monitor "extremist organizations and movements intended to spread anarchy." A U.S. Embassy spokesman, Jon Piechowski, said by email that Haitian government officials had recently met with embassy personnel to discuss the plan. "We are reviewing the information they have shared in support of their vision," Piechowski said. A human rights lawyer criticized the idea, noting that the military has long been used in Haiti as a tool to quash democratic movements. "The problems raised in the proposal are real, but there is little basis for believing that the army would be an effective solution," said attorney Brian Concannon, director and founder of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. "The (army) did not successfully defend the borders against foreign attacks, and the other listed functions _ development, disaster response and policing are done more cheaply and efficiently by civilian entities. What the army has done well throughout its history is attack unarmed civilians and stunt democracy." Haiti-born political observer Jocelyn McCalla said the country would be better served by creating a job program that focuses on young people. "An army is the last thing that Haiti needs at this point," McCalla wrote in an email. Martelly's push to bring back the army stems in part from uneasy relations between United Nations troops and many Haitians, who view the peacekeepers as an occupation force and an affront to national sovereignty. Such opposition has been stoked by evidence suggesting that U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal accidentally started a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 6,200 people and by a recent video allegedly showing U.N. soldiers from Uruguay sexually abusing a Haitian youth. Despite the outcry, Martelly has said he would seek to renew the U.N. force's mandate for another year. On Friday, he said at the U.N. General Assembly that the force has committed "unacceptable errors" in Haiti but it should stay to help rebuild the country after last year's devastating earthquake.

Presidential plans to Reconstitute Army Meet Opposition

9/28/2011
Associated Press
By Trenton Daniel
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A plan by Haitian President Michel Martelly to revive the country’s disbanded military is running into opposition. Senator Moise Jean-Charles of Haiti’s dominant political party said Wednesday that Haiti does not need to create a new army. He noted Haiti cannot afford to do that on its own, so the financing would have to come from international partners.
More related to this story “Why would the international community fund an army?” he said. “We don’t have anyone we’re going to war with.” Mr. Jean-Charles is a member of the Unity party, which has a majority in the 30-member Senate and controls 36 seats in the 99-member Chamber of Deputies. The $95-million plan would need approval from Parliament. Mr. Martelly’s proposal seeks to fulfill his controversial campaign pledge to revive the army. It calls for recruiting and training 3,500 soldiers in the first three years so the force can eventually replace a United Nations peacekeeping mission. The proposal document says the force, to be known as the National Council of Defence and Security, would patrol Haiti’s porous borders with the Dominican Republic and neighbouring islands, bring order in a time of crisis and train young Haitians. Mr. Jean-Charles said Haiti should instead focus on improving its police department. “We need to strengthen the national police and build departments inside it to secure the country,” he said. The military was dismantled in 1995 after a long history of abuse and coups. Political observers said Wednesday that the government’s resources could be better spent on job programs for youths. A Martelly adviser did not return requests for comment, and the National Palace has referred all questions to security consultant Reginald Delva, who could not be reached for comment. The creation of a new armed force is certain to draw criticism from human-rights groups that documented abuses committed by the previous Haitian military. But some Haitians harbour ill feelings toward the UN peacekeeping mission that has been in Haiti since 2004, when a violent rebellion of former soldiers toppled then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The UN force has been blamed for introducing a cholera outbreak, and several Uruguayan sailors from one of its battalions face accusations of sexually abusing an 18-year-old Haitian man. Despite protests calling for the UN mission to leave, Mr. Martelly is likely to extend its peacekeeping mandate for another year when it comes up for renewal next month. Senator Youri Latortue, an opposition politician who helped lead an anti-UN protest this month in the coastal city in which the alleged assault happened, said he supported the idea of a new army. He said the national police department has too few officers to adequately patrol Haiti’s border and respond to natural disasters. The police force has 8,500 officers in a country with 10 million people. Mr. Latortue also said the new military would need to be different from what came before. “It’s important to have a professional army.”

Haitian President: UN Made Errors But Should Stay (AP-9/23/11)

Haiti's new president said Friday that U.N. peacekeepers have committed "unacceptable errors" in his country but they should remain to help with the stalled post-earthquake reconstruction. President Michel Martelly's first speech to the U.N. General Assembly bridged the anti-U.N. sentiment he campaigned on in an election held months after the January 2010 earthquake with his more concilatory approach to the foreign troops since taking office. "I am aware of the fact that unacceptable errors were committed that marred the prestige of the mission, but the trees must not hide the forest," Martelly said. Martelly also acknowledged the stalled efforts in the Caribbean nation of 10 million to recover from the horrific earthquake by calling for better coordination in relief efforts along with more effort to allow affected, often impoverished countries to take a leading role in their own rebuilding. "We've experienced epidemics, hunger, exclusion, but Haiti is now back on its feet ready to rebuild itself," he said. At times the president seemed to be speaking more to Haitians who might have been listening at home than to the assembly. Near the end the president, who has a shaved head, broke into a Haitian Creole phrase quoting his campaign slogan "Tet Kale", or "bald head." Martelly, a longtime performer and recording artist with the stage name Sweet Micky, popularized a type of Haitian dance music known as compas.
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The president's position regarding the U.N. peacekeeping force has been a major theme of his diplomacy during the opening week of the General Assembly. The force has been in Haiti since 2004. It was hard-hit by the earthquake but increased its troop levels to more than 12,000 soldiers and police in the weeks that followed. There have been mixed feelings about the troops for years, seen by some Haitians as a vital security force in a country with an understaffed and underpaid police force and others as an unwelcome military occupier. Sentiment in Haiti has turned further against the U.N. mission following claims, since backed up by scientific studies, that an unsanitary base that used by peacekeepers from Nepal was the source of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 6,200 people. Then this month, five sailors with the mission were repatriated to Uruguay and jailed after a cell-phone video surfaced which opponents say show them sexually abusing an 18-year-old Haitian man. Protesters have since clashed with police in the Haitian capital and other cities in recent weeks demanding the troops' exit. Factions eager for the peacekeepers to leave have also tried to capitalize on the frustrations. As a candidate, Martelly had called for a quick exit of the troops, to be replaced by a reconstituted Haitian army — replacing the force banned by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s. But this week Martelly instead agreed with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on a proposal to reduce the force to around its pre-quake levels.

Haiti Leader Is Opposed to Reduction of U.N. Force (9/22/2011)

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
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A plan to cut the number of United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti drew a rebuke on Thursday from its president, Michel Martelly, who said in an interview that he “would not even think of reducing” the force because the country remained unstable and the national police were not ready to take over. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations has recommended that the deployment be extended for another year, but that the number be reduced in the coming year to about 9,000 troops from more than 12,000, returning the level to what it was before the January 2010 earthquake. Mr. Martelly said the reduction had been discussed before a group of Uruguayan sailors were accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Haitian man in July, an episode that was caught on video and spread on the Internet. The president, speaking at his hotel in Manhattan while attending the United Nations General Assembly, said the assault case “put gas on the fire” of relations between Haitians and the peacekeepers. Nonetheless, he said, the force should stay at its current strength. “Haiti needs the support of Minustah right now,” Mr. Martelly said, using the acronym for the United Nations’ mission. “There is still instability.” He added, “Many people are playing politics, trying to ask Minustah to leave because they want to create instability. Minustah can only leave when there is an alternative.” The peacekeeping mission, which comes up for a one-year renewal next month before the Security Council, was created in its current form in 2004 to stabilize Haiti after a political crisis. The United Nations troops go on patrol, respond to emergencies and help train the Haitian National Police, a force of about 10,000 officers, about half of what experts say is needed.
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The peacekeepers’ presence has long been a contentious issue in Haiti, where some consider the troops to be a heavy-handed occupation force. Others say the troops are needed to control crime at a time when Haiti is trying to attract foreign investment. Anger spread after it was determined last year that Nepalese peacekeepers had probably brought cholera to the country inadvertently, unleashing an epidemic that has killed more than 6,000 people. More recently, demonstrations erupted over the Uruguayan case. A spokeswoman for the United Nations mission did not respond to a request for comment about Mr. Martelly’s remarks. Instead, she referred to comments by Mariano Fernandez, Mr. Ban’s representative in Haiti, who told the Security Council last Friday that additional troops had been crucial right after the quake but that the need was less dire now. Mr. Martelly spoke in the interview on a wide range of issues, including an Amnesty International report released on Thursday that urged the Haitian authorities to prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former dictator who made a surprising return to Haiti in January, for human rights abuses. Mr. Martelly said he had recently greeted Mr. Duvalier at the funeral of a mutual friend, but they did not discuss the matter. He said he would let the justice system take its course. Mr. Martelly also disclosed that he would perform again as Sweet Micky, the bawdy Carnival singer persona he gave up to run for president last year. He said Sweet Micky, known for stripping on stage, would return on Dec. 23 for a $1,000-a-ticket performance to raise $10 million for education. “Be ready,” he said. “When it is Sweet Micky you can predict what is going to happen on stage.” Will it be 100 percent Sweet Micky? he was asked. “The New York Times will be asking, ‘President, what happened to you last night?’ ” he replied. “And my answer will be, ‘I don’t know. I didn’t go to the show. Did you see it?’ ”

Haiti's President to Make U.N Debut, Discuss Peacekeeping

9/23/2011
Miami Herald
By JACQUELINE CHARLES AND STEWARD STOGEL
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United Nations -- In his first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Haitian President Michel Martelly finds himself stepping onto the world stage at a time when relations between Haiti and the global body are particularly delicate. Back home in quake-ravaged Haiti, an alleged rape scandal now involving five Uruguayan peacekeepers has renewed small but violent protests calling for all U.N. peacekeepers to leave. The mission that was supposed to bring peace is accused of bringing a deadly cholera epidemic and critics charge it has fallen short of its goal of helping the weak Haitian National Police keep criminality down and Haiti’s borders free from illicit trafficking. To add fuel to the fire, Haiti’s Senate passed a resolution Tuesday demanding the withdrawal of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, over the next three years. Martelly, who campaigned on a promise to get rid of the peacekeeping force, has tried to calm things down. Amid rock throwing last week and nationalistic rhetoric over peacekeepers being an “occupying force,’’ he told Haitians, “MINUSTAH should not be cornered.’’ Still, he has seized on the public’s mounting dissatisfaction to push another campaign promise, creating a second security force — a new army. The contradictory options have everyone wondering what Martelly will say when he addresses U.N. leaders in New York. Also of concern is a future roadmap for Haiti’s stabilization as Martelly marks 132 days into his mandate with no functioning government. In recent days the final steps in the confirmation of Martelly’s prime minister pick, Dr. Garry Conille, have been plagued with uncertainty. “[Martelly] is in a very difficult position,’’ said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia. “On the one hand, MINUSTAH is so unpopular that he needs to distance himself from it. On the other hand, there is no viable replacement for the U.N. at the moment…. I do not know if he can navigate these waters easily.’’ On Monday, Martelly and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon met to discuss the peacekeeping force’s future. Ban acknowledged it’s time to begin thinking of a gradual drawdown of the 8,700 soldiers and 3,500 police deployed in Haiti. He also informed Martelly of his support for a reduction to pre-earthquake levels, according to a U.N. communiqué.
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Haiti faces the same challenges today as it did seven years ago when peacekeepers arrived to stabilize a nation in political chaos following the ouster of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “There is no question that if Haitians felt their Haitian National Police was capable of providing full security and safety, they would want to see MINUSTAH leave quickly,’’ said Mark Schneider, senior vice president with the International Crisis Group. “But Haitian businessmen, Haitian politicians, members of the Assembly and President Michel Martelly all know that right now the [police] cannot do it and therefore MINUSTAH is still required to guarantee the peace’’ and offer support in enforcing the law. Schneider said the answer is not an army. “There is not money for that,’’ he said. A recent report by the International Crisis Group accuses donor nations of sending mixed signals after having unanimously supported the disbanding of the Haitian army in Already stretched thin before the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, Haiti’s police force only has 10,200-members for a nation of 10 million people. And it has problems: police officers on bodyguard duty for politicians — diverting them from fighting crime, and a partial embargo against the purchase of weapons arms and ammunition that forces officers to use guns confiscated from criminals. The force itself is not just battling rising kidnappings, homicides and other crimes, according to both the U.N. and the International Crisis Group report, but also faces a number of unsolved murders. These include the deaths of several high-profile civilians and at least 14 on-duty officers killed between January and August of this year. Meanwhile, corruption continues to plague the force. A recent U.N. background check of 3,600 police officers found 137 were unsuitable to serve — including half of the senior police brass. One police inspector general had an unexplained $66,000 deposit in his bank account; another spent the last year cashing the salary of another officer, his brother. Although there have been strides in police reform over the past five years, the process is far from complete, said the Crisis Group report, which paints a grim picture of security. But supporters of a Haitian military say the country cannot continue to rely on outsiders. “MINUSTAH has to go, but it cannot go if you don’t start rebuilding your military,’’ said Georges Michel, a Haitian political analyst who served on two presidential commissions for the reinstatement of the military. “There is money. There is a lot of money that is wasted.’’ Jorge Heine, a former Chilean ambassador who co-edited the recently published, Fixing Haiti: MINUSTAH and Beyond, said “the last thing Haiti needs is a weak police and a weak armed forces.’’ Still, Martelly and his supporters seem undeterred, pressing ahead with plans to create a military even as they get a lukewarm reception from donor nations including the United States. Last week in Haiti, Martelly met with ambassadors, briefing them on his proposal for a military force within three years. But in New York, the focus of international donors was clear as the U.N. Security Council discussed strengthening the police. “The Haitian National Police has improved in some respects, but is not yet in a position to assume full responsibility for the provision of internal security,’’ said Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. alternate representative to the United Nations. Haiti, he said, needs to commit the necessary resources to build up systems that will allow the police force “to function on its own.’’ Special correspondent Stewart Stogel reported from the United Nations.

Building a Safer Haiti (NYT Op Ed - 9/19/2011)

Haiti is a dangerous place, as a new report from the International Crisis Group makes clear. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people still live in poorly policed camps where they fall prey to rapes, robberies and other violent crimes. Prison escapees have regrouped in urban slums; drug traffickers and armed gangs are back in business. Before the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s National Police force was weak, frequently abusive and plagued by widespread corruption. The quake destroyed police stations and prisons and stalled efforts to clean up and professionalize the force. Much of the security gap has been filled by the United Nations force, Minustah, whose latest one-year mandate expires next month. The Security Council should renew Minustah’s mandate, and the U.N. and the Haitian government should continue working together to build a competent, nonpolitical police force that can take over when Minustah leaves. Many Haitians are eager to see the 12,000 U.N. troops gone immediately. Minustah became the target of public anger after poor hygiene at one of its camps was blamed for setting off a cholera epidemic. Five of its troops from Uruguay were recently sent home and jailed after being accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. But for all Minustah’s problems, it cannot leave now. The Haitian police force is not ready to replace it. Post-quake plans to hire and train thousands of new officers are behind schedule, and the new president, Michel Martelly, appears more interested in building up an army — something Haiti does not need. If he wants to see more Haitians in uniform, he should be working to build up civil law enforcement, including crime-investigation teams, community-policing units, customs officers, border guards and coastal patrols. He must also resist the temptation to pack the upper ranks of the police with cronies — a longtime Haitian practice. He should allow the police commander, Mario Andrésol, to stay at least until the end of his term in 2012 to complete a reform plan that includes vetting officers to remove those linked to corruption and human-rights abuses. The Crisis Group estimates that Haiti needs 20,000 police officers for its population of 10 million. It now has about 10,000, about half of whom are new to the job. A goal of 14,000 by 2012 will probably not be met, but international donors and the U.N. should see to it that progress continues. The priorities should include hiring more women and expanding policing outside the capital. A police force that can protect the Haitian people — within a functioning judicial system — is essential for a new Haiti. A version of this editorial appeared in print on September 20, 2011, on page A30 of the New York edition with the headline: Building a Safer Haiti: U.N. forces need to stay on while Haiti builds a competent, nonpolitical police force.

Ban and Martelly Discuss Reduction of UN Military Component

UN News Service
6/19/2011
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Michel Martelly of Haiti today discussed a plan to scale back the military component of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country over the coming year, as it recovers from the devastation wrought by a massive earthquake in early 2010. Mr. Ban confirmed to Mr. Martelly, in a meeting held at UN Headquarters in New York, that he intended to recommend a reduction of the military component of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to pre-earthquake levels. A week after the devastating quake struck Haiti on 12 January last year, the Security Council backed Mr. Ban’s call for more troops, adding 2,000 military personnel and 15,000 police to boost support to the humanitarian operation mounted by the world in the wake of the temblor. The Secretary-General also informed Mr. Martelly, when they met ahead of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment, that he envisaged a gradual withdrawal of MINUSTAH to be worked out in close collaboration with the Haitian Government. The mission has an authorized strength of up to 8,940 troops of all ranks, and a police component of up to 4,391. Discussions between the Secretary-General and Mr. Martelly also touched on cooperation between the UN and the Haitian administration on governance and the rule of law, according to a read-out issued by a spokesperson for Mr. Ban. Mr. Martelly was sworn in as the Haitian President in May after he won the second, run-off round of presidential elections in March.

Ban and Martelly Discuss Reduction of UN Military Component

UN News Service
6/19/2011
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Michel Martelly of Haiti today discussed a plan to scale back the military component of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country over the coming year, as it recovers from the devastation wrought by a massive earthquake in early 2010. Mr. Ban confirmed to Mr. Martelly, in a meeting held at UN Headquarters in New York, that he intended to recommend a reduction of the military component of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to pre-earthquake levels. A week after the devastating quake struck Haiti on 12 January last year, the Security Council backed Mr. Ban’s call for more troops, adding 2,000 military personnel and 15,000 police to boost support to the humanitarian operation mounted by the world in the wake of the temblor. The Secretary-General also informed Mr. Martelly, when they met ahead of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment, that he envisaged a gradual withdrawal of MINUSTAH to be worked out in close collaboration with the Haitian Government. The mission has an authorized strength of up to 8,940 troops of all ranks, and a police component of up to 4,391. Discussions between the Secretary-General and Mr. Martelly also touched on cooperation between the UN and the Haitian administration on governance and the rule of law, according to a read-out issued by a spokesperson for Mr. Ban. Mr. Martelly was sworn in as the Haitian President in May after he won the second, run-off round of presidential elections in March.

Police Clash with Anti-UN Protesters in Haiti (9/14/2011)

Reuters
By Joseph Guyler Delva
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Haitian police firing tear gas clashed on Wednesday with demonstrators who demanded the withdrawal of U.N. peacekeepers in a protest against the alleged rape of a man by a group of Uruguayan marines. Police in the capital Port-au-Prince used the gas to stop about 300 protesters from entering a square in front of the damaged presidential palace where survivors of Haiti's 2010 earthquake are still sheltering in a tent and tarpaulin camp. Traffic was disrupted as pedestrians and camp dwellers, many clutching small children, fled the swirling tear gas. Some demonstrators hurled stones at police officers. The U.N. Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has faced a public outcry since the emergence earlier this month of a video shot by a cellphone camera that shows laughing Uruguayan marines pinning a young Haitian man face down on a mattress and apparently assaulting him sexually. In the latest incident to besmirch the reputation of the more than 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the poor Caribbean state, four Uruguayan troops suspected of being involved in the July 28 assault have been detained and are facing court-martial. The alleged victim, Johnny Jean, has testified to a Haitian judge that he was raped. Yelling "MINUSTAH has to go" and "rapists," the demonstrators marched through streets of the earthquake-scarred capital. Some carried anti-U.N. banners, one of which called the U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti an occupation force.
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"Justice for Johnny, justice for all the victims of rape by MINUSTAH, justice and reparation for all the Haitian people who are victims of the cholera epidemic brought by MINUSTAH," one of the protesters, 30-year-old Simon Mourin, told Reuters. "They have to leave or we will be at war with them." The police moved to stop the protesters from entering the Champs de Mars square in front of the palace as the government has prohibited public demonstrations from being held there. MINUSTAH has launched an inquiry into the July incident. Uruguay has formally apologized to Haiti and condemned the actions of the accused soldiers as aberrations. U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti have faced public anger before, notably over allegations that Nepalese U.N. troops brought a deadly cholera epidemic to the country after their camp latrines contaminated a river. This sparked riots last year against the U.N. peacekeeping contingent. The United Nations said on Wednesday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had sent a senior team to Haiti to tell the government "how seriously the United Nations and the secretary-general himself take the allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse."
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The team, led by top peacekeeping official Anthony Banbury, military adviser General Babacar Gaye, would meet MINUSTAH "to support all necessary measures ... to enforce the U.N.'s zero-tolerance policy on misconduct by its personnel," spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Nesirky also said the world body appreciated the swift response by Uruguay, which contributes troops to the U.N. peacekeeping contingent in the Caribbean nation along with Brazil, Chile, Nepal and several other nations. The Chilean head of MINUSTAH has said he will ask the U.N. Security Council to allow a gradual reduction of peacekeeping forces in Haiti. Some critics condemn the U.N. mission as an occupying foreign military force in Haiti, but many credit the peacekeepers with helping to reduce crime and violence. MINUSTAH was established by the Security Council in 2004 and has been helping Haiti's short-staffed and ill-equipped police maintain security, especially during elections plagued by fraud and unrest. Haitian President Michel Martelly, who won an election in March, says Haiti still needs the peacekeepers but has called for a redefinition of their future role and for the creation of a Haitian security force to eventually replace them. (Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Bill Trott)

Brazil Wants Peacekeeping Force Cut by Fifteen Percent

Associated Press
By RAUL O. GARCES
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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- Brazil's defense minister called Thursday for a 15 percent cut in Haiti's peacekeeping force of 12,000 soldiers and police as the start of a gradual withdrawal aimed at turning security over to the Haitians themselves. Celso Amorim said Brazil is negotiating with the United Nations to begin the pullback, but will keep troops in Haiti until local forces are ready to take over. Amorim spoke after lunching with Uruguayan President Jose Mujica in Montevideo, where ministers from the Latin American peacekeeping nations held a long-planned meeting on the future of the U.N. mission in Haiti. The meeting has been overshadowed by allegations that Uruguayan peacekeepers sexually abused a young Haitian man inside their U.N. base, an event apparently captured on an Uruguayan's cellphone video. Demonstrators in Haiti this week have stoked anger over the scandal and called for an immediate pullout of the U.N. force. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, visiting Port-au-Prince on Thursday, told The Associated Press he still supports the U.N. mission, which is known as Minustah. Its mandate expires Oct. 15. The videotaped episode was "a terrible thing," said Clinton, who is the U.N. special envoy to Haiti. "The U.N. had to do something, and apparently they have." Praising the U.N. mission's work in Haiti, Clinton added: "I don't want what happened - that terrible incident that happened to the young man - to be put off on all of Minustah, and all of the soldiers, or even all the Uruguayans." The alleged abuse by Uruguayan sailors at their base in Port-Salut happened in July but became public last week when two Haitians spotted the video on a sailor's phone and shared it with a local reporter.
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Amorim called it "a lamentable and isolated act." Brazil leads the peacekeeping mission, so his comments both on the scandal and the mission's future hold particular weight. Mujica, who sent a letter of apology to Haitian President Michel Martelly. also has said that he wants a gradual reduction in the U.N. peacekeeping force. "We aren't in Haiti to retire," he said Wednesday. Martelly strongly condemned the alleged sexual assault, but has not joined some of his countrymen in demanding an immediate pullout. Martelly has called for more economic development work by the U.N. mission following last year's earthquake, but he also asked peacekeepers to quash gangs in Port-au-Prince slums that have been strongholds for his political opponents. The force also helps bolster Haiti's weak economy by spending, from buying snacks on the streets to dining at high-end restaurants in the capital. Peacekeepers arrived in 2004 to help control the chaos that followed the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Since then, the U.N. force has been instrumental in maintaining stability in the coup-prone country, and it has helped allow a democratically elected president serve two full terms for the first time in Haitian history. But some Haitians see the U.N. troops as an occupying force that has done little to ameliorate the country's misery. In 2007, almost a tenth of its Sri Lankan battalion was recalled because of a sex-abuse scandal. Last year, a contingent from Nepal was blamed for introducing cholera to Haiti, which caused an outbreak that has killed more than 6,200 people and sickened 439,000, according to Haiti's health ministry.

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