More than 850,000 Haitians have been infected with Cholera and 10,000 have died from it since being introduced by United Nations (UN) peacekeepers ten years ago. There has been no compensation provided by the UN and its member states. When the United Nations accepts no accountability for actions, it its less able to demand accountability from others. While the UN has at times been benefical to Haiti, its unwillingess to right the wrongs of its peacekeeping forces, from sexual abuse and exploitation to cholera, undermine these efforts. The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles follows.
Usually when you read an article about peacekeepers in Haiti, it concerns how many are on the ground. In a bit of a role reversal, the Miami Herald reported that the United Nations will deploy a group of Haitian police as peacekeepers to Chad. The yearlong assignment involves monitoring Chadian police responsible for refugees from the war in neighboring Darfur.
It was a busy year for natural disasters. According to an article in the London Guardian, fourteen UN Disaster Reponse teams were dispatched worldwide in 2007. Nine of these were deployed in Latin America and the Carribean. By way of comparison, the previous record was in 1998, when eight teams were sent out after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America and Hurricane George came through the Carribean.
Previously, we have expressed our dissapointment in MINUSTAH after 108 Sri Lankan peacekeepers were accused of sexual misconduct, or more specifically, paying minors for sex. We do not believe this was limited to one brigade and were concerned that there would be few consequences for these violations.
I would argue that the measurement of progress in a country is not the quantity of money a person has, not the ammount of technology possessed, but rather the ability of that country to meet the needs of its children. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has just released a report which suggests we have a long way to go, for Haiti and the world.
On Monday, December 3rd, representatives from 180 countries will convene in Bali, Indonesia for the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 3rd Meeting of the Parties (MOP) of the Kyoto Protocol. And this means what...?
When we write about China, it usually involves whether the government will protest renewal of MINUSTAH's mandate as a result of Haiti's pro Taiwan stance. But let us give credit where credit is due. China has provided well trained, and much needed, peacekeepers for the Haiti Mission. In fact, soon China will deploy its sixth team of 125 specially trained riot police.
MINUSTAH got off to a bad start. Initially, the force was content to sit back and guard government buildings while Port au Prince became increasingly unstable. The rationale was that they were there to keep the peace, not to be the national police.