UN Security Council votes to end peacekeeping mission in Haiti | News | DW | 13.04.2017
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UN Security Council votes to end peacekeeping mission in Haiti

The UN Security Council unanimously has decided to end the program after 13 years. The 2,370 peacekeepers currently in Haiti will be gradually withdrawn over the course of the next six months.

The UN Security council unanimously agreed to end the peacekeeping mission to Haiti Thursday.

The current mission, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), was deployed in 2004 after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a coup to stem political violence. 

Sandra Honore, the UN envoy to Haiti, told the council on Tuesday that "Haiti's political outlook for 2017 and beyond has significantly improved."

The Security Council agreed, saying the election - which saw the swearing in of Haiti President Jovenel Moise in February - was "the major milestone towards stabilization."

The peacekeeping program will be replaced by a security force of 1,275 UN police members, known as the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). The security force will train and reform the national police force.

Not always welcome

MINUSTAH was not always well received by residents. UN troops have been accused of accidentally introducing cholera to the impoverished nation following the deadly 2010 earthquake. More than 9,000 Haitians died in the epidemic. The UN said it didn't do enough to stop the spread of cholera following the devastating quake.

Allegations of sex abuse also overshadowed the UN peacekeeping mission. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the council on Thursday of a sex ring allegedly run by at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, who lured children with food.

"The children were passed from soldier to soldier. One boy was gang-raped in 2011 by peacekeepers who disgustingly filmed it on a cell phone," said Haley following Thursday's vote.

Cost-cutting peacekeeping

Haley started a review of UN peacekeeping missions to determine how to cut costs and improve operations, some of which have been hit by sexual abuse and corruption scandals. MINUSTAH cost the UN $346 million (325 million euros) a year, but it is far from the UN's most expensive peacekeeping program.

UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said more cuts to peacekeeping should be expected.

"Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed," said Rycroft before Thursday's vote to end MINUSTAH.

The 2016-2017 budget for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) surpassed $1.2 billion. Peacekeeping missions in Darfur (UNAMID) and South Sudan (UNMISS) also have 2016-2017 budgets of over $1 billion, respectively. 

kbd/kms (AFP, AP)

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