UN presence in Haiti under review

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday February 15, 2012 – Haiti’s earthquake reconstruction efforts and its mandate are under review by the UN Security Council.

This comes as there is mounting public unease over the UN role in Haiti following allegations of rape involving Pakistani soldiers, and a deadly cholera epidemic in 2010 linked to the peacekeeping force.

A 15-member delegation is expected to travel to the country and visit earthquake resettlement camps and a police training academy. They are also expected to meet with President Michel Martelly who has proposed replacing the peacekeeping force with a reconstituted Haitian army.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice said: “We will see how the United Nations supports Haitian government institutions in security and governance. We will examine economic development efforts and we will look at the ongoing humanitarian challenges.”

In its first mission since 2009, and the delegation also aims to evaluate reconstruction efforts following the massive earthquake in 2010 that displaced more than a million people. It also plans to see how it can help strengthen the national police force, which has only 8,000 officers in a country of 10 million.

In addition, the members of the delegation will also visit a treatment centre where patients with the deadly cholera are being treated.

Now an epidemic, the disease has been a source of tension between Haitians and peacekeepers after several studies showed that a unit from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, likely brought the disease.

Haiti now has the world’s highest cholera rate and the disease has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened more than 526,000 others, Haitian officials say.

Meanwhile, the strengthening of Haiti’s police force is being favoured over the restoration of its army which was disbanded in 1995. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)