Thursday, November 9, 2017
24 days after the closing of MINUSTAH the new U.N. Mission in Haiti MINUJUSTH still has no legal status
According to article 60 of the agreement signed with the United Nations and Haiti’s Executive Branch, the new U.N. mission in Haiti will have legal status when parliament ratifies the agreement. On October 23, Président Jovenel Moïse called both chambers in a special session for the ratification of the agreement.
But in parliament they are reticent to ratify the agreement for the following reasons :
1. There is a perception that the current Secretary General M. Antonio Gutteres is not forthcoming with the 9,000 families that have lost loved ones in the cholera epidemic caused by the UN. They have formally promised to pay raparations to them and nothing has been done. The Secretary General could have use the $40 million left over from the MINUSTAH budget to start the process while trying to find resources to fulfill his commitment. President Jovenel Moise in his speech in September 2017 at the 72nd General Assembly raised the issue but nobody paid attention.
2. The U.N. also did not fulfill its promise to provide financial assistance to Haitians to eradicate cholera.
3. Parliamentarians are also under pressure from their constituencies for the rapes committed by U.N soldiers commited against children, men and women and the manner in which they should have been held accountable.
4. The fact that a career employee of the U.N., Mamadou Diallo, pushed for the official inauguration of the mission without parliament’s prior approval has caused some serious political damages – and undermines Haitian institutions. How can a mission that is coming to help Haiti’s judicial reforms and the strengthening of institutions does not respect the constitution, the laws, the institutions of the country ? Or the articles of the agreement they have signed? Contrary to 2004, there is all three branches of government in place in 2017. These are the questions the parliamentarians are grappling with.
5. The fact that the U.N. is ignoring the formation of Haiti’s New Defense force has also struck a chord among Haitians. This is one of the top three issues important to the country according to various polls. The U.N. military commander in Haiti, Brazilian General Elito, has stated that the country needed an army to provide security and react against the various threats.
6. The consensue emerging is that if parliamentarian touch this agreement without any effort to address these ongoing issues, they will surely lose their next election, particulary those 10 senators who’s two years term expires on January 8, 2018.
The recent cooperation between Haiti and the U.N. through MINUSTAH has not been good. That mission has left a bad taste in the mouth of Haitians who fought for five years to force the U.N., with scientific proof, to admit that their soldiers were the source of the cholera epidemic. The country wants better cooperation with the U.N. Concrete actions from U.N. leadership is expected before moving forward. The editorial written by the Secretary General in the Miami Herald, while in good faith, was not written for Haitians and doesn’t move the ball forward in any way. Only concrete actions by the leadership of the U.N. will help them win hearts and minds in Haiti. The country deserves better.