posted on FRI 10 FEB 2012 4:14 PM
Council Visit to Haiti

Next week, a Council mission is scheduled to visit Haiti, leaving on Monday 13 February and returning on Thursday 16 February. The mission will be led by Susan Rice, permanent representative of the US (the lead country on Haiti in the Council); all 15 members of the Council will participate, largely at the permanent representative level. Council members are likely to view this trip as a good opportunity to assess the security situation and the work of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), keeping in mind the possibility of a future further drawdown of the mission. (Resolution 2012, adopted on 14 October 2011, renewed the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 October 2012 and authorised a reduction in the mission’s strength by 2,750 personnel, decreasing it almost to the size it had been before the January 2010 earthquake.)

The Council mission is scheduled to meet with the Haitian president, Michel Martelly, and the prime minister, Garry Conille, as well as the presidents of both chambers of parliament. It seems the programme will also include meetings with different parts of MINUSTAH as well as visits to a police academy, a police station, a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and a cholera treatment centre. Outside of Port-au-Prince, the mission is expected to visit Cap-Haitien and Miragoâne.

According to the terms of reference, the mission’s key objectives include reaffirming the Council’s support for Haiti, as well as the efforts of MINUSTAH and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Mariano Fernández of Chile). It also aims to assess the implementation of previous Council resolutions, in particular the most recent resolution of October 2011.

More specifically, the Council mission is tasked with assessing progress made by the Government of Haiti with the assistance of MINUSTAH and other international stakeholders in several areas. These include security (including rule of law and protection of civilians), development, institutional reform and governance, border management and human rights. The Council mission is also expected to review implementation of the force reduction of MINUSTAH and the potential for additional adjustments.

It appears that an important focus for the Council mission will be the progress made in strengthening the Haitian National Police and the capacity of the Haitian authorities to provide security. More specifically, it seems the Council mission will be interested in assessing how the authorities have addressed security challenges such as threats to IDPs and other vulnerable groups, sexual violence and illicit trafficking. Another area of interest seems to be progress in earthquake recovery. Discussions with Haitian authorities in this area will address issues such as the current humanitarian situation, housing reconstruction and rebuilding of infrastructure, and how to enhance reconstruction capacity. Health challenges are also likely to be addressed, with a special emphasis on the UN’s role in assisting the government.

Additionally, the Council mission will review preparations and progress for the upcoming legislative and local government elections. It seems Council members may be interested in discussing with Haitian political leaders the importance of a constructive political dialogue, with a focus on the elections (including the participation of women). Other areas that may be covered include the budget, recovery, and the completion of constitutional reform.

A briefing in the Council following the trip is scheduled for 28 February. (This is normally given by the Council member leading the mission, in this case the US.) Following Council missions a written report has also usually been published. (The last Council mission was to Africa and took place from 19 to 26 May 2011 (S/PV.6546))