posted on THU 11 OCT 2012 3:14 PM
Haiti Draft Resolution in Blue

A draft resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for an additional year was put in blue this afternoon (11 October) and the Council looks set to adopt it tomorrow afternoon. Negotiations on the text began in the Group of Friends of Haiti in the first half of September, with Council members receiving the draft earlier this month. (Colombia, France, Guatemala, and the US are the Council members who also participate in the wider Group of Friends.) Adoption of the draft resolution was originally scheduled for Monday, 8 October, but was delayed because Council members needed more time to come to agreement on the text. (MINUSTAH’s mandate expires on Monday, 15 October.)

In keeping with the recommendation made in the Secretary’s General’s most recent report on MINUSTAH (S/2012/678), it appears that the Council will authorise a reduction of the mission’s force levels to 6,270 troops—through a balanced withdrawal of infantry and engineering personnel—and to 2,601 police. (This constitutes about a 15 and 20 percent reduction in troop and police numbers, respectively.)

The resolution affirms that future alterations to the mission will be contingent upon progress in the security situation and the government’s capacity to maintain stability. The resolution also highlights the importance of strengthening the capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP). While some members felt that this was MINUSTAH’s most crucial task, others saw it as one of many key tasks. The final draft of the resolution, however, appears to reflect the views of those who see this as the most critical task for MINUSTAH.

The resolution also takes note of the “conditions-based consolidation plan” which will establish benchmarks for measuring Haiti’s progress in achieving stability and asks for it to be included as an annex to the Secretary-General’s MINUSTAH report. (This plan is currently being developed by MINUSTAH and the UN Country Team in consultation with the Haitian government and donors).

One area of apparent disagreement in the negotiations was how to characterise the consolidation plan. One delegation appears to have argued that the text should contain specific references to tasks and benchmarks that Haiti needed to accomplish and meet in order to demonstrate progress, while another delegation preferred that the discussion be couched in broader language. It seems that the final text reflects some agreement on the focused language.

Another area of contention related to references to sexual and gender based violence. While some members considered such references important in the context of Haiti, Russia appears to have argued that given that Haiti is not in a situation of armed conflict, references to sexual violence (and civilian protection issues, more generally) should not be given undue emphasis in the resolution. Ultimately, it seems that the resolution will refer to MINUSTAH’s role in helping the Haitian government to protect civilians, although specific references to sexual and gender based violence will be limited.

A further issue that came up was whether the Chapter VII language (which is generally used when a situation is a threat to international peace and security) should be softened. The final text does not include language used in previous years indicating that the situation in Haiti constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region. It appears that the decision to exclude such language was made by the Group of Friends, which includes several countries in the region. Tempering the Chapter VII language also seems to at least partially appeal to Haiti’s sensitivity about hosting a mission under Chapter VII, believing that this designation potentially serves as a red flag to some foreign investors.

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