posted on Thu 11 Apr 2019 4:35 PM
United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) Mandate Renewal*

Tomorrow (12 April), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of MINUJUSTH, for a final period until 15 October. The draft resolution was circulated by the US, the penholder, on 4 April. Two meetings were held to negotiate the text, along with bilateral discussions. The draft was put in blue today, 11 April.

According to resolution 2410, adopted last April, the Council should consider “the withdrawal of MINUJUSTH and transition to a non-peacekeeping United Nations presence in Haiti beginning no sooner than 15 October 2019.”

Keeping this in mind, the draft reauthorises MINUJUSTH until 15 October. The draft maintains MINJUSTH’s core tasks and activities, including those of supporting and developing the Haitian National Police (HNP), continuing to assist Haiti to tackle human trafficking, and protecting civilians “under imminent threat of physical violence, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, as needed.”

Additions to the text mostly concern the closure of MINUJUSTH and preparations for the future, including the potential transition to a Special Political Mission (SPM), a recommendation presented by the Secretary-General in his most recent MINUJUSTH report. The draft specifically requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within 30 days with “operational details of the proposed SPM, including specific objectives and information regarding its proposed deployment, staffing, and structure.” Therefore, the draft endorses the recommendation for an SPM, while asking for more details to make planning possible.

Some Council members would have preferred a resolution that would determine the MINUJUSTH replacement now, to give the Secretariat more time to prepare for the post-MINUJUSTH presence in Haiti. The draft in blue does not present a deadline for considering the Secretariat’s plan for an SPM or for authorising a follow-on mission.

Despite the request by the Council for more information from the Secretariat within 30 days on “the operational details of the proposed SPM” in the draft in blue, the most recent Secretary-General’s report (S/2019/198) did include two broad models that had been discussed with the Haitian government. The first model was a transition to an SPM that would offer varying political and advisory roles along with the UN Country Team (UNCT), depending on the format decided by the Council. The second model was a transition to a UNCT configuration coordinated by a Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. In the end, the Secretary-General’s report recommended a mission “in the form of a small strategic advisory office led by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General functioning alongside the technical capacities of a United Nations Country Team, supported by a triple-hatted Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, for a period of one year, starting on 16 October 2019.”

The report makes clear that only an SPM would allow for the retained presence and advisory role of a Police Commissioner and some International Police Officers, something that many Council members and regional countries have said that they favour.

It is possible that this transition will be similar to that of Sierra Leone in the last decade, outlined specifically in resolutions 1610 and 1620. In that case, resolution 1610 renewed UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for a final period and underlined all the necessary tasks for a full drawdown. Two months later, resolution 1620 was adopted. It requested the establishment of the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) for 12 months and detailed its specific tasks to support the government in Sierra Leone.

A number of minor proposals were accepted and incorporated into the final MINUJUSTH draft. For example, at the request of one elected member, the word “combat” was changed to “eradicate” with regard to cholera in Haiti. Text about countering gang violence and the importance of addressing root causes was added at the request of another elected member. New language was also incorporated on standardisation of UN peacekeeping performance, and there is a new reference to the important supporting role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in helping MINUJUSTH and the government in dealing with gang violence.

Some suggestions from Council members were not included in the final draft. For example, one member suggested a nine-month mandate renewal of MINUJUSTH, reflecting concerns that any gap between MINUJUSTH and its replacement could have harmful, long-lasting consequences, especially with elections scheduled to take place in October. However, the US and other members noted that Haiti itself wants MINUJUSTH to close in October. Requests for language on climate and natural disasters and enhanced coordination with troop- and police-contributing countries (TCCs and PCCs) were also not included.

MINUJUSTH will once again be authorised under Chapter VII. It seems that Russia and China may abstain as they did last year, out of their principled disagreement with this being a Chapter VII resolution. It also seems likely that member states will speak after the vote, which may signal how negotiations are likely to advance on the future UN presence.

The Council met in a debate to discuss MINUJUSTH on 3 April, after which negotiations began. In the debate, briefings were provided by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations; Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Loune Viaud, the Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, one of Haiti’s largest non-governmental health‑care providers.

 

Post-script (16 April 2019): On 12 April, the Council adopted resolution 2466 renewing the mandate of MINUJUSTH for six months, until 15 October.  Thirteen members voted in favour of the resolution and abstentions were cast by the Dominican Republic and Russia (S/PV.8510).