Talk of Prioritizing a Civilian, Over a Military Mission, at the UNSC
|Wednesday, 06 April 2011 14:59|
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos chaired a UN Security Council meeting today, reportedly attended by representatives of 14 countries (including the foreign ministers of MINUSTAH members Argentina and Chile) and UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, that focused on Haiti. According to Colombia Reports, Santos said:
Colombia Reports reported that Santos “referred to the specific issues of housing, health, infrastructure, agriculture, education. road construction, water infrastructure and the strengthening of security institutions in Haiti as being the most pressing concerns.”
Santos’ remarks were echoed by Haitian President René Préval, who, according to the AP
Santos and Preval’s comments on MINUSTAH’s priorities follow signs of increasing support in Latin America for the mission’s closure, and the news that the Defense Council of South America (CDS), under the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), has decided to form a commission to decide MINUSTAH’s future, with the goal of formulating a resolution to be submitted to the UN by mid-June.
Presumptive president-elect Michel Martelly has spoken in favor of seeing the UN mission replaced by a reconstituted Haitian army, despite the army’s historic record of grave human rights abuses.
Clinton, meanwhile, was much more upbeat in his remarks at today’s meeting, praising the recent elections as a “cause of celebration,” saying that “Haiti is a small miracle of human nature,” and praising “Preval for helping the 'remarkable' progress since the magnitude-8 earthquake killed more than 230,000 people and left more than 1 million people homeless,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
DPA noted that
The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which Clinton co-chairs, has been criticized by numerous Haitian and foreign NGO’s, grassroots groups, and others, for, among other things, “not engag[ing] meaningfully with Haitian stakeholders to ensure their participation in decision-making on housing policy,” and its slow progress on reconstruction. In December, Haitian members of the Commission openly protested what they described as their marginalization and lack of a “functional relationship” “between the Executive Secretary and the Haitian side of the council.”