PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) announced its final withdrawal from Haiti by October 2017 after a controversial 13 years in the country. The announcement came with the closure of its northern regional office which covered the Departments of the North, North-East, Artibonite and North-West.
Among political observers, recent comments coming from the United States President Donald Trump, who beat out former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2016, has put the global organization on alert for its ineffectiveness, wastefulness and even being a creator of problems. The mission has always faced immense pressure from the Haitian population to leave the country, particularly dating back to 2010, with the cholera outbreak. Two Senate resolutions, as well as an election cycle where the removal of the force was paramount to voters, demonstrated this.
According to the Special Representative in Haiti for the Secretary General of the United Nations and Head of MINUSTAH, Sandra Honoré, the closing of the northern office “is the transition into reality of the final phase of the process of reconfiguration and consolidation of the UN mission.”
But MINUSTAH will only be making way for another force, MINUJUSTH. “MINUJUSTH will not be a continuation of MINUSTAH, but an entirely different mission that will work in an innovative way to reinforce the achievements of MINUSTAH and to ensure that these achievements, which will The Haitians and Haitians, that these achievements are sustainable,” Madame Honoré added.
While the United Nation Security Council and the Head of MINUSTAH are trumpeting their “gratification” and “success” of the 13-year mission, many have more tempered views.
Madame Honoré argued that “significant progress has been made in recent years and I see the willingness of all people and authorities to work together in a national consensus to set the benchmarks Of a better future for Haiti.” Meanwhile, hundreds of Haitians, in the days after the announcement, have taken to the streets to demand reparations before the force leaves.