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All Last Month News & Analysis

Posted Monday, October 15, 2007
UN extends peacekeeping mission in troubled Haiti for one year
By The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday to extend the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti for a year, noting significant improvements in security in recent months but saying the situation remains fragile.

The council underscored that illegal international trafficking of drugs and arms continues to affect Haiti's stability. It also stressed that respect for human rights, due process, ending impunity and addressing "criminality" are essential to ensuring the role of law and security in the Caribbean nation.

The resolution authorized a U.N. force of 7,060 troops and 2,091 international police until Oct. 15, 2008, "with the intention of further renewal."

It endorsed recommendations by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the military enhance its operations in border control, engineering and mobility and decrease its infantry capabilities while the U.N. police increase support for maintaining law and order.

The U.N. mission replaced a U.S.-led force deployed after an uprising toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29, 2004. More than 400 people died in clashes involving pro- and anti-Aristide street gangs, police, peacekeepers and ex-soldiers who helped oust Aristide.

Haiti experienced relative calm after President Rene Preval's election in February 2006, but violence flared several months later. A U.N. crackdown on gangs launched late last year has led to a sharp reduction in shootings, but many slum dwellers still live in squalor and are in desperate need of jobs, hospitals and schools.

In the resolution, the council said it was "acknowledging significant improvements in the security situation in recent months but noting that the security situation remains fragile."

It asked the U.N. force "to continue to pursue its community violence reduction approach" and to support government and Haitian police efforts to stabilize the country. It also urged U.N. police "to remain engaged" in helping to reform and restructure the Haitian police force.

In his report to the council in late August, Ban said that despite "marginal improvements" the Haitian police force "remains unable to undertake crucial security tasks unaided" and U.N. security forces will need to undertake key activities "to ensure a safe and secure environment and to shore up the gains made thus far."

The force's current mandate covers mainly Haiti's security needs, but Preval's government has been pressuring the world body to funnel more resources into development projects for schools, hospitals, roads and sanitation.

The resolution urged the U.N. country team and all humanitarian and development organizations in Haiti to complement U.N. and government security operations by undertaking activities to improve living conditions in the country and address urgent development problems.

It requested the U.N. peacekeeping mission to continue implementing "quick impact projects" and called on the U.N. and international donors to focus not only on immediate needs but long-term reconstruction and poverty reduction in the country.

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