UN is only as good as its worst member: Uruguay troops misbehave in Haiti

As if Haiti hadn’t enough problems.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established in 2004 and was given a new mandate to help maintain order and security following last year’s devastating earthquake. Earlier this year the UN mission was heavily criticised in the handling of the cholera outbreak which killed some 6,000 people. To make it worse it seems that the cholera was introduced into Haiti by peacekeeping troops from Nepal (where cholera is endemic).

Related: Whole-Genome Study Nails Haiti-Nepal Cholera Link

Now the UN and the Haitians have been let down badly by part of the contingent from Uruguay.


MONTEVIDEO — Uruguay announced it has sacked a navy commander with the UN mission in Haiti after a video was circulated of an alleged sexual assault on a young Haitian man by members of a Uruguayan peacekeeping unit.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that in addition to the dismissal of the official — who was not immediately named — a military justice board had been convened and paperwork for the return home of the five allegedly involved had been started.

“The navy wants to go beyond the simple fact of the video (to determine) if there are other violations of conduct,” spokesman Sergio Bique told local media. The suspects will be tried and sentenced appropriately, he stressed.

In Haiti, Magistrate Paul Tarte said Friday that officials were examining testimony from the alleged suspect and images of the incident taken by a cell telephone camera at the base in southern Haiti, which have also been circulated on the Internet. Medical evidence of the attack also was obtained.

UN peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer said the United Nations acted immediately after hearing about the incident late last week.

The UN is an easy target for criticism and is often castigated from all sides of the political divide (and I am just as guilty in indulging in some of the criticism). But of course the UN is only as good as its worst member and it is the Lowest Common Factor which applies.

UN in Haiti (MINUSTAH): Current strength (31 July 2011)

  • 12,252 total uniformed personnel
    • 8,728 troops
    • 3,524 police
  • 564 international civilian personnel
  • 1,338 local civilian staff
  • 221 United Nations Volunteers

Country contributors

Military personnel – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Japan, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Phillipines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, United States and Uruguay.

Police personnel – Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Grenada, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, United States, Uruguay and Yemen.

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3 Responses to “UN is only as good as its worst member: Uruguay troops misbehave in Haiti”

  1. Vadim Says:

    ‘Misbehave’ Is that what you call it? The UN invites abuse of power with its’ culture of cover-up and deception. Any organisation which makes room at the table for despots is bound to become corrupt eventually.

  2. the world thorugh frosted glasses Says:

    the world thorugh frosted glasses…

    […]UN is only as good as its worst member: Uruguay troops misbehave in Haiti « The k2p blog[…]…

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