Posts Tagged ‘Minustah’

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

September 5, 2011

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.

AFP: 

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.

Haiti response inadequate and UN Head of Mission seems incompetent

November 20, 2010

The UN after having introduced cholera to Haiti – which will now remain for many decades – is providing an “inadequate response” according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says the BBC.

MSF said that despite the huge aid agency presence in Haiti, urgent needs were not being met. MSF’s chief in Haiti, Stefano Zannini, said the charity had treated more than 16,500 people but that there had been “no real and efficient response from other organisations. This is alarming in the sense that we haven’t reached the peak yet, that might take some time, and so the number of patients might still go up while we still don’t see actions on behalf of other people,” he said.

In a statement, Mr Zannini said more help was urgently needed to treat the sick and implement preventative measures. “There is no time left for meetings and debate – the time for action is now,” he said. Cholera was previously unknown in Haiti, so MSF said much work had to be done to reassure the population, particularly of the low risk and positive benefits of having treatment centres close to areas where people live.

Haiti - Insecurity : The alarmist statements of Edmond Mulet !

Edmond Mulet: image haitilibre.com

But the need for this reassurance to the local population is apparently not something understood by Edmond Mulet, the head of MINUSTAH (the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti). He seems to be mainly engaged in justifying the UN deficiencies by blaming the lack of action on “the violent protests by people who blame peacekeepers for the spread of the disease (who) were wasting time and costing lives”.

But local Haitians are incensed by the alarmist posturing of the UN head of mission Edmond Mulet who is accused of not taking action. He is busy blaming everybody else and seems to be incompetent at basic public relations.

Judging by the response to his statements in haitilibre.com he is providing little reassurance and only succeeding to alienate the local population. They write

The alarmist statements of Edmond Mulet !

The perpetrators of these “criminals and irresponsible” acts said Mr. Mulet, “prevent the delivery of medical and sanitary assistance to the thousands of patients recently hit by the cholera epidemic, thus condemning to an unquestionable death.”

It is time to stop speaking and start acting Mr. Mulet before it is too late and that violence will spread throughout the country. 12,000 men strong, very well equipped and (with) armored vehicles, what awaits Minustah to release these roads and to restore the order in the zones concerned ? If Minustah’s mission is to maintain peace, she must first begin by eliminating the causes of these disorders, not with dramatic speeches.

If M. Mulet can only respond to the fear of people by blaming them instead of addressing their fear and anger then his competence is in question.


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