UN votes to close Haiti peacekeeping mission

The 15-member Security Council decides to end its 13-year peacekeeping mission in Haiti over the coming six months. It will be replaced with a smaller policing group.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The peacekeepers were deployed in 2004 when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Updated Apr 14, 2017

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti over the coming six months and replace it with a smaller policing body.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has recommended the shutdown of the $346 million mission as the US, the largest contributor to the mission with 28.5 percent, wants to cut its funding.

British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said, "we strongly support the ending of this mission turning it into something else." 

"What we now need is a newly configured mission which is focused on the rule of law and human rights in Haiti," 

Rycroft said peacekeepers "are very expensive and should be used only when needed."

The Security Council has acknowledged the completion of Haiti's presidential election, along with the inauguration of its new president, as a "major milestone towards stabilisation" in the Caribbean country.

There are 2,342 UN troops in Haiti, who will withdraw over the coming six months. The new mission will be established for an initial six months, from Oct. 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018, and is projected to exit two years after its establishment.

The peacekeepers were deployed in 2004 when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. 

The mission has been accused of sexual abuse and blamed for the cholera outbreak as the country was free of cholera until 2010, when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.

But the UN does not accept legal responsibility for the outbreak of the disease, which has caused uncontrollable diarrhoea. 

Some 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 sickened. 

TRT World's Lorna Shaddick reports from the UN headquarters in New York.

TRTWorld and agencies