Establishment of UNSMIH
UNSMIH activities
Extension of the mandate
End of the mandate, new Mission established

Establishment of UNSMIH

The Security Council established the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) by its resolution 1063 (1996) of 28 June 1996. In setting up UNSMIH, the Council underlined the need to support the commitment of the Government of Haiti to maintain the secure and stable environment established by the multinational force in Haiti (September 1994--March 1995) and extended with the assistance of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) (September 1993--30 June 1996).

Reporting to the Security Council on 5 June 1996 on the activities of UNMIH, the Secretary-General said that President René Préval and his Government had demonstrated great determination to build an effective and professional police force, committed to the rule of law and respect for the human rights and dignity of all citizens. For the first time in its history, Haiti had the foundation for such a force. However, the Secretary-General noted his concern about the security and overall situation in Haiti. He said that the Haitian National Police (HNP) was still not in a position to ensure, on its own, the stable and secure environment required for the consolidation of democratic rule; and that complete withdrawal of the United Nations military and police presence could jeopardize the success achieved until then. The issue of security remained central to the entire United Nations presence in Haiti and to the success of the Haitians' efforts to build a better future.

In the report, the Secretary-General made a number of recommendations regarding the role of the United Nations in Haiti after UNMIH's mandate expired. He shared the view of the Haitian authorities that the presence and assistance of the international community continued to be required in Haiti to support HNP and to consolidate the progress achieved by the Haitian people after the restoration of democracy. The Friends of the Secretary-General for Haiti -- Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, the United States and Venezuela -- also expressed their support for the position of the Haitian authorities and their interest in adjusting the operations of the United Nations to reflect the new realities on the ground.

The Secretary-General therefore recommended the establishment of a new Mission -- UNSMIH -- with a mandate limited to the following tasks: (a) assistance to the Haitian authorities in the professionalization of the Haitian National Police; (b) assistance to the Haitian authorities in maintaining a secure and stable environment conducive to the success of the current efforts to establish and train an effective national police force; and (c) coordination of activities by the United Nations system to promote institution-building, national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation in Haiti.

In establishing UNSMIH, the Security Council decided that the Mission would initially be composed of 300 civilian police personnel and 600 troops. In addition, some 800 voluntarily funded military personnel were to be provided by Member States to serve with UNSMIH. UNSMIH's initial mandate period extended until 30 November 1996.

UNSMIH activities

The UNSMIH military element was deployed exclusively in the city of Port-au-Prince, which it patrolled on a 24-hour basis. The mission's helicopters played a critical role on several occasions, both in ensuring the timely arrival of HNP crowd-control units - known as Compagnies d'intervention et de maintien de l'ordre (CIMOs) - at trouble spots around the country and in delivering voting material required for the senatorial and local elections. In addition, members of the military element worked with the staff of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the technical assistance team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to plan the logistical and operational support for the first round of elections. UNSMIH military personnel also provided protection at the National Palace and at the residence of former President Aristide.

Members of the UNSMIH civilian police element were deployed in 10 detachments in the provinces and 5 in Port-au-Prince and they continued to accompany HNP officers in their day-to-day activities. The team collected information around the country on experience with community policing, with a view to developing a country-wide police training programme. The central training unit of the Mission's
civilian police element oversaw instruction through its programme de formation continue, which focused on conflict resolution, marksmanship, human rights and police work, driving, immigration and narcotics. The civilian police element also conducted refresher courses for Palace guards and it trained HNP officers to patrol the border.

In light of the continuing disturbances in the country, UNSMIH worked intensively to strengthen the HNP crowd-control and rapid-intervention capabilities. The Mission's police element also continued to work closely with the HNP Directorate General in redeploying the force according to population density and patterns of criminal behaviour, but progress was slow. The Mission continued to participate in the monthly meetings, chaired by President Préval, with the Directorate General, key government members, bilateral donors, UNDP and the Joint Organization of African States (OAS)/United Nations International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH).

Extension of the mandate

On 13 November 1997, the President of Haiti, Mr. René Préval, requested the extension of the UNSMIH mandate. The Secretary-General, in his report to the Security Council on 12 November, noted that despite some improvement in the security situation in Haiti and in the capacity of HNP to confront challenges, HNP had not yet reached the level of experience and confidence required to control and defeat threats posed by subversive groups. The presence of the UNSMIH military element continued to be a key factor in the ability of the Haitian authorities to contain the danger of destabilization by forces threatening democracy. In the Secretary-General's view, the presence of UNSMIH continued to be required to give the international programme of support the firm foundation necessary to ensure its success, to allow for an orderly transfer to the Haitian authorities of the functions being carried out by the Mission, and to consolidate the considerable investment made by the international community in the restoration of democracy in Haiti.

The Security Council decided by its resolution 1086 (1996) to extend UNSMIH's mandate until 31 May 1997 with a maximum strength of 300 civilian police personnel and 500 troops. The Council also decided that, if the Secretary-General reported by 31 March 1997 that UNSMIH could make a further contribution to the consolidation of democracy in Haiti and the revitalization of the country's system of justice, UNSMIH's mandate would be further extended, for a final time, following a review by the Council. On 24 March, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that in order to ensure the continued institutional development of the police force, the mandate of UNSMIH should be extended for a final time until 31 July 1997. Based on that Secretary-General's statement, the Council extended the UNSMIH's mandate, for a final period, until 31 July 1997.

End of the mandate, new Mission established

Reporting to the Security Council on 19 July 1997, the Secretary-General said that with the support of the international community, including the United Nations, Haiti had taken significant strides forward. For the first time in its history, a peaceful hand-over of power between two democratically elected presidents
took place in February 1996, when President Préval assumed office; several election rounds were held without violent incidents; and the fledgling police force, which was making progress towards the day when it could alone assume public security functions, was already having a positive effect on security in the country. Furthermore, the Haitians clearly rejected arbitrariness and authoritarianism. The years of dictatorship, the Secretary-General said, were over and the former military had been weakened to a point where their return to power appeared highly unlikely.

However, the Secretary-General continued, Haiti continues to face daunting political and economic challenges. In the short term, a new cabinet must be formed and the electoral crisis overcome to allow Parliament and local assemblies to function effectively. Reforms needed to strengthen democratic institutions, generate economic growth and create jobs require a basic consensus among Haitians
that had yet to be built. In the long run, sustainable development would not be achieved without significant international assistance, based on a widely supported action plan. To secure and harness this assistance, UNDP sponsored the "Haiti 2012" initiative, by which some 30 objectives to be attained in 15 years in the economic, social and institutional sectors were to be identified by 250 Haitian participants. These objectives and the ensuing framework should provide direction for national and international development efforts.

According to the report, UNDP had begun strengthening its office in Haiti in order to support national development efforts better and to be ready to assume additional institution-building tasks until then carried out by UNSMIH and MICIVIH. It signed an agreement with the Government of Haiti that aimed to increase the absorptive capacity of the administration by providing additional expertise in the design and execution of development projects. With regard to technical assistance for the institutional development of HNP, transfer to UNDP of the voluntary fund established under resolution 975 (1995) was under way. Technical assistance to judicial reform would be required over the medium and long term.

The Secretary-General wrote that although progress had been made in the establishment of the new police force, it had been slow and uneven. Furthermore, some Haitians feared that the young police force might
be manipulated by certain political groups. He shared the view of Haiti's political leaders that, without steady and long-term support from the international community, the force might not be able to cope with serious incidents, risking deterioration in the security situation.

Against this background, the Secretary-General believed that ending the United Nations presence at that time might well jeopardize the significant progress achieved by Haiti with the assistance of the international community. He recommended that the Security Council establish a new mission to be known as the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) for a period of four months until 30 November 1997, the mandate of which would be to support the Haitian authorities in the further professionalization of HNP. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative would continue to coordinate the activities of the United Nations system to promote institution-building, national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation.

The Secretary-General recommended that the United Nations-assessed strength of the new Mission be substantially reduced -- the civilian police element from 300 to 250 officers and the military element from 500 personnel to a military headquarters staff of 50. In view of the progress achieved by UNSMIH, the primary task of the military element would be to support the activities of the United Nations civilian police, and some of its earlier tasks would be gradually discontinued. The 50 headquarters personnel would be supplemented by contingents provided by Canada and Pakistan and funded by voluntary contributions.

During those four months, the civilian police element would gradually shift its tasks to the training of three of the HNP specialized units - crowd control, the rapid reaction force and Palace security - which were considered of distinct importance. The Mission and UNDP would also continue to prepare a technical assistance programme, which would be financed by the voluntary fund established under resolution 975 (1995). The envisaged programme aimed at providing HNP with top-level law enforcement expertise over the next three years.

In concluding his report, the Secretary-General said that the expiration of the peacekeeping mandate on
30 November 1997 would not mean the termination of United Nations involvement in Haiti. Indeed, it would be important for the international community to continue to assist the activities of the Government of Haiti aimed at the strengthening of democratic institutions, as well as to maintain a strong support to the building of a professional police force. A follow-on presence in order to provide advice and active support in the fields of public security and judicial reform, as well as in the monitoring of human rights, would be required for at least the medium term. Special attention would also have to be paid to the country's growing problem in drug trafficking, for which it might be useful to benefit from the expertise of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme.

UNTMIH was established by Security Council resolution 1123 (1997) of 30 July 1997 for a single four-month period ending on 30 November 1997.


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