SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNITED NATIONS POLICE MISSION IN HAITI, PENDING TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN GROUP NEXT YEAR

30 November 1999
SC/6763

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNITED NATIONS POLICE MISSION IN HAITI, PENDING TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN GROUP NEXT YEAR

30 November 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6763

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNITED NATIONS POLICE MISSION IN HAITI, PENDING TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN GROUP NEXT YEAR

19991130

Resolution 1277 (1999) Asks Secretary-General to Coordinate Change of Mode

The Security Council this afternoon decided to continue the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) in order to ensure a phased transition to an International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH) by 15 March 2000.

The decision was taken by the adoption of resolution 1277 (1999) by a vote of 14 in favor to none against with one abstention (Russian Federation).

Haiti’s representative said the civilian police mission, and the various missions that had preceded it, had carried out their mandates in a positive environment. But the battle for democracy had not been won; threatening elements could still reverse progress achieved to date. He therefore hoped for support for the two texts concerning the proposed MICAH: one before the Council today regarding the transitional period, and the other to come before the General Assembly on creating the mission. He drew attention to a letter from his President, Rene Preval, to the Secretary-General, requesting an unarmed and non-uniformed United Nations presence to assist in the process of democratization.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the present draft was at variance with the Haitian President’s request, which clearly expressed the desire for a non-uniformed presence. The Russian Federation would support a multi-faceted civilian presence in Haiti.

Since 1997, MIPONUH –- whose mandate was to expire today -- has assisted the Government of Haiti by supporting and contributing to the professionalization of the Haitian National Police. The strength of that force is about 6,000, and the Government has announced plans to increase it to 9,000 to 10,000 officers by the year 2003.

In reports before the Council, the Secretary-General described disquieting developments in Haiti over the last three months, raising concerns about the security situation and the potential politicization of the Haitian National Police. The new mission, which is to be considered by the General Assembly, would combine functions that had been performed by MIPONUH and the joint United Nations/Organization of American States International Civilian Mission in Haiti

Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6763 4074th Meeting 30 November 1999

(MICIVIH), and would assist in the areas of police, justice and human rights, which were essential for democracy.

Also this afternoon, statements were made by the representatives of Argentina, United States, Brazil, China and Canada.

The meeting, which began at 3:16 p.m., adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

Council Work Programme

When the Security Council met this afternoon to take up the situation in Haiti, it had before it two quarterly reports from the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) and developments in the mission area (documents S/908, covering the period from 19 May through 24 August; and document S/1999/1184, covering the period from August through 18 November).

It also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1999/1202) sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France and United States, by which the Council would decide to continue MIPONUH in order to ensure a phased transition to an International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH) by 15 March 2000. Also by the text, the Council would request the Secretary-General to coordinate and expedite the transition from MIPONUH and the joint United Nations/Organization of American States International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) to MICAH and report on implementation of the resolution by 1 March 2000.

The mandate of MIPONUH expires today, and in his reports the Secretary- General discusses future support to Haiti. Annexed to the latest report is a letter from the President of Haiti requesting a continued United Nations presence, to support the democratization process and to assist in strengthening the judiciary and professionalizing the national police.

The MIPONUH is mandated to assist the Government of Haiti by supporting and contributing to the professionalization of the Haitian National Police, including mentoring Haitian National Police field performance and strengthening the capability of the central directorate of the police force to manage aid provided to it from bilateral and multilateral sources. On 17 November, the civilian police element of MIPONUH comprised 143 officers from 10 countries. The strength of the Haitian National Police is about 6,000, and the Government has announced plans to increase the force to 9,000 to 10,000 officers by 2003. Alfredo Lopes Cabral (Guinea-Bissau) is the Secretary-General's Representative and Head of MIPONUH.

The Secretary-General reports that during the last three months, there were disquieting developments in Haiti which raised concerns about the electoral process, the security situation and the potential politicization of the Haitian National Police. The Haitian National Police has been the target of attacks and the Secretary of State for Public Security resigned on 7 October, creating a vacuum in police leadership. There have been demonstrations and incidents of violence, some related to discontent over the country's dire economic situation. Recent weeks have seen a spate of armed robberies, drug-related crimes and murders by vigilante groups acting as police substitutes. The number of Haitian National Police officers killed in the line of duty (reported to be 19 since the beginning of 1999 and 63 since 1995), the high rate of resignations and the lack of equipment are continuing concerns. Although there is wide acceptance of the dates proposed for the long-delayed legislative and local elections (19 March and 30 April 2000 for the first and second rounds respectively), it will be impossible for a new Parliament to be in place by mid-January as stipulated in the Haitian Constitution.

Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1212 (1998), the Secretary-General is preparing to withdraw MIPONUH following the expiration of its mandate, unless the Council decides otherwise. The cost of liquidation will be met from within the $18.6 million gross approved by the General Assembly for the year ending 30 June 2000. Other forms of international assistance to the Haitian National Police after MIPONUH's expiration are now being explored. Senior police officials have presided over meetings with representatives of the international donor community to develop a strategy for cooperation built on the concept of a core of police advisers provided by the United Nations and bilateral donors. That core of advisers would ensure a minimum of continuity in external support to the Haitian National Police.

Also, a needs assessment mission, led by the Department of Political Affairs with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, visited Haiti in October to prepare the ground for the future presence of the United Nations, the report continues. The new mission is envisaged as an integrated United Nations mission combining the functions of MIPONUH and MICIVIH to assist the Government in monitoring human rights and building institutions. If approved by the General Assembly, the new mission would support the Haitian authorities in the areas of police, justice and human rights.

There have been consultations the report continues, on the proposed mission between the Government, the Friends of the Secretary-General for Haiti, (Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, the United States and Venezuela), the Secretary-General's Representative, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the Executive Director of MICIVIH, as well as a delegation from the Economic and Social Council that visited Haiti for this purpose.

The Secretary-General's report also contains his observations on the work of MIPONUH since its establishment two years ago. The Mission has made important contributions to the institutional development of the Haitian National Police -- the country's first-ever civilian police force, established in 1995 -- and to police reform. The National Police has made significant progress in discharging its responsibilities since MIPONUH's establishment; now, efforts must be made to sustain its professionalization while at the same time improve the country's antiquated and ineffective judicial system.

Accounts of alleged human rights violations and misconduct by some police officers remain a cause for concern, according to the report. The United Nations Special Rapporteur underlined cases of police brutality and ill treatment during arrest or interrogation, as well as police involvement in gang activities. However, recent reports by Amnesty International and the Special Rapporteur have underscored the generally satisfactory conduct of the police with respect to human rights, the report states.

On the justice system, the Secretary-General reports that despite financial limitations, the Office of the Ombudsman (Office de la protection du citoyen) opened its first regional office on 5 November and its second regional office will open at the start of 2000. Since the Office's opening in November 1997 through the end of 1998, almost 300 complaints were received. In the first annual report, the Ombudsman states that his institution is still not well known among the population and a more active presence in the field is needed to reinforce its activities.

Regarding development in Haiti, the Secretary-General reports that the United Nations system has made progress towards laying the groundwork for harmonizing joint programming and the programme cycle through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework process and within the framework of the Economic and Social Council resolution 1999/11, which called for the formulation of a long-term programme of development for Haiti. In addition to launching the common country assessment process, the reporting period also saw the intensification of new activities by the resident agencies, working individually or in collaboration within their mandated areas.

In his 24 August report on MIPONUH, the Secretary-General also elaborates possible support to Haiti following the expiration of the Mission's mandate. Taking into account the special challenges which continue to face Haiti, the Economic and Social Council had recommended that the General Assembly consider devising a United Nations special training and technical assistance programme for the National Police. Subject to the availability of resources, police advisers would continue to assist the Government of Haiti with training and professionalization. Should the General Assembly decide to establish a new mission, it could also incorporate the current United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) technical advisors.

The Secretary-General recommends reviewing the extent to which the functions currently exercised by the two existing missions in Haiti -- MIPONUH and MICIVIH -- could be combined in one integrated mission. Again subject to the availability of resources, a new United Nations mission could discharge responsibilities in the areas of human rights monitoring and institution-building to provide support to the justice sector and the National Police. The new mission would encourage the Haitian authorities to reform and strengthen Haiti's system of justice, including its penal institutions; verify the observance of human rights standards and support the promotion and protection of human rights; and assist with the development and strengthening of the institutions of democratic governance, including civil society.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1999/1202) sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France and United States, which reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1212 (1998) of 25 November 1998, and those adopted by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly,

“Taking note of the letter of 8 November 1999 from the President of the Republic of Haiti to the Secretary-General (A/54/629), requesting the establishment of an International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH),

“Taking note of the reports of the Secretary-General of 24 August 1999 (S/1999/908) and of 18 November 1999 (S/1999/1184),

“Commending the valuable contributions of the Representative of the Secretary- General, the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH), the International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) and the technical assistance programmes of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and bilateral donors, in assisting the Government of Haiti by supporting and contributing to the professionalization of the Haitian National Police (HNP) force as an integral element of the consolidation of Haiti's system of justice, as well as by their efforts in developing national institutions,

“Recognizing that the people and Government of Haiti bear the ultimate responsibility for national reconciliation, the maintenance of a secure and stable environment, the administration of justice and the reconstruction of their country, and that the Government of Haiti bears particular responsibility for the further strengthening and effective functioning of the HNP and the justice system,

“1. Decides to continue MIPONUH in order to ensure a phased transition to an International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH) by 15 March 2000;

“2. Requests the Secretary-General to coordinate and expedite the transition from MIPONUH and MICIVIH to MICAH and to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution by 1 March 2000;

“3. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Statement

PIERRE LELONG (Haiti) said MIPONUH, and the various missions that had preceded it, had carried out their mandates in a positive environment. But the battle for democracy had not been won; threatening elements might reverse progress achieved to date. Domestic problems and external pressure had threatened to weaken institutions and halt progress. The role of the police had been made more difficult by the problems and constraints that hampered development. The Secretary-General’s report stated that the new mission could assist in the areas of police, justice and human rights, which were essential for democracy. In his 8 November letter to the Secretary-General, Haiti President René Preval had expressed appreciation for efforts to date but stated that his Republic would like to see an unarmed presence set up to assist in the process of democratization. He hoped the draft resolution supporting the transitional phase to the MICAH, and the draft put to the General Assembly proposing the creation of the mission, would meet with approval.

GENNADI M. GATILOV (Russian Federation) said he would abstain in the vote on the draft resolution before the Council for reasons of principle. By extending the mandate, the Council was in breach of its own decision and placing itself in an absurd position. The use of the word “continue” did not change the situation, and was meant to camouflage the true meaning.

He said the Haitian President had clearly set forth his position, and had expressed the desire for a non-uniformed United Nations presence in Haiti. That was at variance with the present decision since there was no written request from the Government of Haiti. He would support a civilian presence. That presence should be multi-faceted and not at variance with the wishes of the country.

The Council then adopted the draft as resolution 1277 (1999) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against with 1 abstention (Russian Federation).

FERNANDO PETRELLA (Argentina) said the resolution was a technical measure aimed at facilitating the smooth transition to the new civilian support mission in Haiti, the creation of which was to be considered by the Assembly shortly. In an almost unprecedented experience in the history of the Organization, there was now the closing of one phase and the opening of another: the phase to consolidate peace and democratic institutions. Each of the organs involved in each of the previous stages had carried out their tasks to the fullest.

NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said her Government strongly endorsed the proposal to continue MIPONUH until 15 March 2000. The action gave the United Nations the valuable time needed to recruit the technically skilled personnel required to fulfil the mandate of the follow-on mission, MICAH. The creation of the new mission would represent a new stage in the international community’s partnership with Haiti, and move that partnership in new directions. The transition over the next few months from MIPONUH to MICAH reflected the changing realities in the type of international help most suitable for today’s Haiti. With the difficult task of creating a professional police force behind, the focus now must be on insuring the long-term sustainability of the Haitian National Police. To do that, the international community must concentrate on strengthening the middle and senior level management capabilities of the force. But the justice system had failed to keep pace with the progress of the police and that situation could undermine efforts with the police. Flaws in the administration of justice also presented a long-term threat to the protection of the basic human rights of the Haitian people. The international community had helped Haiti advance but the job was not yet done.

GELSON FONSECA (Brazil) said the extension of MIPONUH's mandate was necessary to ensure a smooth transition to new forms of United Nations assistance to Haiti, with a view to consolidating the gains achieved thus far. He was confident that the Assembly would soon approve the establishment of a new integrated mission in Haiti. The new mission would assist in the areas of police training, electoral process, justice and human rights, which were vital for the consolidation of democracy.

He said the transition to new forms of international assistance for Haiti was in direct response to the concerns expressed by the Council one year ago. He recalled that it was at the initiative of his predecessor, Celso Amorim, that a specific invitation was issued to the Economic and Social Council to contribute to designing a long-term programme of support for Haiti. He was pleased to note the effective contribution made by the Economic and Social Council in helping to shape the new model of United Nations presence in Haiti.

Continuing, he said this test case had opened the way to further strengthen the collaboration of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council in addressing questions related to the transition from peacekeeping to peace-building in post conflict situations.

CHEN YU (China) said he appreciated MIPONUH's assistance in the reconstruction efforts of the Haitian people. President Preval had expressed hope that the United Nations would continue its presence in Haiti and set up a new mission. In that regard, he supported the set up of MICAH.

When the overall situation in Haiti was stable, he said, the United Nations should focus on restoring the economy. The MIPONUH should consider completing its work in consideration of the overall situation so that a bigger role could be played in the peace-building field. He hoped that Haiti could keep the situation stable, and march towards peace and development at an early date with the help of the international community.

MICHEL DUVAL (Canada) said his delegation had introduced the draft. At the end of the lengthy process of peacemaking, the Council had participated in a new approach to ensure transition to peacekeeping. The MIPONUH had laid the groundwork for the development of an independent and professional police force in Haiti. Gains achieved by MIPONUH had enabled the Council to move to a more flexible mechanism. The MICAH would complete the transition from a military presence, to keep the peace, to a civilian police presence. The new mission, being considered by the General Assembly was designed to better support the needs of Haiti, while also reducing the costs involved. The transition period that the Council had adopted was essential so that MICAH could be organized, deployed and used to its full potential.

The new mission was fundamentally different from other missions, he said. Time would be needed to coordinate the multi- and bilateral systems already in place. The MICAH must truly consolidate the gains achieved by the Organization. But the people and Government of Haiti bore the ultimate responsibility for the stability of their country. The upcoming elections would be important milestones in that regard. The decision to maintain MIPONUH to support MICAH was based on the desire to support the people of Haiti.

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For information media. Not an official record.