30 July 1997


30 July 1997

Press Release


19970730 Resolution 1123 (1997), Adopted Unanimously, Limits Mandate to Single Four-Month Period, Ending 30 November

The Security Council this afternoon unanimously decided to establish a United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH), to assist that Government in professionalizing the Haitian National Police (HNP). The new Mission, to be composed of up to 250 civilian police and 50 military personnel, has a mandate limited to a single four-month period ending on 30 November. It replaces the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH), whose mandate expires on 31 July.

In adopting resolution 1123 (1997), the Council affirmed the importance of a professional, fully functional police force to the consolidation of democracy and the revitalization of Haiti's justice system. The new Mission will focus on training specialized units for crowd control, rapid reaction and Palace security. Its security element will also ensure the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel implementing the Mission's mandate.

Stressing the international community's commitment to a long-term programme of support for Haiti, the Council asked all States to make voluntary contributions to its trust fund for the HNP, particularly for recruitment and deployment of police advisers. It also decided that UNTMIH will assume responsibility for all elements and assets of UNSMIH remaining in Haiti, to deploy as appropriate until they are withdrawn.

In addition, the Secretary-General was asked to report by 30 September on the implementation of today's resolution, including recommendations on the modalities for subsequent peace-building and international assistance to Haiti. The new Mission was established following a request by the President of Haiti.

Statements were made by the representatives of Haiti, Canada, Argentina, Venezuela, France, Chile, Costa Rica, China, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Kenya, Portugal, United States and Sweden.

The meeting, which was called to order at 12:33 p.m., was adjourned at 1:40 p.m.

Council Work Programme

The Security Council meets this afternoon to consider the situation in Haiti. It has before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) (document S/1997/564), in which he recommends that the Council decide to maintain some United Nations support of for the Haitian National Police (HNP) for four months, until 30 November 1997, following the expiration of UNSMIH's mandate on 31 July. Should the Council agree, it could set up a successor operation to be known as the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH), with a mandate to help Haitian authorities further professionalize the HNP.

The new operation would be composed of military and civilian police elements, because the States that contribute the majority of the civilian policemen are not ready to deploy their personnel without appropriate military backing, the Secretary-General states. Mindful of the current financial crisis of the United Nations, he recommends that the United Nations-assessed strength of the new mission be substantially reduced -- from 300 to 250 civilian police officers, and from 500 military personnel to 50 military headquarters staff. They would be supplemented by Canadian and Pakistani contingents, funded voluntarily by Canada and the United States. Those contingents currently have 800 troops.

In an addendum to his report, the Secretary-General estimates the cost for the operation of UNTMIH from 1 August to 30 November at $10.1 million, allowing for a mission strength of 50 military personnel and 250 civilian police. Should the Council decide to authorize the deployment, he would recommend that the cost be borne by Member States as an expense of the Organization. As at 15 July, a total of $51.5 million has been assessed on Member States for UNSMIH for the period 1 July 1996 through 31 May 1997, of which $19.2 has not yet been paid.

During the forthcoming four months, the civilian police officers would gradually shift its tasks to the training of three of the HNP's specialized units -- crowd control, the rapid reaction force and Palace security -- the Secretary-General states. The primary task of the military element would be to support the activities of the civilian police.

While some progress has been made in establishing and training the new police force, particularly in such specialized fields as criminal investigation, narcotics and crowd control, it has been slow and uneven, the Secretary-General states. Furthermore, some Haitians fear that the young force might be manipulated by some political groups, for which there is precedent. Without the international community's steady and long-term support, the force might not be able to cope with serious incidents, risking deterioration in the security situation. Nevertheless, despite sporadic demonstrations and a few calls for the withdrawal of the "occupation force",

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the UNSMIH's international military presence has a stabilizing effect on Haiti, especially at this time of serious political turmoil.

Haiti has been facing continuing unrest, largely as a result of discontent over the country's economic situation and lack of improvement in living conditions, as well as factionalism within the ruling Lavalas movement, the Secretary-General states. In-fighting within that movement has slowed down government operations and hindered progress in the country's transition to democracy, as well as in the economic reforms on which the release of foreign assistance is largely conditioned. It has also further eroded public confidence in the authorities' capacity to solve Haiti's serious problems. Many Haitians still view the State as ineffective, corrupt and unresponsive to their concerns.

The increased circulation of weapons in Haitian society and the emergence of more sophisticated forms of organized crime are proving a formidable challenge to the new police force, the Secretary-General states. Increasing illegal traffic in drugs and vehicles requires urgent attention from the HNP. Gang warfare has also taxed the HNP's ability to respond forcefully within the confines of the rule of law and respect for the rights of suspects. Police officers suffer frequent attacks, often by armed individuals.

The international community itself has now come under attack and is being blamed for Haiti's continuing difficulties, the Secretary-General states. Some popular organizations have publicly opposed that they term a "foreign occupation", with one of them recently calling for armed struggle to "liberate" the country. While those are likely the views of a vocal minority, deep-seated nationalistic sentiments are widely shared, including by those who favour the continuation of an international presence.

Draft Resolution

The Council had before it the following draft resolution, sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and those adopted by the General Assembly,

"Taking note of the request of 13 November 1996 from the President of the Republic of Haiti to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (S/1996/956), and the letter of 20 July 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the United Nations to the Secretary-General (S/1997/568),

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"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General of 19 July 1997 (S/1997/564), and the recommendations contained therein,

"Commending the role of the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) in assisting the Government of Haiti in the professionalization of the police and in the maintenance of a secure and stable environment conducive to the success of the current efforts to establish and train an effective national police force, and expressing its appreciation to all Member States which have contributed to UNSMIH,

"Noting the termination in accordance with resolution 1086 (1996) of the mandate of UNSMIH as of 31 July 1997,

"Supporting the role of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General in the coordination of activities by the United Nations system to promote institution building, national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation in Haiti,

Noting the key role played to date by the United Nations Civilian Police, supported by United Nations military personnel, in helping to establish a fully functioning Haitian National Police Force of adequate size and structure as an integral element of the consolidation of democracy and the revitalization of Haiti's system of justice and, in this context, welcoming continued process towards professionalizing the Haitian National Police,

"Affirming the link between peace and development, noting that significant international assistance is indispensable for sustainable development in Haiti, and stressing that a sustained commitment by the international community and the international financial institutions to assist and support the economic, social and institutional development in Haiti is indispensable for long-term peace and security in the country,

"Recognizing that the people 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,

"1. Affirms the importance of a professional, self-sustaining, fully functioning national police force of adequate size and structure, able to conduct the full spectrum of police functions, to the consolidation of democracy and the revitalization of Haiti's system of justice;

"2. Decides further to paragraph 1 above, and at the request of the President of the Republic of Haiti, to establish the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) with a mandate limited to a single four-month period ending on 30 November 1997 in order to assist the Government of Haiti by supporting and contributing to the professionalization of the Haitian National

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Police, as set out in paragraphs 32 through 39 of the Secretary-General's report of 19 July 1997;

"3. Further decides that UNTMIH be composed of up to 250 civilian police and 50 military personnel to form the headquarters of a security element;

"4. Decides that the security element of UNTMIH, under the authority of the Force Commander, will ensure the safety and freedom of movement of those United Nations personnel implementing the mandate set out in paragraph 2 above;

"5. Further decides that UNTMIH will assume responsibility for all elements and assets of UNSMIH remaining in Haiti to deploy as appropriate until they are withdrawn; "6. Requests all States to provide appropriate support for the actions undertaken by the United Nations and by Member States pursuant to this and other relevant resolutions in order to carry out the provisions of the mandate as set out in paragraph 2 above;

"7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution no later than 30 September 1997;

"8. Recognizes that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction constitute the major tasks facing the Haitian Government and people and that significant international assistance is indispensable for sustainable development in Haiti, and stresses the commitment of the international community to a long-term programme of support for Haiti;

"9. Further requests all States to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund established in resolution 975 (1995) for the Haitian National Police, in particular for the recruitment and deployment of police advisers to assist the Inspector General, Directorate General and department headquarters of the Haitian National Police;

"10. Further requests the Secretary-General to include in his report to be submitted no later than 30 September 1997 recommendations on the modalities of subsequent peace-building international assistance to Haiti;

"11. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

Statements PIERRE LELONG (Haiti) said the international community had made continuous efforts to support democracy and social reconstruction in Haiti. Despite certain problems, there had been significant results, including the establishment of democratic institutions and of the primacy of the rule of law. Long-term projects were replacing temporary efforts. However, the absence of relief machinery was a major problem. In addition national

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reconciliation was being threatened by the proliferation of criminal gangs, whose acts created insecurity among the population. Such factors, combined with the country's difficult economic situation, posed a challenge for the HNP.

There were also problems stemming from the deportation by certain countries of Haitian nationals who, once back in Haiti, became involved in drug and arms trafficking and car thefts, he said. The Secretary-General had recognized that the HNP could not confront all those problems alone. Important tasks had yet to be accomplished before the HNP could he said to have attained self-sufficiency and full professionalism. His Government was convinced that UNTMIH would mark the beginning of a new sustained commitment by the international community. Such a commitment, particularly by financial institutions, was important for Haiti's long-term development.

ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said the draft resolution represented a significant milestone in a series of steps taken by the international community to consolidate democratic government in Haiti. It would establish a new mission to provide further assistance for the professionalization of the Haitian police force. The HNP had made slow but continuous progress over the past two years. Officers of the United Nations Civilian Police (CIVPOL) would now be able to concentrate their efforts in departmental headquarters and at the HNP headquarters in Port-au-Prince. With a leaner and more focused mandate, the new mission would complete the transformation of the full-blown mission established in 1995. He said Canada would commit approximately 650 troops as a voluntary contribution to UNTMIH's security element, at its own expense. In addition, it was expected that 60 Canadian CIVPOL officers would be made available through the end of November. The actions taken by the United Nations in the interest of Haiti were an example of how, in recent years, the international community had been able to develop new and innovative ways of responding to the needs of nascent democracies. He said he welcomed the fact that the transitional phase would not mean the end of United Nations involvement in Haiti. It would take much more time and effort to create truly effective and stable institutions of democracy and to foster long-term economic stability in Haiti. The problems were deep- seated, and Haiti would only be able to address them with the steadfast economic and technical support of the international community over the coming years.

A commitment to the peace-building process was one of the principal pillars of Canada's bilateral relations with Haiti, he said. In addition to food and humanitarian assistance, Canada's very large bilateral development programme had included such important projects as the construction of court houses, support for the reorganization of the Justice Ministry and fiscal reform.

Over the coming four months, Canada intended to work very closely with the Government of Haiti, the donor community, the United Nations Secretariat,

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the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the specialized agencies and the international financial institutions to determine how best to meet Haiti's needs in the longer term, he said. All the various actors in the international community must continue to play their full part in providing support and assistance to Haiti as political stability, respect for fundamental freedoms and economic development took root.

FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) drew attention to the contribution made by UNSMIH to political stability in Haiti. The democratization of Haiti depended not on the United Nations but rather on the will and determination of all Haitian political forces. He wished to thank all Member States which had contributed to the new mission in Haiti and expressed appreciation for the understanding shown by the Russian Federation and China, which had overcome their hesitations and agreed to establishment of the new international mission.

In a presidential statement last month, the Council had referred to the indispensable functions of the national police force with respect to re- establishing civilian order, supporting the rule of law and promoting national reconciliation. It was hoped those objectives would be achieved and that the civilian police in Haiti would continue to fulfil its commitment to preventing conflict and maintaining peaceful conditions.

RAMON ESCOVAR-SALOM (Venezuela) congratulated UNSMIH on its efforts in Haiti, including its help in achieving the peaceful transition to power of its democratically elected Government. Since then, there had been both advances and problems, but it was hoped that Haiti was on the path to democracy and development. The consolidation of the work done by the international civilian mission would allow for the long-term success of institution-building in Haiti. The Haitian people had the ultimate responsibility for development and reconstruction, but the international commitment could do much to help them in that effort.

ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said the United Nations had supported the previous two missions in Haiti. That assistance had played a central role in efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the Haitian National Police. The training of new national police represented a long-term national undertaking. The efforts to attain professionalism had made substantial progress and were having a positive effect on the country. However, security conditions remained fragile.

Acknowledging that the HNP still had shortcomings, he said France had, therefore, agreed to the Haitian Government's request for continued support. France had participated in drafting the resolution which established the new mission, so as to strengthen the HNP and enable it to perform its duties fully by the end of the transition period. His country would contribute to the new mission in ways comparable to its contribution to UNSMIH, in terms of the numbers of gendarmes and police officers.

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JUAN LARRAIN (Chile) said the Council's support in Haiti had contributed to the progress being made there today. Its assistance had borne fruit in a democratically elected government, progress in human rights, and the strengthening of the judiciary. Questioning what would have happened in Haiti without United Nations support during that stabilization phase, he said the international community should be proud of the democratic forces in Haiti.

The present resolution would contribute to the improvement of the police force, he said. If democracy was to function in Haiti, the international community also had to assist in economic development there. He called for long-term international support for Haiti. FERNANDO BERROCAL SOTO (Costa Rica) said that adoption of the draft resolution on UNTMIH represented a broadened understanding of the concept of international peace and security. Poverty and extreme underdevelopment were as much a threat as civil war and environmental degradation. The maintenance of peace and security should be seen from a broader perspective than it was during the cold war years. The Council was moving forward in the right direction.

The training of the HNP would contribute to the rule of law and respect for democracy, he said. However, it would not solve many of the problems in Haiti as noted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its Human Development Report. That was also the situation in many countries of Asia and Africa, where underdevelopment and extreme poverty constituted threats to international peace and security. Adoption of the resolution would help the United Nations move forward and establish its position in the next century. WANG XUEXIAN (China) said his Government attached great importance to the peace process in Haiti and had all along supported the positive efforts made by the United Nations and the international community. It welcomed Haiti's progress in the political, economic and social fields in recent years, with the international community's help, and expressed the hope that it would enjoy long-term stability and that its people might live and work in peace and contentment. He said China had always held that the situation in Haiti no longer posed a threat to international peace and security and that the United Nations peace-keeping mission had already been completed. The main task facing Haiti was economic reconstruction, which should rely mainly on the Haitian people. The international community, particularly the international institutions and other United Nations agencies, should play an active role. Considering the request of the Haitian people and the desire of Latin American countries, the Chinese Government had supported the establishment of UNTMIH as a transitional measure, he said. Hopefully it would work with the Haitian National Police to promote security and development in the country.

AXEXANDRE S. GORELIK (Russian Federation) said the situation in Haiti remained unstable, which was a cause for concern. The UNSMIH had fulfilled

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the tasks given it by the Council. Haitians bore primary responsibility for the reconciliation and rehabilitation of their country. The situation there did not pose a threat to international peace and security. Rather, it represented a complicated transition to democracy, which did not have strong roots in that country. What was necessary was a deliberate commitment by the Haitian Government, coupled with support by the international community for democracy and economic development in Haiti.

The new mission must be made commensurate with the real demands of the hour, he said. His country, therefore, supported the Secretary-General's proposal for the new mission. However, he saw no need for a United Nations military presence in Haiti. The Russian Federation had gone along with the proposal on the understanding that the Mission had a clearly defined, one- time, four-month mandate. The difficulties that were expected to persist would have to be resolved by other means. He, therefore, awaited the Secretary-General's recommendations on the matter. PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that despite the progress made in Haiti, it was disappointing that it had not been sufficient to warrant termination of the United Nations presence at this stage. The overall situation in Haiti remained precarious and fragile. The Council was, therefore, deeply concerned that the HNP was not yet fully prepared to cope on its own with the daunting security challenges facing the country.

The establishment of a full-fledged Haitian National Police force was a keystone to peace and security in the country, he said. That conviction had led his Government to contribute $200,000 to the trust fund for the HNP. His Government was also considering further ways of assisting the Haitian police on a bilateral basis in the area of police equipment, with a view to enhancing the operational capability of the young police force at this critical juncture.

The primary objective of UNSMIH's mandate had not yet been fully accomplished, he said. Sustained international assistance remained essential. The Republic of Korea, therefore, supported the establishment of UNTMIH. In addition to addressing the pressing task of professionalizing the police force, the draft resolution took account of the United Nations difficult financial situation. In that connection, he welcomed the readiness of Canada and the United States to continue to provide generous voluntary contributions for the new mission. With the establishment of UNTMIH, Haiti now embarked on a transition from a peace-keeping to a peace-building phase, he said. It was his earnest hope that the Government and people of Haiti, together with the international community, would work to ensure a smooth and complete transition in the coming four months. The ultimate responsibility for Haiti's future lay with the Government and the people of Haiti. International support could not be a substitute for their own efforts to consolidate the rule of law, democracy and economic development.

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NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said his Government's support for the draft resolution represented a gesture of support for the Haitian people. A minimal but continued United Nations presence would be useful in consolidating the gains made by the Haitian people with the help of UNSMIH. The new operation was a neutral force with a clear mandate, and it must be viewed as such by all Haitians. Kenya agreed with the Secretary-General's recommendation that such a force should not stay for too long and that a four-month mandate was quite adequate.

Peace was a necessary condition for development, he said. The relative insecurity prevailing in Haiti was largely the result of poverty and a lack of improvement in basic living conditions. Only a concerted and wholehearted attack on poverty, with a complete focus on sustainable development, would alleviate the country's problems. The draft resolution recognized that significant international assistance was indispensable for sustainable development in Haiti. He called on the Haitian people to work together to rebuild their nation. At the end of the day, it was they -- and especially their leaders -- who must navigate their nation towards future prosperity.

ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said that despite some progress in Haiti, the situation there remained fragile. His Government shared concerns over Haiti's very serious political and economic problems, the continuation of violence and unrest, the high levels of unemployment, and the slow pace of change. Economic progress and development could only be achievable and sustainable if the rule of law and respect for human rights were ensured.

He said the international presence in Haiti, and of UNSMIH in particular, had been extremely important in assisting the Government to form a police force that was respectful of legality and in helping consolidate the transition to democracy. Without UNSMIH, the situation would have been far worse. Despite their differences, the Haitian authorities and the main political leaders had requested the maintenance of the United Nations presence.

A self-sustained and fully functioning police force was essential to ensure a secure and stable environment, as well as for the economic rehabilitation of the country, he said. So far, the Haitian National Police had not achieved the level of professionalism required to tackle successfully such problems as criminal investigation, narcotics issues and crowd control. Therefore, the continued United Nations presence was of the utmost importance.

BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said that, three years ago, Haiti had been staring at the abyss. Its democratically elected President was living in exile in the United States, and the aspirations of the Haitian people for political, social and economic reform had been snuffed out by a military dictatorship. Three years later, with the help of the international community, Haiti was taking meaningful strides forward. Today, the Council had come together to ensure that the progress continued. The UNTMIH would

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assist the Haitian people and their Government in building on their notable achievements. It would help to professionalize the young inexperienced Haitian police force. The international community should help Haiti to develop durable, democratic institutions and continue to mentor its police force.

Since 1994, the Haitian people had achieved much, he said. An elected parliament now played a prominent role in Haitian democracy, and the economy was showing signs of recovery from years of decline. Yet, despite those advances, obstacles remained. Some in Haiti even sought to reverse the progress towards a democratic way of life. Although much was being accomplished in addressing the long-neglected judicial system, much remained to be done.

The creation of UNTMIH would further bolster development, democratization, peace, and the rule of law in Haiti, he said. The United States welcomed the continued support for Haiti that the adoption of today's resolution would signify. The international community was devoting considerable resources to help build the foundations for a stable, open and democratic society in Haiti. The Council's actions would give the Haitian people a chance to create a future of enduring freedom, justice and prosperity for all its people.

Council President PETER OSVALD (Sweden), speaking as his country's representative, said the Haitian Government had made important efforts to reinforce the rule of law and improve the situation of human rights in that country. The international community would be needed for some time so that the Haitian National Police might be able to fulfil its role in the consolidation of justice and democracy.

The United Nations involvement in Haiti provided constructive examples of the many essential functions performed by the United Nations civilian police, including their important role in helping build confidence and a secure and stable environment, he said. However, security did not only entail maintaining law and order. It also required a fair legal system, efficient democratic institutions, popular participation, and the promotion of sustainable development as pre-conditions for social stability.

The main responsibility for Haiti's development lay with the Haitians themselves, he said. The international community could only support the country in its endeavours to consolidate a democratic society and achieve full development for all. The combined capacity of the United Nations must be utilized. Sweden, therefore, welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to present further recommendations on the modalities for future international assistance to Haiti.

The draft resolution was adopted unanimously as Council resolution 1123 (1997).

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For information media. Not an official record.