Passing on the torch of peace in Haiti
After thirteen years of existence, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) officially came to an end this month and transitioned to a newly established mission, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). Established on 16 October 2017, the mandate of this small-scale mission is focused on assisting the Government of Haiti to develop the Haitian National Police, strengthen rule of law institutions, and to promote human rights.
The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was originally set up to support the Transitional Government in ensuring a secure and stable environment through reform of the Haitian National Police and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programmes. Restoration and maintenance of the rule of law, public safety and public order in Haiti were the principal objectives, along with support to the constitutional and political processes while promoting and protecting human rights in the country.
Since 2007, more than 700 international UN Volunteers have served with MINUSTAH, contributing to the achievement of its mandate through substantive and technical support. The Mission was authorized to include up to 6,700 military personnel, 1,622 police, some 550 international civilian personnel, 150 United Nations volunteers and about 1,000 local civilian staff.
UN Volunteers have made incredible contributions to this Mission despite challenging contexts: from emergency response and early recovery post- earthquake; to being the only UN representation deployed to remote sites during various rounds of election; to the innumerable commitments made in every facet of the daily implementation of the Mission's mandate. Simply put, the dedicated service of UN Volunteers kept MINUSTAH moving forward.
Special credit is due to the UNV Field Unit which has supported UN Volunteers through a two-year political crisis, four cancelled elections, civil unrest, devastation from hurricane Mathew, and flooding from Hurricane Irma. With a continuously changing landscape, UN Volunteers and the UNV team in Haiti strived to maintain an enabling environment so that everyone could maintain their focus on the achievement of peace, stability, and the realization of Haiti’s development goals. Their service is exemplary as they continue to support UN operations in Haiti throughout the recent drawdown and closure of MINUSTAH and start-up of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).
With the new Mission officially launched, UNV continues to support peacekeeping and peacebuilding in Haiti by facilitating the on-boarding process of six new UN Volunteers that will serve within its ranks. MINUJUSTH will assist the Government of Haiti to further develop the Haitian National Police; to strengthen Haiti’s rule of law institutions, including the justice and prisons; and to promote and protect human rights - all with a view to improving the everyday lives of the Haitian people. UN Volunteers are integral to these objectives.