Above: peacekeepers in Haiti (Photo: MINUSTAH)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The United Nations Security Council has extended its mandate for the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force in Haiti for another year, the world body announced.
The move will also reduce the overall total of peacekeepers in Haiti as the UN “gradually” hands over authority to Haiti’s national police.
The decision, which was made unanimously by the 15-member United Nations Security Council, will keep the UN’s force in Haiti at least through Oct. 15, 2013.
The reduction will mean a drop in overall troop levels to 6,270 from 7,340 troops in what the UN called a “balanced withdrawal.” It will be accompanied by a police component of as many as 2,601 personnel.
Those moves were proposed in the recent report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
MINUSTAH has already transferred from military to formed police units in four of Haiti’s 10 departments: South, Grand-Anse, Nippes and North-West, according to Ban.
The peacekeeping force was established in June 2004.
By July of next year, MINUSTAH will concentrate its security presence in five hubs: Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Gonaives, Cap-Haitien and Ounaminthe.
The 2,601 number is also a reduction from the authorized police force of 3,241 in Haiti, the UN said.
“The strengthening of the national police remains a key prerequisite for the mission’s eventual withdrawal from Haiti,” Ban said.