Haiti: UN helps remove ex-soldiers occupying Aristide house

20 December 2004

United Nations peacekeepers took less than an hour last Friday to move an armed group of demobilized soldiers who were squatting in the house of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a UN spokesman said today.

"At the request of Haiti's interim government, peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) helped remove the former soldiers. No one was hurt in the operation, which lasted less than an hour," Fred Eckhard said at the daily UN Headquarters press briefing in New York.

"The removal followed failed attempts at mediation by members of political parties and civil society groups and the UN Mission."

MINUSTAH said the use of force was a last resort.

The Mission was pleased that the transitional Government was going to address the grievances of former soldiers, such as pension payments and their re-integration into civil society, Mr. Eckhard said.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said it signed two grants totalling $1.36 million to implement two of Haiti's projects: one for solid waste management and another for community-managed rural water supply and sanitation services.

The projects are included in a $6.4 million grant programme approved by the World Bank in September and financed by the Low-Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) Trust Fund, the Bank said.

According to UN World Health Organization (WHO) estimates for 2000, only 51 per cent of rural households in Haiti had access to a minimum of clean water and only 23 per cent had adequate sanitation.

"These grants will help meet the urgent basic social and infrastructure needs of some of the most vulnerable populations in Haiti," said Caroline Anstey, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.

"They are part of a larger grant program designed in close collaboration with the Government of Haiti and international partners which aims to have a quick impact on the ground and support government efforts to launch reforms and strengthen institutions."


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