Annan requests extension and expansion of UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti

Annan requests extension and expansion of UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti

UN peacekeepers monitor condition in Bel Air, Haiti
Recommending that the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Haiti be extended for another year and the mission enlarged, Secretary-General Kofi Annan commends it for carrying out crucial tasks in difficult circumstances and says it has created a security environment in which the political transition can take place.

In a report to the Security Council on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Mr. Annan says: "This progress remains fragile, however, and key challenges lie ahead as the transition enters a crucial phase," with elections to end the transition scheduled for later this year and a new Government to take over soon thereafter.

He proposes raising the military component of MINUSTAH, whose mandate was scheduled to expire on the first day of next month, to 7,500 troops from the 6,700 authorized and the 6,211 on the ground as of 9 May.

The new police ceiling should be raised to 1,897 from 1,622 authorized, but 1,413 on the ground, he says, welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General of the International Organization of la Francophonie (IOF), former President Abdou Diouf of Senegal, to recruit more French-speaking police officers for the mission.

Mr. Annan calls once more on donors who pledged funds for strengthening national programmes to disarm illegal groups and build civil society to accelerate what has been a very slow disbursement process and, thereby, to send a message to the Haitian people "that democracy can have tangible benefits in their daily lives."

The Transitional Government, with international assistance, needs to do a great deal more to prepare the Haitian people for the next steps, he says.

"Further outreach by the Transitional Government is essential to obtain the confidence and support of the population. Likewise, strong and coordinated support by the international community is essential," he says.

The Transitional Government needs to secure broad participation in the newly launched national dialogue, as well as in the electoral process, to consolidate democracy, Mr. Annan says, and he welcomes an offer from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to provide technical assistance for the electoral process.

With the State's justice institutions remaining weak, he also appeals to the Transitional Government "to set an example by promptly initiating an investigation into those human rights violations allegedly committed by national police officers" and by calling on the international community to "provide immediate assistance to expedite some of the most sensitive cases."

The visit of a Security Council delegation and the Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti in April "represented an important demonstration of commitment to addressing the needs of Haiti," he says.