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#1175: UN Council to extend police trainers for Haiti (fwd)
UN Council to extend police trainers for Haiti
01:42 a.m. Nov 30, 1999 Eastern By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The Security Council intends on
Tuesday to extend until mid-March U.N. police trainers for Haiti before
replacing them with a broader new programme to help the country build
democratic institutions. A Canadian-drafted resolution before the
council would extend international civilian police until March 15 to
give time for other U.N. bodies to organise assistance to the Haitian
police, the judiciary and other bodies. The new programme, which will
not include uniformed police, is expected to be authorised by the
General Assembly later this week and would be coordinated as a
long-term development assistance project. Current plans call for a staff
of about 110 plus some 90 administrative personnel and have an initial
mandate of one year, diplomats said. The Security Council needed to
adopt the resolution before the mandate for the U.N. civilian police
force, known as MIPONUH, expired on Tuesday. This operation is made up
of 143 international officers and 138 Argentine security officials.
Another mandate, for a human rights mission known as MICIVIH, expires
on December 31 and will be absorbed into the new larger mission.
The two missions in Haiti were formed after a 1994 U.S.-led invasion of
20,000 troops to Haiti to return elected President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide to power three years after he was ousted in a military coup. He
was succeeded by Rene Preval. The withdrawal of the U.N. police
coincides with a planned pull out of 450 U.S. troops in Haiti early
next year, thereby further complicating an already dangerous situation.
The manoeuvres at the United Nations to move responsibility for Haiti
from the Security Council to the General Assembly were prompted by
China's opposition to a military and police role in Haiti, which has
ties with Taiwan. Beijing, which has veto rights in the council, is not
able to block action by the General Assembly, where it has one vote.
But China may abstain on Tuesday's resolution, backed by an advisory
``Friends of Haiti'' group, composed of the United States, Canada,
France, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina. Earlier, this year the U.N.
Economic and Social Council proposed to the General Assembly a new way
of aiding Haiti within the United Nations system by conducting a
long-range study of the country's needs that did not rise to the level
of a Security Council peacekeeping operation. Its report said even
Haitian institutions that functioned found it difficult to carry out
their tasks because of ``isolated operational practices'' by donors,
including governments, multilateral institutions and voluntary groups.
The international police have been training the Haitian National
Police, created four years ago as a substitute for the previous
military-ruled police. But the new organisation has been accused
by Haitian politicians of killings and torture of people in custody.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a recent report stressed the need for a
smooth transition and urged governments not to abandon Haiti shortly
before legislative elections, expected in March. Haiti's last elections,
for legislative and municipal posts, were held in April 1997. Fraught
with irregularities, the winners never took office. Haiti has been
without a parliament since January, and the stalemate has held up more
than millions of dollars in international aid to Haiti, the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere.