The United Nation’s Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, has de facto controlled the island for more than seven years. Since the January 2010 earthquake, it has increased its force “in order to support immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts.” Its work falls under a strict mandate of human rights, meant to ensure the protection of the Haitian people.
The reality of MINUSTAH’s presence has been quite the opposite. “MINUSTAH: Keeping the peace, or conspiring against it?,” a new report issued this month by Harvard University’s School of Public Health, challenges the UN troops’ efficacy, documents their abuses, and advocates their withdrawal from Haiti. This laudable and well-researched white paper—pulled together by human rights advocates, doctors, public health experts, and journalists—details how MINUTAH has crossed the line. As the report concludes, “If the UN and its members want to support Haiti, MINUSTAH’s nearly one billion USD yearly budget should be put toward sanitation, shelter, health, infrastructure, and education, not arms and soldiers that result in death, sexual assault, and the subversion of democracy.” Respect for Haiti’s sovereignty is long overdue, which means it’s far past time for MINUSTAH to leave. Click here to read the full report.