The United Nations Stabilisation Mission In Haiti (known as MINUSTAH — an acronym derived from its French name) is a so-called peacekeeping mission sent by the UN to Haiti following the 2004 coup. Since its earliest days, the organization has been criticized for using excessive violence against the Haitian people.
Human Rights Report
In 2011, a Harvard-associated Student Organization released a fairly comprehensive report about MINUSTAH’s abuses. In the executive summary, the authors state:
Less than a year after the first soldiers landed on Haitian soil, independent humanitarian organizations documented cases of robbery, murder, assault, rape, and sexual exploitation of minors. Evidence grew that MINUSTAH ignored extrajudicial, paramilitary killings of civilian groups mobilizing to protect their communities. Worse, it sometimes acted as the guerillas’ personal security force. These missions often cost innocent lives, as entire neighborhoods were assaulted by military strikes involving tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, bombs, and armored vehicles. These offensives, conducted by an occupying military force in a peacetime sovereign nation, violate MINUSTAH’s charter and international law. Nevertheless, MINUSTAH’s mandate allows for judicial immunity from Haitian law for its soldiers. Since its inception, hundreds of soldiers implicated in crimes have escaped prosecution because of this clause.
Top ten reasons why MINUSTAH needs to leave Haiti
My colleague, Ajamu, compiled this list of 10 reasons why MINUSTAH needs to leave Haiti:
- MINUSTAH continually harasses and humiliates Haitians. MINUSTAH’s favorite activities include pepper spraying Haitians and capriciously confiscating drivers’ licenses and computers.
- Common criminals in MINUSTAH enjoy immunity from prosecution. Though over 100 troops have been expelled from Haiti for child prostitution and related charges, MINUSTAH soldiers have enjoyed immunity for most of their crimes, including numerous rapes and the suffocation in August 2010 of a Haitian teenager working on a Nepalese MINUSTAH base.
- MINUSTAH subverts democracy. Together with the U.S., Canada, and France, MINUSTAH fixed elections that excluded 80% of the Haitian electorate and brought a duvalierist, Michel Martelly, back into power in May 2011.
- MINUSTAH interferes in Haiti’s political affairs. Former MINUSTAH head Edmond Mulet recommended that criminal charges be brought against Haiti’s legitimate President, Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, so as to keep him illegally out of Haiti.
- MINUSTAH serves as an occupation force. MINUSTAH troops, together with Haitian paramilitaries, ambushed and gunned down over 4,000 members of Fanmi Lavalas (Aristide’s party) soon after Aristide was deposed in 2004 in a coup plotted by the U.S., Canada, France, and Haiti’s elite.
- MINUSTAH has operated as a large anti-Aristide gang. MINUSTAH conducted numerous raids on slums such as Cité Soleil so as to kill civilians who supported Aristide. In some of these raids MINUSTAH soldiers fired tens of thousands of rounds at dwellings and schools.
- MINUSTAH troops showed spectacular cowardice after the earthquake of January 2010. During the first 36 hours after the earthquake, the troops hardly assisted Haitians and instead searched for each other.
- MINUSTAH harbors vandals and vectors of disease. In October 2010 MINUSTAH introduced a cholera epidemic into Haiti. So far the epidemic has killed over 5,900 Haitians. MINUSTAH covered up the fact that several Nepalese soldiers arrived in Haiti sick with cholera and still lies about its role in the epidemic. As recently as August 6, 2011, MINUSTAH was continuing to dump its fecal matter in Haiti’s rivers.
- The presence of UN troops on Haitian soil is illegal. Haiti’s MINUSTAH is the only UN force in a country that is not at war.
- The Haitian people despise MINUSTAH. Haitians at home and abroad, young and old, rich and poor, have made it known that they want MINUSTAH out of Haiti. Common epithets for the troops are “Volè kabrit!” (Goat thief!), “Kakachwet!” (Shitter!), “Koléra!” and “Pédofil!”