The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, is helping to create the stability necessary to hold elections in November. "Peaceful and credible elections and the transfer of power to a new government," said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, "will be key milestones of Haiti's progress." To that end, the United States is supporting a long-term election observation mission led by CARICOM and the Organization of American States, which is in Haiti to work closely with Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council.
The devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12th, 2010, which resulted in more than 220,000 deaths, including 96 UN peacekeepers, delivered a severe blow to the country's already shaky economy and infrastructure. The Security Council agreed to increase the overall force levels of MINUSTAH to support the immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts in the country.
The United States remains concerned about vulnerable populations in the internally displaced persons camps and neighboring communities in Haiti, and the extent of sexual and gender-based violence. The U.S. supports the plan to use the military component of MINUSTAH in a more community-based approach to address violence and women's empowerment more generally in the reconstruction process.
"Addressing the critical issues of sexual and gender-based violence must be part of a wider effort to empower women throughout the reconstruction process," said Ambassador Rice. MINUSTAH should expand its efforts beyond the camps and their vicinity to other areas both in and outside Port-au-Prince.
The increased flow of weapons and drugs into Haiti is certainly a destabilizing factor. MINUSTAH needs to look at ways to leverage its capabilities to help interdict this flow, said Ambassador Rice. The United States has 42 police personnel in Haiti and is working to double the size of its individual police contingent in the coming months. The U.S. welcomes contributions from other member states.
More than 8 months have passed since the quake, and the United States and the United Nations continue to help Haiti recover and rebuild. Much more needs to be done. The U.S. along with the United Nations is committed to staying with the Haitian people and helping Haiti re-build.