UN Security Council Visits Haiti To Review Mandate

Published February 14, 2012 1:00AM (EST)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The United Nations Security Council began a four-day mission in Haiti on Monday to review the terms of its mandate in the impoverished Caribbean country.

The 15-member delegation led by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice plans to meet with senior Haitian officials, tour the future site of a job-generating industrial park and visit a police academy in the capital.

"We will see how the United Nations supports Haitian government institutions in security and governance," Rice said as she read from a prepared statement. "We will examine economic development efforts and we will look at the ongoing humanitarian challenges."

In its first mission since 2009, the delegation also aims to evaluate reconstruction efforts following the massive earthquake in 2010 that displaced more than a million people. It plans to see how it can help strengthen the national police force, which has a mere 8,000 officers in a country of 10 million.

The delegation will visit a treatment center for patients who have fallen ill to cholera. Now an epidemic, the disease has been a source of tension between Haitians and peacekeepers after several studies showed that a unit from Nepal, where the disease is endemic, likely brought the disease.

Haiti now has the highest cholera rate in the world and the disease has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened more than 526,000 others, according to Haitian officials.

Tensions have been further strained because of several abuse allegations involving peacekeepers. The cases are under investigation.

The U.N. set up the peacekeeping force in Haiti known by its French acronym Minustah in 2004 to provide stability following the overthrow of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

President Michel Martelly hopes to replace the U.N. peacekeeping mission of 11,000 troops by restoring the national army, which was disbanded in 1995 because of its involvement in coups and history of abuse, and turning it into a "professional" force.

By Salon Staff

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