UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – The Secretary General of the United Nations General Assembly, António Guterres, says it is time for the 2,370 blue-helmeted soldiers in the peacekeeping mission in Haiti to head home after 13 years.
In a report to the UN Security Council last week, Gutteres said the peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by the French acronym, MINUSTAH, should close by October 15.
“The military component should undergo a staggered but complete withdrawal of the 2,370 personnel,” he said.
Guterres’ recommendation comes as US President Donald Trump seeks to significantly cut the US’ UN contribution with a particular focus on reductions in peacekeeping, environment and development.
The Trump administration is also proposing to slash funding for the US Agency for International Development, Haiti’s biggest donor.
The UN Security Council is expected to debate Guterres’ recommendations — including the future role of the United Nations in Haiti — on April 11.
The UN Secretary General is recommending that a smaller mission replace MINUSTAH to focus on police development and the country’s dysfunctional judiciary.
The move had been expected since last month, when UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous visited Haiti and told the Miami Herald that “the military component is not necessary anymore.”
The last time the UN attempted to transition out of Haiti, an armed revolt forced the deployment of more than 6,000 troops.
But Guterres said, the proposed withdrawal should be “gradual” in order to give the Haiti National Police time to take responsibility for the country’s security.