UN: ‘Haiti Needs Security Sector Reform’: Gee, thanks.

NorwayUN

Image: Norway UN

The UN Security Council calls for timely elections and security sector reform in Haiti. The advice is good, but the UN and international community need to be doing a little more looking in the mirror too. Stabilizing Haiti has been a top priority in the wake of its 2004 coup (or simply ‘overthrow’ depending on who you listen to), and again after it was hit by the devastating earthquake, a little more than two years ago now.

‘Stabilizing’ means controlling the violence and insecurity prevalent in many of its cities and especially in Port-au-Prince. It also means protecting the most vulnerable populations and ensuring that Haitians have better opportunities, and access to [insert necessary thing here].

The UN’s mission to Haiti, MINUSTAH, has been active in the country for over 8 years (since 2004), and thanks to its work with the Haitian government, there have been some solid progress in increasing the security of the Haitian people.

Okay. International Crisis Group also argued that real improvements to security need to come from the Haitian government. Also okay.

But it’s hard. It’s hard to create a platform for economic and social development when you are flooded in opaque aid money. It’s hard to create proper precedents for rule of law and good regulatory relations between civilian government and the security sector, especially when the American army is controlling your airport.

So yes, the ball is in the Haitians’ court. But they need reliable, responsible and responsive international partners, beyond even MINUSTAH, with whom to collaborate. If not it’s right back where we were years ago.

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Chris Blattman

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