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U.N. International Report: Haiti Background

By United Nations International Report,
Vol. 1, no. A1 (3 April 1995)

Security Council


S/RES/975 (1995)
30 January 1995

RESOLUTION 975 (1995)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 3496th meeting, on 30 January 1995

The Security Council,
Recalling the provisions of its resolutions 841 (1993) of 16 June 1993, 861 (1993) of 27 August 1993, 862 (1993) of 31 August 1993, 867 (1993) of 23 September 1993, 873 (1993) of 13 October 1993, 875 (1993) of 16 October 1993, 905 (1994) of 23 March 1994, 917 (1994) of 6 May 1994, 940 (1994) of 31 July 1994, 944 (1994) of 29 September 1994, 948 (1994) of 15 October 1994 and 964 (1994) of 29 November 1994,

Recalling also the terms of the Governors Island Agreement (S/26063) and the related Pact of New York (S/26297),

Recalling its determination in resolution 940 (1994) that the situation in Haiti constituted a threat to peace and security in the region which required the successive deployment of the Multinational Force in Haiti (MNF) and the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH),

Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General dated 18 October 1994 (S/1994/1180), 21 November 1994 (S/1994/1322) and 17 January 1995 (S/1995/46 and Add.1), and having considered the reports of MNF, dated 26 September 1994 (S/1994/1107, annex), 10 October 1994 (S/1994/1148, annex), 24 October 1994 (S/1994/1208, annex), 7 November 1994 (S/1994/1258, annex), 21 November 1994 (S/1994/1321, annex), 5 December 1994 (S/1994/1377, annex), 19 December 1994 (S/1994/1430, annex), 9 January 1995 (S/1995/15, annex) and 23 January 1995 (S/1995/70, annex),

Noting in particular the MNF commander's statement of 15 January 1995 and the accompanying recommendation, based on the MNF commander's report, of the States participating in the MNF (S/1995/55), regarding the establishment of a secure and stable environment in Haiti,

Noting the recognition in these reports and recommendations that a secure and stable environment has been established in Haiti,

Taking note of the letter dated 27 January 1995 from the Permanent Representative of Haiti to the United Nations (S/1995/90),

Underlining the importance of ensuring that force levels of peace-keeping operations are suited to the tasks involved, and noting the need for the Secretary-General to keep the force levels of UNMIH under constant review,

Recognizing that the people of Haiti bear the ultimate responsibility for national reconciliation and reconstruction of their country,

  1. Welcomes the positive developments in Haiti, including the departure from Haiti of the former military leadership, the return of the legitimately elected President, and the restoration of the legitimate authorities, as envisaged in the Governors Island Agreement and consistent with resolution 940 (1994);
  2. Commends the efforts of the States participating in the MNF to work closely with the United Nations to assess requirements and to prepare for the deployment of UNMIH;
  3. Expresses appreciation to all Member States who have contributed to the MNF;
  4. Expresses its appreciation to the Organization of American States (OAS) and for the work of the International Civilian Mission (MICIVIH) and requests that the Secretary-General, bearing in mind the expertise and potential of the OAS, consult with the Secretary-General of the OAS regarding other appropriate measures which might be taken by both organizations consistent with this resolution and to report to the Council on the results of these consultations;
  5. Determines, as required by resolution 940 (1994) and based on the recommendations of the Member States participating in the MNF and in concurrence with paragraph 91 of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 January 1995 (S/1995/46), that a secure and stable environment, appropriate to the deployment of UNMIH as foreseen in the above-mentoned resolution 940 (1994), now exists in Haiti;
  6. Authorizes the Secretary-General, in order to fulfil the second condition specified in paragraph 8 of resolution 940 (1994) for the termination of the mission of the MNF and the assumption by UNMIH of its functions specified in that resolution, to recruit and deploy military contingents, civilian police and other civilian personnel sufficient to allow UNMIH to assume the full range of its functions as established by resolution 867 (1993) and as revised and extended by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 940 (1994);
  7. Further authorizes the Secretary-General, working with the MNF commander, to take the necessary steps in order for UNMIH to assume these responsibilities as soon as possible, with the full transfer of responsibility from the MNF to UNMIH to be completed by 31 March 1995;
  8. Decides to extend the existing mandate of UNMIH for a period of six months, that is until 31 July 1995;
  9. Authorizes the Secretary-General to deploy in Haiti, in accordance with resolution 940 (1994), up to 6,000 troops and, as recommended in paragraph 87 of his report of 17 January 1995 (S/1995/46), up to 900 civilian police officers;
  10. Recalls the commitment of the international community to assist and support the economic, social and institutional development of Haiti and recognizes its importance for sustaining a secure and stable environment;
  11. Recognizes that the situation in Haiti remains fragile and urges the Government of Haiti, with the assistance of UNMIH and the international community, to establish without delay an effective national police force and to improve the functioning of its justice system;
  12. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a fund, in addition to that authorized in paragraph 10 of resolution 867 (1993), through which voluntary contributions from Member States can be made available to support the international police monitoring programme and assist with the creation of an adequate police force in Haiti;
  13. Further requests that the Secretary-General apprise the Council at an early date of the modalities of the transition from the MNF to UNMIH, and also submit to the Council no later than 15 April 1995 a progress report on the deployment of UNMIH;
  14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Composition of UNMIH:

United States - 2,400 engineering, aviation, logistics, special forces, light cavalry.
Pakistan - 850 troops.
Bangladesh - 850 troops.
Canada - 475 engineering, aviation, logistics.
Nepal - 410 troops.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) - 300 troops.
Netherlands - 142 troops.
Honduras - 120 troops.
Guatemala - 120 military police.
India - 120 troops.
Surinam - 36 troops.
Argentina - 27 for Fokker aircraft.
Headquarters Staff: 172 (all countries)


Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Canada, Djibouti, Dominica, France, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Surinam and Togo.

Military commander: U.S. Maj. Gen. Joseph Kinzer

Police commander: Neil Pouliot, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Civilian head: Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister.

UNMIH spokesperson in Haiti: Eric Falt (509) 462-025/ 464-047

On 6 March 1995, the US permanent representative to the UN, Madeleine K. Albright presented the twelfth and last report of the Multinational Force in Haiti (S/1995/183).

This report contains only passing and anecdotal references to the human rights and security situation in Haiti.


3. As carnival festivities come to a close, Haiti remains secure and stable. Carnival season witnessed crowds of 500,000 to 750,000 gather peacefully in Port- au-Prince and other places across the country. That the carnival crowds were generally peaceful was in part due to a vigorous information campaign directed at maintaining stability during celebrations, as well as a visible presence of the Force throughout the country. While criminal violence did occur during the period covered by the report, the incidence of this was moderate and in some cases the Interim Public Security Force (IPSF) was able to respond to and control the situation.

4. On 3 March, the body of Haitian parliamentarian Eric Lamothe was discovered in a crashed automobile. Lamothe had been shot twice. ...

7. The weapons buy-back programme collected over 800 guns and 2,700 munitions. Total weapons seized or bought back to date number 33,000. Vehicle search operations continued to produce few confiscated weapons. From 26 to 28 February, several thousand rounds of ammunition were destroyed by the Multinational Force at the range complex. The destruction of confiscated Haitian unserviceable ammunition is now 75 per cent complete.

8. During the period covered, the Multinational Force conducted out-of-sector missions at Pilate, Le Borgne, Hinche, Plaisance and Mirebalais and in the Artibonite Valley. Special Multinational Force missions include providing aircraft support to the Haitian Election Commission, providing security for the testing of police academy candidates and conducting site surveys of proposed UNMIH base camp locations.

9. The Multinational Force also escorted a pay team which made payments to IPSF personnel in several locations. Legal mentors, in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) are conducting training of local judges and lawyers in the outlying areas. The international police monitors continued to conduct police patrols throughout Haiti and assist IPSF in responding to citizen complaints and making arrests.

10. Testing for the next police academy class was completed at Gonaives on 20 February and at Cap-Haitien on 24 February. Three hundred and seventy-five candidates will start the second police academy class on 13 March. The Government of Haiti has agreed in principle that a commission, including representation from the United Nations and ICITAP, will be formed to make recommendations for leadership positions in the national police structure.

11. President Aristide has asked the Multinational Force for assistance in training a 200-man, uniformed presidential palace security force. The Force has agreed to provide a four-week training course.

On March 29, 1995, Human Rights Watch/Americas and the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees published a report, Haiti, Security Compromised, Recycled Haitian Soldiers on the Police Front Line.

The report criticizes the failure adequately to identify, investigate and dismiss human rights violators when the interim police force was created.


The United States dominated multinational force entered Haiti on September 19, 1994, with a mandate to use all necessary means ... to establish and maintain a secure and stable environment ... The force's presence permitted the reinstatement of President Jean- Betrand Aristide and a reduction in the severe human rights abuses that plagued Haiti during the three year military regime. Yet as the multinational force prepares to turn over operations to the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) on March 31, 1995, political tensions are increasing and far from having brought stability, the U.S.-led force can point only to a fragile security that impending parliamentary and presidential elections may rupture. Since the UNMIH mandate is designed solely to maintain a secure environment and will prohibit law enforcement, increasing responsibilities will soon fall onto Haiti's only functioning security force, an interim police force composed entirely of former members of the same military whose brutal human rights record initially galvanized the international effort to restore democracy to Haiti.

Neither the Haitian nor the U.S. governments enacted adequate screening procedures to purge the army human rights violators prior to establishing the interim force. By the end of January 1995, U.S. officials of the State, Defense, and Justice departments, aided by the Haitian military high command, had selected nearly 3,400 soldiers through the rank of major, given them six days of training, and returned them to their units to serve under the observation of international police monitors of the multinational occupation force. Yet a U.S. Embassy source admitted that in truth only the Haitian officer corps had been individually scrutinized. Not surprisingly, there are serious allegations of involvement in human rights violations against members of the interim force and against senior military officials who supervised the creation of the force.

The decision to create an interim force of former soldiers, together with the failure to create effective mechanisms for screening out human rights violators or to investigate civilian complaints against members of the force, resulted in an interim police force that lacks the authority to enforce the law effectively. Many of the interim police are afraid to patrol alone, have been rejected outright by the population, and in some cases, attacked when there were allegations of abuse they committed while members of the military. Other interim police have returned to their intimidatory practices of the past. The widespread lack of credibility of the interim police force, engendered in part by a hasty selection process that failed to identify and human rights violators , could compromise the relative security achieved in Haiti by the multinational force.

The failures of the interim police to provide security in the face of a vacuum left by the concurrent dissolution of the army, and more recently, an emerging crime wave, have led to sporadic efforts to involve civilians in public security. So far these efforts have had decidedly mixed results. The Guantanamo refugee recruits who now work alongside the interim police in some areas have not contributed significantly to enhanced stability, largely due to their limited responsibilities and their subordinate role vis a vis the interim police. Community policing options and the mergence of neighborhood watch associations, both of which have received the endorsement of U.S. forces, represent potentially effective supplements to the interim security forces. Unfortunately, they already have led several violent confrontations, as some participants have taken the law into their own hands.

The dissolution of the Haitian army and the time consuming formation of a new, permanent police force in Haiti leave the country with only the interim police as a security force during the parliamentary elections in June and presidential elections in December. Late in 1994, the Haitian government officially disbanded the Haitian army, retaining approximately 3,400 former military in the interim police force. By mid-February 1995, the Haitian government had dismissed all Haitian officers above the rank of major, leaving Maj. Dany Toussaint, the commander of the interim police, as the most senior officer. While some Haitian soldiers remain on Defense Ministry payrolls, the future of the Haitian army is uncertain. Earlier plans called for it to reemerge with a force of 1,500, but the dramatic dismantling of the institution may prevent its reconstruction as a viable force.

A new national police academy was inaugurated in early February and has begun four month training sessions for the first two classes of 375 recruits each. At the present rate, the academy will not graduate the full complement of police cadets to form the national police force of 6,000 to 7,000 officers until November 1996 at the earliest. Until then, the Haitian and U.S. governments intend for the interim police to serve alongside members of the new permanent national police. As the interim police will be removed incrementally once the total number of combined interim and permanent police reaches 6,000 to 7,000, all of the interim force will remain on the streets until at least March 1996. In addition, some of the interim police will be permitted to apply for the permanent police force, although the Haitian and the U.S. governments do not plan for more than 9 percent of the new force to be composed of former soldiers. Nevertheless, neither the U.S. nor the Haitian government has incorporated thorough and transparent human rights screening procedures into the selection process of the academy.

The foreign troop presence in Haiti has curbed the widespread violations of human rights that marked the coup d'etat regime, but abuses have continued. The present security vacuum and concurrent crime wave are heightening tensions. The challenge now for the Haitian government, with the international community providing support, is to transform this externally enforced calm into a durable environment of security that breaks the cycle of violence and impunity that has plagued the country for decades. This requires the creation of civilian institutions capable of promoting the law and establishing accountability for the egregious crimes of the recent past.

For further information:

in Port-au-Prince:
Sarah DeCosse (509)23-4102/23-4000
Anne Fuller (509)45-4420

in Washington:
Gretta Tovar Siebentritt (202)371-6599,x135

in New York:
Jocelyn McCalla (212)337-0005

The full report is available from the Publications Department, Human Rights Watch, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104


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