On December 12 and 13, 2014, a video surfaced of a UN soldier firing a handgun towards protestors in Haiti. Exactly a month later, Kathie Klarreich of 100Reporters published an article detailing the violence and exploitation of United Nations forces against Haitian citizens.
In 2004, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, brought troops from dozens of countries to protect Haitian citizens. More than 10 years later, MINUSTAH peacekeepers are still in the country.
As Klarreich reports, “MINUSTAH, composed of 8,896 unified personnel from 55 countries, including police and civilian, accounts for only seven percent of UN peacekeepers worldwide, but accounts for nearly 26 percent of the allegations of sexual assault and exploitation since 2013.”
First exposed in the 1990s, abuse and sexual assault by UN troops is not a new trend. But while allegations from UN missions around the world have dropped in recent years, allegations regarding MINUSTAH have grown 20 per cent since 2011. Klarreich reports that this is due to underreporting by all parties.
“A UN study of sexual abuse and exploitation in Haiti and elsewhere noted that ‘…[r]eporting brings losses to all parties with no compensation package for complainants and loss of job security for mission staff,’” said Klarreich.
Following the incident in December, the Center for Economic Policy and Research reported that, “in past cases of abuse by MINUSTAH personnel, the body has failed to act swiftly or publicly in administering justice.” Similarly, the results of the most recent investigation have never been revealed.
Kathie Klarreich, “United Nations in Haiti: When Protectors turn Predators”, January 12, 2015, http://www.kogainon.com/100Reporters/HAITI/Title.html.
“UN Troops Use Live Ammunition on Haitian Protesters, Pledge Investigation”, December 15, 2014, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/un-troops-use-live-ammunition-on-haitian-protesters-pledge-investigation.
Amy Bracken, “Haitian moms demand UN help for the babies their peacekeepers left behind”, August 29, 2014, http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-28/un-peacekeepers-destabilize-haiti-babies-they-left-behind.
Student Researcher: Taylor Rattray (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)