Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (S/2016/225)

Date: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Countries: 
Haiti
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Justice, Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding
Document PDF: 

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (S/2016/225)

Code: S/2016/225

Date: 8 March 2016

Topic: Pursuant to Resolution 2243 (2015), this report covers major developments in Haiti and the implementation of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) mandate during the reporting period between 31 August 2015 to 1 March 2016. Annex I provides an update on progress towards implementation of the consolidation plan for MINUSTAH since set out in the 8 March 2013 report to the Security Council (S/2013/139).

Women, Peace and Security

During the reporting period, Haiti made progress towards political stability and enhanced national capacity was demonstrated on several occasions. Highly anticipated rounds of elections were held; however, no women were elected despite a 30% constitutional quota (S/2016/225, para. 10). Haitian National Police (HNP) managed a spike in protests during the election process with assistance from MINUSTAH, and although both MINUSTAH and HNP have a severe gender imbalance (S/2016/225, para. 25 and Annex II), a gender lens was integrated in training and mainstreaming efforts (S/2016/225, para. 27, 37, 39, 51, 54). Additionally, community violence reduction programs and reintegration programs aimed at women were initiated (S/2016/225, para. 28, 31, 49). Presence of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda has increased both in numbers and scope since the last report (from nine to twelve references), with nine references to participation (S/2016/225, para. 10, 25, 28, 31, 37, 49, 51 and Annex II) and three to protection (S/2016/225, para. 19, 27, 54), but this report focuses on facts and data and offers scant analysis of the situation for women. 

Protection of civilians, including refugees and IDPs

An opportunity was missed to discuss the mandated task of addressing the needs of internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups, especially women and children, including through joint community policing in camps (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 27). This is particularly important because refugees and internally displaced civilians, particularly women, are targeted by combatants and armed elements, consequently impacting durable peace and reconciliation, as per WPS Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2122 (2013) (S/RES/1325 (2000), PP. 4, OP. 12, S/RES/1889 (2009) PP. 12, OP. 12), which are both cited in the MINUSTAH mandate (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 14). 

Support to police

The Haitian National Police force is 9 per cent women, and the police academy class is 12 per cent women, which is a slight decrease from last year (S/2016/225, para. 25, S/2015/667, para. 29; Annex I para. 2, 5; Annex II). This reference could have been stronger if it had reported numbers of women officers for previous years to help provide context, and a basis for analysis of the decrease. A further improvement would be to include analysis of the situation for women police, such as a discussion of obstacles to participation, and specific plans or steps to be taken to increase women’s participation, which would ideally be led by women.

Humanitarian support

There are no references to the WPS agenda in this section of the report, despite that Haiti’s humanitarian situation remains extremely complex: cholera persists, food insecurity is high (compounded by El Nino and three years of drought), and humanitarian funding is declining (S/2016/225, para. 40 - 46). Because women are not mentioned at all in this section, it is assumed that women are not included in the distribution or planning of aid. However, gender programming is extremely important in humanitarian responses, and all actors should ensure that women and women’s groups participate meaningfully in the programming and provision processes, that aid for women is protected, and that funding is tracked, as per Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1889 (2009), 2122 (2013), and 2242 (2015) (S/RES/1325 (2000), OP. 4; S/RES, 1889 (2009), OP. 1; S/RES/2122 (2013), PP. 8, 9; S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 3, 16). Future reporting can be improved if it includes the fundamental first step in assessing the situation for women in this context by consistently reporting sex-disaggregated data in all report sections. 

Human rights, women and peace and security, and children and armed conflict 

Several actors are establishing measures to combat sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). The Central Directorate of the Judicial Police established a SGBV investigations unit with 19 investigators having already completed specialized training (S/2016/225, para. 27). Meanwhile, MINUSTAH established a dedicated task force and a community-based mechanism for reporting SEA by Mission personnel (S/2016/225, para. 54), yet UN peacekeepers have been engaged in transactional sex despite that MINUSTAH continues to raise awareness about the UN zero-tolerance policy on SEA (S/2016/225, para. 34). Reported cases of rape have declined slightly since the last report (from 223 to 218), and although this is reported as “indicating greater stability,” the Ministry for the Status of Women and Women’s Rights suggested there is underreporting in areas where gangs are the main perpetrators (S/2016/225, para. 19). Additionally, the United Nations country team has been advocating for the advancement of human rights, in particular the rights of women, programs against gender-based violence, and the reform of educational policy (S/2016/225, para. 49). 

These references could have been strengthened by detailing the numbers and genders of individuals slated for police training, and for those working through MINUSTAH initiatives, in order to provide a basis for gender analysis. Furthermore, the report should have included much more detailed plans and substantial steps being taken to address and prevent SEA, as was mandated (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 25, 28). Future reporting should also address actions taken to “improve response to rape complaints and access to justice for victims of rape and other sexual crimes,” as stated in the mission mandate (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 25).

Overall, this section focused on matters concerning sexual violence, and although important, the report missed an opportunity to comprehensively address the situation for women by not reporting on other WPS-related mandate activities. As per the mission mandate, the UN country team is requested to complement the Government of Haiti, with the support of MINUSTAH, in security and development operations, and in longer term impact activities aimed at improving the living conditions of women and children in particular (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 23). 

Rule of law (ROL) / Judicial matters

The report notes that community violence reduction programmes provided 1,919 vulnerable women with medical examinations and psychosocial support in neighborhoods particularly affected by gang violence: $3 million of funding for 19 new projects has been approved, and 7 projects were launched with partners, targeting 16,420 beneficiaries, 30 per cent of whom were women (S/2016/225, para. 28). Furthermore, at the women’s prison at Pétionville and the Centre de rééducation des mineurs en conflit avec la loi, a school program for minors in conflict with the law was launched by MINUSTAH (S/2016/225, para. 31). These references could have been improved by detailing women’s involvement in the design and implementation of the programs. An opportunity was missed to disclose whether medical examinations and psychosocial support for women's would be a regular occurrence, or if any of the new projects targeted women directly. 

Political process 

Multiple rounds of highly anticipated elections were held during the reporting period, and proceeded “relatively peacefully,” however no women were elected to either chamber of the Parliament, despite a 30% quota in Haiti’s constitution (S/2016/225, para. 10). Reporting would have been stronger if it detailed the steps taken to promote increased women’s political participation in Haiti, as called for in the mandate (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 14). If nothing was being done to reach this goal, the Secretary-General missed an opportunity to call on the Government of Haiti and other stakeholders to make concrete steps to increase women’s participation and reaching the 30% quota. Future reporting should include analysis of the political situation for women and include recommendations to mitigate issues. Language from Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2122 (2013), twice referenced in the mandate (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 14, 25), should be used in this regard.

Electoral assistance 

The Prime Minister of Haiti requested MINUSTAH to support the Provisional Electoral Council in organizing 82 pre-electoral forums with political parties and candidates, local authorities, young people, civil society, women’s groups and local media (S/2016/225, para. 39). This reference would have been stronger had it included the number of women’s groups that attended the forums, if they were representative, to what extent they participated, and an analysis of the barriers to their participation. Missions should consult local and international women’s groups to ensure gender considerations and women’s rights are taken into account, as stated in Resolution 2242 (2015) (S/RES/2242, OP 5.b).

Support to State institutions

MINUSTAH supported the training of 114 “key municipal personnel” in planning, accounting, conflict management and gender mainstreaming, and has plans to expand the training (S/2016/225, para. 37). This reference could have been improved by detailing whether women were involved in the planning, training or expansion processes. The Secretary-General missed an opportunity to call for the deployment of Gender Advisors, who have a distinct role in ensuring that gender perspectives are mainstreamed by all mission elements, in policies, and in planning and implementation. Deploying Gender Advisors ensures comprehensive training of all relevant peacekeeping and civilian personnel, and can strengthen institutional safeguards against impunity through measures that address sexual violence in conflict situations (S/RES/2106 (2013), OP. 8, 18).

Other

An institutional capacity analysis will assess the sustainability of institutions in Haiti and will support recommendations leading to local ownership. However, as noted by the Secretary-General, in the absence of gender-specific benchmarks, “special attention has been placed on including a gender analysis for each of the transition components” (S/2016/225, para. 51), which is addressed in detail in the report contained in Annex I. Annex II contains sex-disaggregated data for MINUSTAH forces as of 22 February 2016. 10% of officers are female, (242/2385) and has not changed since the last report of 10 August 2015 (250/2469) (S/2016/225, Annex II; S/2015/667, Annex II). It is also worth noting is that the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Sandra Honoré, is a woman.

Ideal Asks for WPS Transformation

Gender mainstreaming should be prioritized and systematically integrated by ensuring allocation of adequate financial and human resources within all relevant offices, and on the ground, pursuant to Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 2106 (2013) (S/RES/1325 (2000) PP. 8, OP. 17; S/RES/1888 (2009) PP. 19, OP. 22; S/RES/1889 (2009), OP. 8, 19.b; S/RES/2106 (2013), OP. 8). Reports must directly advocate for the active participation of women at all levels of institution and statebuilding processes, especially in the context of Haiti’s current transitional political process and the lack of women holding political office. More specifically, the mission mandate outlines a goal to have 15,000 HNP officers by the end of 2016 (S/RES/2243 (2015), OP. 17), but there is no indication of a target number of women police officers. Future reporting and mandates should include such a target, particularly because Haiti is developing mechanisms to stop sexual violence (S/2016/225, para. 19, 27, 34, 49, 54); the presence of women personnel can encourage women in local communities to report acts of sexual violence, and women and children affected by all armed conflict may feel more secure working with women in peacekeeping missions, as per Resolutions 1960 (2010) and 1888 (2009) (S/RES/1960 (2010), PP. 16, S/RES/1888 (2009), PP. 15). 

Mission reporting would also, ideally, include analysis on gendered-power dynamics in all aspects of its mandate, including political provisions and the supply of humanitarian aid. With MINUSTAH and other international actors in the process of consolidating their forces and shifting towards greater local ownership and responsibility, time is running out for the UN to implement the WPS agenda. Despite the Haitian constitution’s inclusion of quotas and protections for women, no progress on the situation of women was included in the report. Future reporting and mandates should consider stronger language targeting all actors involved in the mission. At a minimum, the report should have called on donors to earmark funding to and increase cooperation on WPS related concerns in the Observation section of the report, using language from WPS Resolutions.