Canada to takeover Haiti peacekeeping: media
Canada is planning to take over command of the UN stabilization mission in Haiti and replace the bulk of troops on the ground from Brazil with its own, according to a report Wednesday.
During a visit to Ottawa by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled his willingness to renew Canada's engagement on the world stage, including increasing its participation in UN peacekeeping missions.
There are currently 36 Canadian soldiers deployed on UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti, Jerusalem, South Sudan, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Korea, down from a reported 3,000 at its peak in 1993.
French speakers in the Canadian military, Trudeau said in February, are in demand in hotspots in some former French or Belgian colonies, including Haiti and the Central African Republic.
In addition to expressing a desire for a seat on the Security Council, the prime minister said he wanted Canada to play a larger role in preventing and mediating global conflicts, as well as post-war reconstruction.
According to the daily Le Devoir, Canada wants to send 1,000 to 2,000 police officers and soldiers to Haiti to shore up security in the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, and take over command of the UN mission from Brazil after its mission mandate expires in October.
Canadian officials were not immediately available to comment.
The UN mission, MINUSTAH, was launched in April 2004 following the departure into exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The force was bolstered after the powerful January 2010 earthquake that toppled buildings across the country and killed tens of thousands of people.
There are currently 2,370 soldiers, 2,600 police officers, and 1,500 civilian officials on the ground in Haiti, both domestic and foreign, including five Canadian soldiers and 90 police officers.
Haiti has long been a priority destination for Canadian humanitarian aid. More than half a billion dollars (Canadian) has been committed for reconstruction and development of Haiti over the past decade, according to government figures.
There is also a large Haitian diaspora living in Canada.
As President Declares Haiti Broke, Thousands Demonstrate to Demand Martelly and MINUSTAH Leave
by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 14, 2014
Thousands marched in the streets of Port-au-Prince on Apr. 15 to demand that President Michel Martelly step down. The day before, 50 protestors picketed outside the military headquarters of the 9,000-soldier occupation force, the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH, demanding that the troops leave Haiti by the May 28, 2014 deadline set by the Haitian Senate one year ago. And on Apr. 16, hundreds of peasants on the southern island of Ile à Vache (Cow Island) are planning to march against the police occupation of their communities, as well as a government plan to evict them and turn their island into a tourist resort.
Senator Moïse Jean-Charles Lobbies Brazilian Parliamentarians to Call for UN Withdrawal
by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, May 28, 2014
The Human Rights Commission of the Brazilian Senate voted unanimously last week for the withdrawal of Brazilian troops from the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), which was deployed 10 years ago on Jun. 1.
The resolution, made by Senators Ana Rita , Eduardo Suplicy, and Wellington Dias, all of the ruling Workers Party (PT), calls for "Brazil to lead the countries of Latin American in withdrawing troops" from the force of about 9,000 soldiers and police officers. Brazil's generals have led MINUSTAH since its deployment following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'état, which the U.S., France, and Canada orchestrated against the elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Brazil has always had the largest contingent of troops - about 2,200 - in the UN force.