Haitian gangs could be pacified / neutralized / under control within two weeks, says deputy UN Special Rep

According to a UN Press Release, Joel Boutroue, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-Genera for Haitil, told journalists at a press conference at UNHQ/NY on Monday morning that: “the new Government enjoyed the confidence of the population and was committed to improving the situation in the country. It sought to assume ownership of Haiti’s development, investing the limited funds at its disposal in urgent action. Another positive factor was the international community’s commitment to support the Government and efforts by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to clean up the gang-ridden ‘Red Zones’. He pointed out, however, that Haiti was not a typical post-conflict country, as it was not facing a civil war. Rather, it was an extreme law-and-order situation. The problem so far had been that there had been ‘a certain amount of sprinkling’ of funds [the UN always attributes its problems to a lack of funds] , but now a framework of support for development was being created and it was important to get all the actors together. Should that be done, there could be enough resources for the country’s recovery. Asked about the situation in the Red Zone, he said that, from a military point of view, it could be cleared in ‘a couple of weeks, but that was the tip of the iceberg. What would take longer was the deployment of police, who were undergoing training with MINUSTAH’s help. Also, some rehabilitation, including school feeding and food distribution programmes, was already in place but required more resources for such labour-intensive projects as the cleaning of canals and the renovation of schools. Regarding pledges and donations for Haiti, he said the appeal held in July last year had resulted in multimillion-dollar pledges, but most of the money had not gone through the United Nations. The Government was regularly tracking the several hundred million dollars disbursed since July, while putting institutions and laws in place to provide for improved disbursement. He added that the United States was a very large contributor to Haiti’s development, with most of its assistance going through non-governmental organizations and contractors. Whether funding came from the United States, Canada or the European Union, however, it was important to ensure that it went towards the collectively agreed priorities, including education, rural development and reform of the justice system. Direct budgetary support was also needed.
In response to questions about civilian casualties during MINUSTAH’s military operations, he said that, in a limited number of cases, the Mission had been accused of shooting people but such allegations had often proved false. It had been alleged, for instance, that the Mission had shot two children, who had, in fact, been shot by gangsters. MINUSTAH investigated such cases and the Force Commander took extra care to minimize the number of civilian casualties. The rules of engagement were very clear: peacekeepers could shoot only when shot at. [Where have we heard that before?] In fact, not a single shot had been fired in Cité Soleil in the last two weeks.”