Multinational Interim Force (MIF)
International Operation Name: Multinational Interim Force (MIF)
International Mission Name: Multinational Interim Force (MIF)
Mandating Organization: United Nations
Region Name: Central America
Mission Date: 29 February 2004 - 31 July 2004
Mission Mandate: To contribute to a secure and stable environment in Haiti, facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance, assist the Haitian police and Coast Guard, and to coordinate their efforts with the OAS Special Mission to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
Mission/Operation Notes: For ten years the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS), with the presence of international military forces, helped restore Haiti’s constitutional government and rebuild their institutions. By March 2000, the United Nations had successfully made the transition from peacekeeping to a peace-support mission, when the last of the international troops handed responsibility over to the International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH) and departed the country.
Yet before the end of the last UN peacekeeping missions’ mandate, the Préval Government had fallen into disarray. The legislature was divided into political factions and was unable to approve government budgets or authorize the distribution of foreign aid. In March 1999 President Préval appointed a new government by decree, with former education minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis as prime minister.
Under pressure from a new political opposition coalition called the Democratic Consultation Group (ESPACE), the government formed a nine member Provisional Electoral Council with the mandate to organize the overdue municipal and legislative elections before the end of 1999. Following a series of delays, first round elections took place on 21 May 2000, and in the face of opposition protests of election fraud, Haiti’s new Parliament was convened on August 28.
Despite international protest regarding the validity of the May elections, the newly formed parliament pressed forward with elections for President and nine Senators on 26 November. Concurrently, most opposition parties regrouped into an alliance that became known as The Democratic Convergence. The Convergence continued to assert that the May elections had been fraudulent and subsequently boycotted the November parliamentary elections.
With all major opposition parties boycotting the November elections voter participation was estimated at only 5. With such low voter turnout Jean-Bertrand Aristide emerged as the easy victor, and on 7 February 2001 he was sworn in as President.
The political opposition steadfastly opposed Aristide’s presidency, refusing to recognize its legitimacy. It boycotted the legislative elections scheduled for late 2003 and as a consequence the elections failed. In January 2004, the previous legislature’s term expired and the legislature was dissolved, leaving President Aristide to rule a severely divided nation by executive decree.
In early February 2004 heavily armed rebel groups began to stage attacks against police and supporters of President Aristide in various Haitian cities. By the end of the month, the rebels controlled nearly half of Haiti and most of its large cities, with the exception of Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city. Both the United States and France attempted to intervene in the growing crisis by proposing that Aristide share power with the political opposition. But as the proposal was being considered, the armed rebel groups advanced on Port-au-Prince and on February 29 Aristide resigned and was flown to the Central African Republic.
Also in early February 2004, at the request of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the DND began planning for an operation to assist DFA efforts to evacuate Canadians and other nationals from Haiti. Designated operation PRINCIPAL, it involved four CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 8 Wing in Trenton, and more than 100 CF personnel evacuating more than 350 personnel and delivering Red Cross supplies.
Following the departure of Aristide, Haiti’s chief justice of the Supreme Court, Boniface Alexandre, was sworn in as interim president. The new president moved quickly to request the urgent support of the international community to assist in restoring peace and security in Haiti, and to further the constitutional political process that was under way.
Subsequently, on 29 February 2004 the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1529 (2004) establishing for a three-month period the United Nations Multinational Interim Force (MIF). Their mandate was to contribute to a secure and stable environment in Haiti, facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance, assist the Haitian police and Coast Guard, and to coordinate their efforts with the OAS Special Mission to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Acting under chapter seven of the UN charter, the MIF was authorized to use “all necessary means” to fulfill its mandate.
Canadian Forces (CF) Information (HALO)
Date: 1 March 2004 - 31 July 2004
Canadian Task Force Name: Task Force Haiti
Canadian Task Force Name Abbreviation: TFH
CF Mission/Operation Notes: The Canadian contribution to this operation was called Task Force Haiti (TFH), Operation HALO. In early March 2004 the Theatre Activation Team (TAT) deployed to Haiti under the command of LCol M.R. Voith, to begin preparations for the arrival of the rest of the task force.
By the end of March, Canada had deployed the main body of Task Force Haiti under the command of LCol J.P. Davis. The Task Force consisted of a single company group from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR) located in Gagetown, New Brunswick; six CH-146 Griffon helicopters from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron out of Valcartier, Quebec; a National Command Element that linked the Chief of the Defence Staff in Ottawa with Task Force Haiti; and a National Support Element responsible for delivering centralized administrative and logistics support to the Task Force, bringing the total number of personnel to approximately 500.
Op HALO’s original mandate was to deploy for 90 days and, in addition to the UN mandate, was to set conditions for a successful transition of MIF to International follow-on forces. In late May 2004, Operation HALO’s mandate was extended a further 60 days beyond its initial 90–day term, to permit Task Force Haiti to assist in the transition to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) from the Multinational Interim Force (MIF). On 31 July 2004, TFH and Op HALO officially declared cease operations, and on 2 Aug 2004, the first main body redeployed to Fredericton New Brunswick.
During a foot patrol in the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as part of Operation HALO, the soldiers of the Second Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2RCR), walk through streets lined with garbage.
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