Operation Hamlet - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
International Operation Name: United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
International Mission Name: United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
Mandating Organization: United Nations
Region Name: Central America
Mission Date: 1 June 2004 - Present
Mission Mandate: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1542, 30 April 2004 (Chapter VII)
On 30 April 2004, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1542, authorizing the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), as a Chapter VII operation. Having decided that the situation in Haiti posed a threat to international peace and security in the region, MINUSTAH was given the following mandate:
- To establish a secure and stable environment;
- To support the political process;
- To support human rights; and
- To coordinate and cooperate with other international agencies in delivering humanitarian aid.
Mission/Operation Notes: Violence erupted in the city of Gonaives in February 2004, initiated by opponents to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had by then been Haiti’s President four times, beginning his latest term in February 2001. They gradually took control of the country, resulting in President Aristide’s leaving the country on 29 February. The security situation in Haiti was still very tense as both pro- and anti- Aristide supporters remained armed and at loggerheads. At the request of the interim President, Boniface Alexandre, the UN was requested to provide international forces to re-establish peace.
On 29 February, the Security Council authorized the creation of the Multinational Interim Force (MIF) through Resolution 1529, a Chapter VII mission. MIF began deploying immediately, bringing greater stability to the nation and allowing aid to flow. A Transitional Government was formed on 17 March, which then signed a pact with various political and social organizations. Based on the pact and the recommendations of the Secretary-General, the Security Council authorized the creation of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as a Chapter VII mission on 30 April.
MINUSTAH would not come into operation until 1 June, allowing time for a transition from MIF to MINUSTAH. The mission was mandated to support the Transitional Government by establishing a secure and stable environment; supporting the political process; supporting human rights; and coordinating and cooperating with other international agencies in delivering humanitarian aid. The actual transfer from MIF to MINUSTAH took place at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince on 25 June. Many of the MIF forces remained in theatre and now came under the operational control of MINUSTAH.
Initially, calm was restored; however, efforts to disarm the various militias of both sides proved to be difficult. Port-au-Prince remained a hotbed of violence. Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne made matters worse. Over four days in mid-September, the heavy rains from these storms flooded large areas of central Haiti. Efforts to bring aid into the disaster zone were hampered by armed gangs. MINUSTAH forces assisted in these operations to ensure that aid was delivered to those in need.
MINUSTAH’s original mandate was for six months, but it has since been extended and additional personnel and roles, including an interim police unit, have been added to the mission.
Canadian Forces (CF) Information (HAMLET)
Date: 22 May 2004 - Present
Canadian participation in restoring peace to Haiti began with Op HALO and its participation in the MIF. Six CH-146 Griffon helicopters with air and ground crew, a company of soldiers from The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and National Control and National Support Elements made up the 500-person Canadian contingent. On 25 June these forces were transferred to MINUSTAH.
In the latter part of MIF and the early part of MINUSTAH, the Canadian contingent participated in emergency relief operation in southeast Haiti resulting from heavy rains that killed at least 400 people. The helicopters of Task Force Haiti were extensively used, delivering 153 tons of food, 20,000 gallons of water and 13 tons of non-food aid. The infantry company participated in armed patrols during the day and night, reducing the level of factional violence in their patrol area in Gonaives.
During the MINUSTAH period, The RCR also rotated companies, as the original troops had planned for only a 90-day deployment. Other CF forces slowly returned starting in mid-July. Four of the helicopters left on 22 July, while the RCR and CIMIC cells ceased operations in the 27/28 July period. All operations ceased on 31 July, with the main back in Canada by 3 August. The rear party loaded equipment onto a chartered vessel, with all personnel returning home by 17 August.
The CF also participated in MINUSTAH under Operation HAMLET. In late May 2004, two officers deployed to Haiti to fill key positions in MINUSTAH headquarters. The Canadian contribution was increased to three in June 2005, all in senior positions in MINUSTAH Headquarters, with one serving as Chief of Staff.
Colonel Martin Girard Chief of Staff for the United Nation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), is walking through the streets of Cite Soleil establishing a rapport with the local population. The security to the Chief of staff during the tour was provided by the Brazilian Army. Brazil has now taken over command of the mission in Haiti.
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