According to Susan Page, head of the new U.N. Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINJUSTH), the operation will carry out its work in an innovative way – complete with an unusually tight timeframe and a bench-marking exit strategy.
“The new mandate by the (U.N.) Security Council is to work with the Government of Haiti to strengthen its rule of law intuitions,” Page explained recently.
“It’s also to continue to support the HNP, the Haitian National Police, and to work on justice and human rights – and that includes human rights reporting, monitoring and analysis.”
Page said MINUJUSTH’s mandate calls for an exit strategy.
“Within two years, we can figure out how we (will exit the country), but with benchmarks for progress that can be measured,” Page explained, stating that the country team created a framework with a focus on the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which, along with SDG 16 – to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies – is working in conjunction with the Haitian government.
“This is a way of bringing the entire country team together, along with the peacekeeping mission, to attain those goals,” Page said, adding that the Haitian government “has already signed up to be a partner in trying to accomplish this for its own development.”
She said that while MINUJUSTH is almost exclusively based in the capital, Port-au-Prince, it will also have a “mobile approach” that will take teams into the field in an attempt to reach the greatest number of people. Page said the teams will focus on peace, justice and rule of law to help the Haitian people figure out their needs, and then connect them with top-level political figures to see how the UN can help the government address those needs.
“Once they have a baseline of what the people are looking for, what they need knowledge about, we hope that this bottom-up and top-down approach will help Haiti to strengthen its own institutions with a bit of push from us,” she said.
Page believes Haiti’s political system had been less than stable, “now, all of that is settled.
“Now that Haiti has its elected officials at all levels, including at the lowest levels in the communes, we have something to work with,” she said.