Latin America & Caribbean

UN to reduce Haiti peacekeeping force

Haitians demonstrate in Port-au-Prince against the UN mission in Haiti on 23 September 2011
Image caption Anti-UN protests were sparked after accusations that Uruguayan troops raped a man

The United Nations Security Council has agreed to withdraw about 3,000 troops and police from its mission in Haiti.

This brings the force's size close to 10,500 - what it was before the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010.

The UN believes numbers can be cut because of the improved political situation since a new president and prime minister took office.

Many Haitians have called for the complete withdrawal of the force.

The UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (Minustah) is unpopular because of allegations that Nepalese UN troops brought a deadly cholera epidemic to the country, sparking riots last year.

Last month, the UN force faced renewed protests over accusations that a group of Uruguayan troops had raped a Haitian man.

'Considerable strides'

Minustah was established by the Security Council in 2004 and has been helping Haiti's short-staffed and ill-equipped police maintain security, especially during elections plagued by fraud and unrest.

Numbers were boosted after last year's earthquake.

The plan is to reduce the UN force to 7,340 troops and 3,241 police over the next year.

Despite the improvement in the security situation, the UN resolution voiced "concern that trends since the earthquake reveal an increase in all major categories of crime, including murder, rape and kidnapping in (the capital) Port-au-Prince and the West Department."

But the council said Haiti "has made considerable strides" since the earthquake.

"For the first time in its history, Haiti has experienced a peaceful transfer of power between one democratically-elected president and another from the opposition," it said.

Haiti still faces a massive reconstruction effort following the January 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 250,000 people and caused massive damage.

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