The United Nations said it will scale back the size of its peacekeeping force in Haiti, in the wake of allegations that troops from Uruguay recently sexually assaulted a Haitian man.
However, the UN said the reason for the reduction ion troops was due to signs of increase political stability in the nation, following the recent election of a new president and Prime Minister.
By withdrawing about 3,000 troops and police from its mission in Haiti, the UN Security Council’s peacekeepers – also called The UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (Minustah) -- will number about 10,500 – roughly the same staff it kept just prior to the earthquake of January 2010, which killed more than 250,000 people and caused incalculable damage.
Still, the UN recently raised some serious concerns about the state of Haitian society, noting 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.
The UN added, however, that Haiti has made considerable strides since the devastating 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, the council said.
Nonetheless, some Haitians have reportedly called for the complete removal of all UN peacekeepers from the country. Aside from the controversy surrounding the Uruguayan, there were reports that soldiers from Nepal introduced a cholera epidemic, which prompted riots last year.
Minustah has been assisting Haitian police and security officials with maintaining stability in the country, particularly during elections which are usually fraught with violence and charges of fraud.
The UN peacekeepers were initially sent to Haiti in 2004 to maintain order following the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide --- the mandate was increased following the 2010 earthquake.
Now, protest demonstrations against the UN peacekeeping forces have likened them to an “occupation” by foreign militaries.