UN extends Haiti force mandate

Amid rise in drug trafficking and violence among internal refugees, Security Council calls for fair November election.

Rene Preval, president for 10 of the past 15 years, cannot run for re-election  [GALLO/GETTY]

The United Nations will keep it’s peacekeeping force in Haiti for another year, following a unanimous vote in the Security Council on Thursday.

The resolution approving the continued presence of nearly 9,000 soldiers and around 4,300 police officers called for “credible and legitimate” presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for November 28.

Rene Preval, who has served as Haiti’s president for 10 of the past 15 years, cannot by law run for re-election, and the country remains in a perilous position nine months after a devestating earthquake killed around 300,000 people and left millions more homeless.

An investigation by the Associated Press news agency has determined that none of the $1.15bn in rebuilding funding promised by the United States has arrived. There have also been reports of a rise in drug trafficking and criminal gang activities.

The UN resolution passed on Thursday expressed concern with “the rise in the number of weapons in circulation” and condemned “grave violations against children affected by armed violence, as well as widespread rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls”.

The post-election transition to a new government won’t happen until next year, and the UN peacekeeping force’s mandate was extended to October 15, 2011.

Source : Al Jazeera

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