Security Council votes to keep UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti for another year

WASHINGTON – The Security Council today voted to extend the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti until 15 October 2011, while underlining the significance of next month’s presidential and legislative polls in laying the foundation for a stable political environment in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The country continues to rebuild in the wake of the devastating January earthquake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced about 1.3 million others. Countless buildings, including Government facilities, hospitals and schools, were also destroyed.

In its unanimously adopted resolution, the Council said that free, fair and inclusive elections on 28 November “is a key condition for the consolidation of a stable political environment in which recovery and reconstruction efforts can progress.”

Earlier this week, the mission, known as MINUSTAH, voiced concern at reports that arms are being distributed ahead of next month’s polls, calling on anybody with knowledge of any such distribution to come forward and share it with the national and UN police and with international election observers.

The 15-member body encouraged the mission today to continue helping the Haitian Government protect civilians, paying particular attention to the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups, especially women and children.

It also strongly condemned the “grave violations against children affected by armed violence, as well as widespread rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls.”

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