From the time the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAd’H or the Haitian Army) was founded during the U.S. occupation of Haiti between 1915-1934, it was a tool of repression used by dictators against the Haitian people. For this reason, human rights organizations and the international community applauded the demobilization of the force in 1995. A United Nations peacekeeping mission known as the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, arrived in Haiti in 2005 with a specific mandate and the financial resources to accomplish it. Eight years and $7 billion later, the mission is likely to have its mandate renewed, despite the lack of progress towards accomplishing it.
Each year that MINUSTAH has been in Haiti, the harm inflicted on innocent Haitian civilians has gone without consequence – from sexual assault caught on video, to rapes, beatings and evenmurder. In October 2010, only months after a powerful 7.0 earthquake left 300,000 Haitians dead and 1.5 million homeless and extremely vulnerable under tents and tarps in the capital’s parks, a battalion of Nepalese soldiers based in Haiti’s most fertile valley contaminated the Artibonite River, the country’s largest and most important waterway, with cholera. Due to the lack of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure, the cholera outbreak quickly became a full-fledge epidemic, affecting families from remote rural areas, to small towns, to the camps of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Port-au-Prince. Cholera has now infected over 560,000 and killed more than 7,300 Haitians.