MANDATE OF UN FORCE IN HAITI EXTENDED
(Sydney Morning Herald) - AFP
The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned attacks on women and children in Haiti as it extended the mandate of the United Nations force to help the impoverished country through key elections next year.
The UN force, MINUSTAH, was reinforced after the devastating earthquake in January, which killed 250,000 people, and a Security Council resolution highlighted the challenges that remain in rebuilding the stricken Caribbean nation.
The force will remain at up to 8940 soldiers and 4390 police through the November 28 presidential and legislative elections. A review will be carried out after the elections and the handover of power in 2011.
Amid reports of a new surge in drug trafficking and criminal gang activities, the Security Council said it "strongly condemns the grave violations against children affected by armed violence, as well as widespread rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls", and calls on the government to act.
The resolution said the UN force should "assist the government in tackling the risk of a resurgence in gang violence, organised crime, drug trafficking and trafficking of children".
The council said the government must redouble efforts to make sure the November elections are free and fair.