Uruguayan and Peruvian Soldiers serving in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) are cooperating through the Ecclesia plan to provide security throughout the country's parliamentary and presidential elections.
During the voting on October 25 -- and again on December 27, if the presidential election goes a second round -- the Uruguay-Peru Battalion (URUPERBAT) will maintain public safety throughout Haiti, contributing 246 Uruguayan and 164 Peruvian Troops to the total of 2,300 Troops and 2,339 police officers participating in the effort.
“There will be centralized planning for the elections, with significant autonomy and opportunities to take the initiative within the guidelines provided by the military commander,” Colonel José I. Gentini, URUPERBAT’s Battalion Commander, told Diálogo . “A tiered strategy involving the participation of local authorities, the United Nations Police (UNPOL), and the military components from Brazil and Chile will be employed as part of the Ecclesia plan.”
The 410-member URUPERBAT, which began deploying the Ecclesia plan in mid-July, started monitoring and improving security at polling stations primarily in the Northeast and Central departments during Haiti's first round of parliamentary elections on August 9. They established a Temporary Operating Base (TOB) in the village of Hincha, in the central part of Haiti; it was operated by about 100 Soldiers from the Uruguayan contingent's Combat Team Alpha. Meanwhile, Bravo Combat Team which is made up of the Peruvian URUPERBAT troops, assumed its role in the Northeast department.
Protecting voting centers
The Uruguayan and Peruvian contingent maintained ongoing oversight before, during, and after the opening and closing of the polls, which included conducting patrols and ensuring security at polling centers and for those who voted. To ensure direct technical coordination with the Chief Military Liaison Officers (CMLOs), the Haitian National Police (HNP), UNPOL, and electoral authorities who worked under and reported directly to the Force Commander of the UN Mission, Liaison officers were also deployed in the departmental capitals.
“As part of the security strategy, Peruvian and Uruguayan Troops in Haiti have been leading efforts since July 15 to obtain the necessary information to facilitate the fulfillment of the mission to ensure security for the presidential and parliamentary elections,” Col. Gentini told Diálogo .
“The military presence during the first round of parliamentary elections acts as a deterrent, and no incidents were reported. The military operation was rated as a success by national and international authorities. The Ecclesia plan was put to the test in this first round of elections.”
Time of transition
The URUPERBAT is protecting the Haitian voting process while MINUSTAH is aiming to consolidate peace nationwide, with the goal being a gradual and phased reduction of the mission’s Military component, in accordance with UN Resolution 2180, of 2014.
Within this context, the UN proposed that Brazil and Chile lead the final phase of the Military operation in Haiti, which will begin to wind down in 2016, after the completion of the presidential election.
“We are proud to be part of the contingent that has led to the development of a democratic life in Haiti that will allow its own authorities to take charge of their country,” Col. Gentini said.