With operations at the mission set to drawdown by October 2019, one Indian Formed Police Unit will soon return home while the other is slated to depart by October next year.
The Indian contingent deployed with UN justice support mission in Haiti is returning home with a sense of “pride” of having served with discipline and without any cases of human rights violations or allegations of sexual abuse against it, said one of the contingent commander. Currently, two Indian Formed Police Units (FPUs), comprising 140 police personnel each, are deployed with the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). With operations at the mission set to drawdown by October 2019, one Indian Formed Police Unit will soon return home while the other is slated to depart by October next year.
“We have a specific mandate in which we have been given the task to assist the Haitian National Police. We have worked very sincerely and with discipline. I can say with pride that for the last 10 years that the Indian peacekeepers and police personnel were here, there have been no cases of indiscipline, human rights violations nor any allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse (against us). We feel proud of that,” Commandant Dhananjay Shukla, Contingent Commander of Indian FPU 1 told PTI in an exclusive interview through video call from Haiti.
“Ten years is not a short period. We have carried out our work sincerely, meeting the expectations of Indian and UN authorities. We feel we have won the hearts of the Haitian people,” he said.
Accompanied with Inspector Navin Kumar Singh, who is the Section Commander, Sub-Inspector Vivek Kumar Pandey, the Team leader of the Unit and UN Police Commissioner Serge Therriault, Shukla said the Indian contingents deployed with the mission in Haiti, have over the years ably met the expectations of the UN as well as the local authorities.
He said Indian police personnel in the mission are regularly briefed about discipline and the honourable conduct expected from them.
“The Indian FPU 1 has come from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). We have a culture in which there is respect for women,” he said.
Describing the Haitian people as very friendly, Singh said the Indian peacekeepers and police personnel have always helped and supported them. “We have been able to show them that we support them in their development and progress. We are here to assist the Haitian police maintain law and order and this will instill a sense of confidence in the Haitians that they are not alone, the world is behind them.”
Pandey added that the Indian contingent is also known for providing medical assistance in many places to the Haitian people besides doing work to support orphanages.
“In this way, we get the trust of the Haitian people,” he said.
Therriault strongly appreciated the service and contribution of the Indian contingent in Haiti during its deployment.
“The place where I feel the most home is when I go to the Indian FPU contingent and meet with officers. It is with them that I have had the best Indian food in the Caribbean,” Therriault, a Canadian native, said.
He added that the legacy of the Indian FPUs, which are part of the UN family of UN police, is to have left a strong professional police force for Haiti. “It is part of helping this country turn a page of its history. After years of international peacekeeping presence in Haiti, now they will take the ownership and responsibility of their own safety and security.
“As we are drawing down over the course of the next year, we are really showing the world that this is being done. They (Indian FPUs) need to leave but their legacy will live on and I thank them for that,” he said.
The first Indian contingent had arrived in Haiti in October 2008, with the current contingent arriving in April this year. The tenure of the Indian contingents, comprising 140 personnel and officers, has been for one year each and currently the 10th contingent is deployed in the mission. Currently, India is the top police contributor to MINUJUSTH, with 280 personnel.
MINUJUSTH was created in October 2017, beginning operations upon completion of the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Through a resolution, the Security Council had affirmed its intention to consider the withdrawal of MINUJUSTH and transition to a non-peacekeeping presence in Haiti beginning no sooner than October 15, 2019.