Indian peacekeepers, who supported the Haitian Police for over a decade and are departing from Haiti as the UN mission closes in October, have won laurels for their commendable service and for going beyond the call of duty to serve the people in the Caribbean country.
The Indian Formed Police Unit (FPU), deployed with the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), consisted 140 personnel from Assam Rifles, India’s 184-year-old paramilitary force.
Of the total 140 Indian peacekeepers, 126 officers left Haiti on July 21, following the closing of operations of the last Indian contingent in the Caribbean country.
The remaining 14 Indian officers will depart on August 3, ending 11 years of continuous presence of Indian police on the Haitian territory in support of the Haitian National Police (HNP), since the arrival of their first contingent as part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2008.
Starting from October 16, with a new configuration without the presence of peacekeepers on the ground, the United Nations will continue to support the implementation of the HNP Strategic Development Plan 2017-2021 through the technical and advisory support to the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).
The 140 Indian peacekeepers were awarded the United Nations medal in recognition of their work during a closing ceremony earlier this month in presence of the representatives of the Haitian National Police and those of the police component of MINUJUSTH.
Mr. Singh said the Indian contingent carried out numerous operations related to the MINUJUSTH mandate, including joint patrols of Indian police with those of the HNP and individual police officers, static security missions, visibility patrols, joint operations, police escorts, rapid reaction forces.
The Indian peacekeepers went above and beyond their call of duty and their humanitarian work for the Haitian people and were widely appreciated by the local authorities, Mr. Singh said.
The Indian contingent provided books and other essential items to institutions such as the Enfant-Jesus of Prague orphanage in Port-au-Prince and donated about 70 units of blood on the occasion of Indian national holidays such as the Independence Day and the Republic Day.
“MINUJUSTH recognizes India’s contribution to Haiti and sincerely thanks it. The Indian police have made successful efforts to fulfil this peace mission,” said the Commander of the Police Component of the Mission, Commissioner Serge Therriault, present at the closing ceremony. Singh also said the Indian contingent did not suffer any casualties during the deployment. “Our hope for the Haitian people is that they carry forward their culture and work hard for the prosperity and development of the country so that the Haitian flag flies high,” Mr. Singh said.
“In recognition of the exemplary service and valuable contribution he has offered to MINUJUSTH, Colonel Singh deserves to be congratulated,” said a congratulatory certificate and appreciation letter presented to Singh by Therriault. He said he was proud that there were no disciplinary case against any Indian peacekeeper and “we completed our mission successfully, with dignity and respect.”
So far, 168 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty in various UN missions. Singh underscored that nations should remember the sacrifices made by peacekeepers through memorials. “They have given their life, made the supreme sacrifice. For a nation’s better tomorrow, they have given their today,” he said.