Haiti UN peacekeepers urge political candidates to focus on plight of homeless

20 August 2010The plight of Haiti’s homeless since January’s catastrophic earthquake must be the top priority for all candidates in this November’s presidential and legislative elections, the United Nations peacekeeping force in the impoverished Caribbean country has stressed. The mission, known as MINUSTAH, yesterday urged the candidates to place concerns about the estimated 1.3 million people who were displaced from their homes by the quake above their own personal or partisan interests.“One of the essential elements of the reconstruction effort is to solve the problems of housing, employment, education and security that affect the daily life of millions of Haitians,” the mission said in a press release issued in Port-au-Prince, the capital.“The plight of the homeless affected by the quake should be the primary concern of political leaders.”The statement noted that Haiti’s candidates and political parties have a responsibility to encourage their supporters to respect the rules of the democratic process.The country’s election commission is reportedly set to announce today which of the candidates who have applied to run for president in the 28 November poll are eligible.MINUSTAH emphasized that successful elections and the democratic renewal of Haiti’s institutions are critical conditions to the country rebuilding and becoming stable in the wake of the quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people and levelled numerous buildings and homes.Welcoming the high number of candidates as representing “a broad spectrum of national opinion,” the statement also called on the Haitian media to disseminate accurate information and promote responsible and calm debate.

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