UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti continues fight to eliminate abductions

A unit of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) Brazilian battalion approached a suspicious-looking group yesterday and the members fled, leaving behind the kidnap victim, a man in his 30s, the mission said. He was the second person found and released in just 24 hours and the seventh in about seven weeks.At a later news conference, MINUSTAH chief Juan Gabriel Valdés, saying that violence would lead only to defeat, appealed to armed groups to disarm and restore their legal status. MINUSTAH was prepared to talk with those implicated in violence and offer them the chance to join the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration programme, he said.The Security Council voted to establish MINUSTAH in April of last year after armed rebels threatened to march on the capital, Port-au-Prince, in February and elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the country.Mr. Valdés visited two voter registration centres yesterday and expressed satisfaction at seeing the large number of people waiting to register. “Haiti’s hope lies first of all in the hands of its inhabitants,” he said.He welcomed the Government’s decision to extend the voter registration period by six weeks until 15 September, saying the extension would increase participation in the November and December polls.He also met with women who would be candidates in the upcoming elections and said the women would be given a larger framework to express their views, including taking part in educational broadcasts and contributing to brochures aimed at women across the Caribbean country. read more