The Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) directs the largest non-USAID assistance program in the embassy. This State Department program, which totals over $165 million in FY 2010 funds, is the third largest in the Western Hemisphere behind Mexico and Colombia.
The NAS provides assistance to enable the Government of Haiti to establish a visible and legitimate police and security presence, one that is based on justice and the rule of law, that engenders a culture of lawfulness and respect for human rights, and that provides protection for vulnerable populations, such as abused women and children. Specific NAS projects target the Haitian National Police (HNP), specialized counter-narcotics and anti-money laundering units, justice sector reforms, and the corrections sector.
NAS funds general training for police officers – including the 22nd class of 903 HNP cadets, which began its seven-month long training program in September 2010, and specialized training – such as the 24-person counter-drug/counter-kidnap class the U.S. government co-sponsored with the Colombian National Police in Bogota.
Through the State Department’s INL Bureau, NAS oversees a year-long program bringing six Haitian-American New York Police Department (NYPD) officers for 90-day rotations with the HNP. The NYPD offer technical assistance and mentoring to the HNP’s judicial/investigative bureau.
In close coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration office in the embassy, NAS is helping develop Haitian counter-narcotics operational capability. Among other projects, NAS will fund expansion of the HNP’s canine program, buying additional dogs and providing in-depth training for handlers. NAS will also fund expansion of the HNP’s counter-narcotics unit beyond Port-au-Prince and into the provinces.
Under a NAS contract with the Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance, U.S. experts have for several years worked closely with Haitian officials to establish financial intelligence and anti-money laundering units. A U.S. expert also works with the Haitian commission revising Haiti’s Criminal Code and Criminal Procedures Code.
NAS monies have in previous years built medical units in the Haitian National Penitentiary. In response to Haiti’s post-earthquake infrastructure needs, NAS will fund reconstruction projects in two major Port-au-Prince correctional facilities in 2011. NAS also is working with the Haitian government on plans to build a new women’s prison outside the capital.
Haiti Stabilization Initiative
In August 2010, NAS assumed responsibility for the second phase of the Haiti Stabilization Initiative (HSI), a program launched in 2007 with Department of Defense funding. The program’s overarching goal is to stabilize post-conflict communities through a two-pronged combination of assistance aimed at empowering the residents of the community and at improving the local security situation.
After working in the notorious Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Cite Soleil from 2007-2009, HSI launched its Martissant program, worth $12 million, in 2010. Some 70 community-building projects worth approximately $3 million are in stages of implementation and/or design, and more than 4800 jobs have been created in the gang-infested neighborhood. These projects include road-building, canal-clearing, as well as skills training, education and work experience placements for 800 vulnerable, out-of-school, area youth. A microfinance project provides loans for micro and small entrepreneurs in the Martissant area. Another project has launched a community dialogue base in Martissant, supporting its residents’ dialogue with the Port-au-Prince municipality to encourage increased city funding to Martissant and to improve public service delivery.
On the justice and security, HSI is funding legal aid services, including access to justice institution services within the community; legal information regarding citizens’ rights in civil and criminal cases, with special emphasis on vulnerable women and children; and joint training of police and judicial personnel on roles and responsibilities of each actor in the justice system. Eventually, lawyers from the Port au Prince Bar Association will be assigned to provide legal assistance to the community in Martissant. More than $6 million is designated for support to the HNP in Martissant, building or renovating four police stations in the area and furnishing badly needed equipment and communications gear. The assistance package will train and mentor HNP officers in community-oriented policing.
The Martissant phase of HSI already shows promising signs of community participation and involvement. As in Cite Soleil, integrating the community development and security aspects of assistance in a local area can bring positive change to even the roughest neighborhood.
For more information, please visit the State Department’s Bureau of International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs website.