Posted on January 21, 2010

Haiti Quake Highlights Need for U.N. Trusteeship

Daniel Schorr, NPR, January 20, 2010

{snip} But it is important, as reconstruction work begins, that the United States and the family of nations agree on some central authority to supervise what may be the creation of a new state.

Obama speaks of “a path to a brighter future.” Under the stopgap arrangement in effect since the earthquake, the United States and the United Nations handle much of the flow of aid in cooperation with the Haitian government, they say. But President Rene Preval’s government, for all practical purposes, does not exist. It lies in ruins in the rubble of the presidential palace and other government buildings.


I am thinking of the mandate system introduced by the League of Nations after World War I and the trusteeship system of the United Nations after World War II.

Trusteeship, which officially ended in 1994, was a way of guiding countries toward autonomy with shadow governments reporting to the U.N. Trusteeship Council. Among the territories that experienced some version of trusteeship are Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Cambodia.

The United States will undoubtedly bear much of the burden of “building back better,” as former President Clinton, the U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti, puts it. But it would be well if America did it under an international supervision.