Veteran diplomat Susan Page has been named the United Nations' special representative to Haiti and will lead the new U.N. mission to enhance the country's justice system.
Her appointment was announced Wednesday. On Friday, her first official day on the job, Page was expected to travel to Haiti with the deputy secretary-general, Amina Mohammed, and the special envoy for Haiti, Josette Sheer, according to the U.N. press office.
The U.N. diplomats were to meet with government officials and other stakeholders, the press office said. They also planned to tour the Haitian government's development initiatives and visit communities most affected by a deadly cholera epidemic.
Since January, Page has served as deputy special representative for rule of law with the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). That mission, aimed at stabilizing the country after a 2004 coup, ended in mid-October.
It was immediately succeeded by the U.N. mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), intended to strengthen the justice and corrections system, policing and the protection of human rights.
The new mission has been embraced by the government of President Jovenel Moise but has some skeptics, as the Reuters news service has reported.
“The country should expect nothing positive from this new mission, which is only a tactic to continue with the occupation that the Haitian people have rejected,” former presidential candidate Eric Jean-Baptiste was quoted as saying.
The U.N. has been blamed for the cholera epidemic, allegedly introduced by Nepalese peacekeepers who arrived to help after a massive earthquake in 2010. The bacterial disease has killed 9,722 of Haiti's nearly 11 million people.
Last August, acknowledging the U.N.'s role in the epidemic, spokesman Farhan Haq said the organization would "do much more regarding its own involvement."
Page is experienced in dealing with conflict.
She served as the first U.S. ambassador to South Sudan, from late 2011 through Aug. 23, 2014, then became the acting U.S. ambassador to the African Union and the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. She also was a U.S. deputy assistant secretary for African affairs and a senior adviser on Sudan and South Sudan.
Page led the rule of law advisory unit for the U.N.'s Sudan mission, and served as legal adviser for the U.N. Development Program in Sudan and Rwanda.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Page was born in 1964. She earned a law degree from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, where she majored in English.