During its operations against gangs in the period 2004–2007 the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) killed and injured many people who were not posing a threat to anyone and were not involved in criminal activity. In Operations Iron Fist (2005) and New Forest (2006) an estimated 60 people were killed, some by bullets fired from helicopters penetrating the roofs of their corrugated metal shacks. Survivors claim that no one from the UN or from any state agency has ever visited their neighbourhood to speak to them—‘it’s as though you’re worthless’. This article discusses the making of the film It Stays With You: Use of Force by UN Peacekeepers in Haiti—which was produced using participatory practices—and the project team’s use of the film to raise awareness of the need for reform of UN rules of engagement and for an investigation into excessive use of force by MINUSTAH. The article also discusses the use of the film to challenge the exclusion from the MINUSTAH success narrative of the stories of the people who live in the targeted community, and to provide a platform that might enable the experiences of survivors to be publicly acknowledged internationally. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, It Stays With You forms part of an interdisciplinary law and film studies research project, which explores the role of film as a method of addressing trauma and as a means of highlighting the need for a human rights-oriented approach to accountability in the conduct of UN law enforcement operations.
- Participatory film-making; story-telling in film to enable voices to be heard; United Nations peacekeeping in Haiti; film as a means of advocacy.