|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in Security Council, Pledges UN Will Stand ‘Shoulder to
Shoulder’ with Haiti in Noble Work of Building More Just, Prosperous Future
Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council meeting on Haiti, in New York on 6 April:
First of all I thank President [Juan Manuel] Santos [Calderón] for convening this high-level debate during his country’s presidency of the Security Council.
At a time when the world faces multiple crises, it is important that we reaffirm our collective commitment to Haiti.
I am particularly grateful to the Group of Friends of Haiti, and the countries contributing troops and police, for their unwavering support.
I also wish to express my deep appreciation to my Special Representative, Mr. Edmond Mulet, for his leadership and dedication, and also to United Nations Special Envoy President Clinton for his contributions to Haiti’s reconstruction and his inspiring advocacy on the country’s behalf.
We meet as Haitians and their international partners look to consolidate progress following last month’s presidential and legislative elections.
We are all very encouraged that the second round of polling was peaceful.
I commend the people of Haiti for this important step towards the consolidation of democracy.
This achievement builds on the gains Haiti has made, with the support of MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti), towards security, respect for basic freedoms and an end to the state-sponsored violence that had been carried out with impunity for so long.
Today, the Haitian press enjoys greater freedom than at any point in the country’s history. Urban slums are no longer controlled by criminal gangs. The National Police has become a capable and trusted institution.
I commend President [René Garcia] Préval and his administration for their role in these advances. As President Préval is going to leave his Presidency next month, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation for his leadership and valuable contribution in building his country after all these difficult challenges, including last years earthquake. And I urge at this time the next Government of Haiti to build on this legacy of political tolerance and respect for human rights.
Recovery and reconstruction are slowly gathering momentum. More than 20 per cent of the estimated 10 million cubic metres of rubble have been removed.
The number of earthquake-affected people living in camps has decreased from more than 1.5 million in July of last year to 680,000 today. Unfortunately, some of this reduction has not been entirely voluntary, and many camp dwellers are at risk of forced eviction.
The cholera epidemic appears to have stabilized. The number of new cases has decreased and the nationwide mortality rate stands at 1.8 per cent. However, only large-scale investments in Haiti’s water and sanitation system will protect against another outbreak. And the withdrawal of some humanitarian agencies from cholera treatment centres and camps risks creating a shortage in the provision of services.
The Cholera Appeal is 45 per cent funded, and the overall Haiti Appeal received only 10 per cent of the requested funds. Additional financial support is urgently needed. Strong coordination between United Nations agencies, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and the new Government will also be crucial.
While important progress has indeed been achieved, Haiti continues to face daunting challenges.
The country’s economy is on its knees. Public institutions are barely able to deliver essential services. Millions of Haitians remain dependent on the assistance of non-governmental organizations to meet their most basic needs. Too many women and girls live in fear of sexual violence.
Without the rule of law, lasting peace and prosperity will remain elusive.
Haiti’s judicial system is deeply dysfunctional. Its prisons remain dangerously overcrowded. Property records are unreliable and non-existent. Public expenditures often lack transparency.
As a result, citizens have lost confidence in the State and investors remain reluctant to do business in Haiti.
Rule of law reform must be a top priority for Haiti’s next President.
The people of Haiti are looking to the next Government and parliament to deliver. As a signal of its commitment to change, the incoming parliament should complete the process of amending the constitution before the next President is inaugurated.
The international community must also seize this opportunity to make a fresh start. Assistance should empower Haitian actors and institutions, not prolong their dependency.
The United Nations will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Haitian Government and people in the noble and necessary work of building a more just and prosperous future.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
* *** *For information media • not an official record