Legitimate elected government is Haiti's most vital necessity, Security Council told

Amb. Sardenberg

13 May 2005 – Though elections, scheduled for October, should not be seen as the universal remedy to Haiti's crisis, they are essential to forming a legitimate government as the Caribbean country's political transition period comes to an end, the Brazilian representative told the Security Council today.

Introducing the report of the four-day Council mission he led to Haiti last month, Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg said there was no alternative to the elections and all political parties that rejected violence should be entitled to take part.

He called on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the country's Transitional Government to launch a nationwide civic education programme to ensure the broadest possible participation in the polls.

Arrangements needed to be urgently made for the deployment of international election observers and for special tightened security before and after the elections, he said.

The report says, "Free, fair and inclusive elections must be held in 2005, in accordance with the established timetable, and the results respected by all actors. The Security Council mission recalls that, in accordance with the Haitian Constitution, democratically elected authorities must take office on 7 February 2006."

The Haitian National Police (HNP) needed reform so that the officers could earn the trust of citizens, while the barely functioning judicial and penal systems needed to be rebuilt, Mr. Sardenberg said.

"The assessment of the situation of the former Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, raised concerns that, until the judicial system in Haiti was reformed, human rights violations, specifically in terms of due process, would continue. The mission stressed that it was necessary to encourage efforts to expedite pending cases," the report says.

Though Mr. Sardenberg noted that the funding gap persisted, he urged the Transitional Government to speed up its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme.

The Chairman of the Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, Ambassador Allan Rock of Canada, told the Council that nowhere was the nexus between development, security and human rights more evident than it was in Haiti.

The members of both missions had returned with a deeper appreciation of the reality behind UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report "In Larger Freedom," and its focus on ensuring freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity, he said.

The Advisory Group was recommending that ECOSOC focus on such contributions as capacity-building, promoting the socioeconomic aspects of the DDR programme and making a smooth transition to sustained economic development once MINUSTAH's mandate had ended, Ambassador Rock said, adding that donors should develop flexible and speedy disbursement processes.

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