Haiti: dialogue and support crucial to avoid new crises, UN council stresses

Security Council members on a prior mission to Haiti. [File Photo]

16 March 2009 – As the United Nations Security Council completed its four-day mission to Haiti this weekend, it stressed that national dialogue and international support were critical to meet coming challenges in security, stability, recovery and development.

“A reinforced partnership between the Haitian Government and the international community remains necessary for the success of actions that must be pursued in the future,” Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica, leader of the delegation, told correspondents at a press conference in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Saturday.

“The country cannot permit new political crises and in that regard the collaboration of all branches of the State constitutes a very important contribution,” he added, emphasizing that the Council encourages all political actors to keep the calm and work in a constructive manner toward the next elections.

He said that continued national and international action was particularly important to strengthen the police force, the justice system and the administration of borders, and Council members also encouraged international support for employment in the short term, without forgetting the need to set clear long-term goals.

Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, was devastated by four successive storms in as many weeks last year, leaving 800 people dead and another one million either homeless or badly affected.

The country was also hit hard by the spike in commodities prices last year as it attempted to recover from earlier natural disasters, as well as the high crime and political instability that come under the mandate of the UN mission in the country (MINUSTAH).

Before leaving Haiti this weekend, the Council delegation took part in the reopening of the Port-au-Prince School of Magistrates, a major component in the reform of the Haitian judicial system – one of MINUSTAH’s key mandated priorities.

Justice sector reform was also among the topics of discussion between the Security Council delegation and President René Préval and his prime minister, a UN spokesperson added.

In addition, during its mission the Council delegation visited the city of Gonaïves, which was hard hit by last year’s storms and where it was briefed by MINUSTAH on its work in security and institution-building.

It saw a rebuilt regional electric plant and also visited a watershed protection project being implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Office (ILO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), MINUSTAH said.

During the Gonaïves tour, Hédi Annabi, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Haiti and head of MINUSTAH, expressed the hope that the Council would conduct more such visits to better understand the challenges faced by the Mission.

“We hope that this visit of the Security Council on the ground will enable it to have a better perception of the reality and to realize the importance of the presence and the usefulness of the United Nations here,” he said.

“We hope equally that this visit allows members of the delegation to communicate what they have seen to their respective Governments and to encourage them to augment their contributions for Haiti,” he added.


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