SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS HAITI MISSION UNTIL 31 MAY 199719961205 The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) until 31 May 1997, with 300 civilian police personnel and 500 military troops -- a reduction of 100 in the military strength of the Mission.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1086 (1996), the Council also decided that if the Secretary-General reported by 31 March 1997 that UNSMIH could make a further contribution to the consolidation of democracy and revitalization of Haiti's system of justice, its mandate would be further extended for a final time until July 1997. The Secretary-General was requested to include in his report recommendations on further reductions in the Mission's strength and the nature of a subsequent international presence in Haiti.
In his latest report on Haiti to the Council, the Secretary-General states that the Haitian National Police was not in a position to ensure its own continued development, while, at the same time, maintaining security and stability in the country. Crime was still a major problem, and the potential for incidents might increase as the police step up their efforts to deal with it, the Secretary-General states.
By the terms of the resolution, the Security Council affirmed the importance of a professional, self-sustaining, fully functioning national police force of adequate size and strength in Haiti, able to conduct the full spectrum of police functions, to the consolidation of democracy and revitalization of the country's system of justice.
Recognizing that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction constituted the major tasks facing the Haitian Government and people, the Council stressed the importance of the Government and the international financial institutions continuing their close collaboration to ensure additional financial support.
The Council requested all States to support the actions taken by the United Nations and by Member States under its resolutions on Haiti and to further make voluntary contributions to the trust fund established in resolution 975 (1995) for the support of the Haitian National Police.
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
The representative of Haiti told the Council that international support had been critical to Haiti's efforts to consolidate democracy and national security. Continuing assistance would be needed to ameliorate the socio- economic conditions which were a "breeding ground" for subversive groups, he said.
The representative of France termed UNSMIH as one of the Organization's "greatest successes". It had allowed for the consolidation of the democratic transition in Haiti and had helped develop a National Police that respected human rights and maintained public security. The representative of Canada said that stability in Haiti was key to the continuing security of the Caribbean region and to the further development of democracy in the western hemisphere.
The representative of the United States said that in a more secure environment the Haitian economy was improving. Privatization and civil service reforms had spurred growth, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had approved a new structural adjustment programme.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Argentina, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Indonesia, China, Honduras, Germany, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Botswana, Poland, Guinea-Bissau, Chile, Egypt and Italy.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:07 a.m, was adjourned at 12:46 p.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) (documents S/1996/813 and Add.1), in which he recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNSMIH until 30 June 1997 at its current strength.
The Secretary-General states that, in endorsing his proposals of July 1994, the Security Council committed the international community to a long- term programme of support for Haiti. While the commitment of the Government to improve the lives of citizens was clear, many ministries suffered from a lack of qualified staff, meagre resources and inadequate premises. In that respect, Haiti's rising crime rate was cause for concern, and new forms of criminality rarely seen in Haiti, such as kidnapping and drug trafficking, were on the rise. Given the weaknesses of the Haitian National Police and the poor performance of the justice sector, Haitians had resorted to vigilantism. Lawlessness has also given rise to abuse of authority and human rights violations by the National Police.
There had been a spate of violence in July, August and September, says the report. The attacks and shooting incidents in Port-au-Prince seem to have involved ex-personnel of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAd'H), members of extreme rightist organizations and political figures associated with the previous, de facto regime. The decision by Haitian authorities to address the legitimate financial claims of the former members of the armed forces, the arrest of former soldiers implicated in recent acts of violence, and police operations against criminal gangs and arms caches had helped to reduce the potential threat and resulted in a recent improvement in the security situation. However, the armed groups that oppose the Government had not been reined in. The 6,000-member Haitian National Police has not reached the level of experience and confidence required to control and defeat threats posed by subversive groups, the Secretary-General states. The National Police suffered from inexperience, inadequate equipment and insufficient leadership. Many police officers did not have uniforms, and performance of their duties in civilian clothes had created confusion among the population. Created from virtually nothing and not yet two years old, it faced a formidable challenge from well-armed criminals. Many police stations lacked electricity, plumbing and water, and some served their communities without telephone, radio or vehicles. Only the presence of the civilian police element of UNSMIH (CIVPOL) made it possible for some stations to function at all, as it mitigated the lack of resources by sharing its vehicles and means of communication with the National Police. Under the command of Colonel Robert Pigeyre (France), CIVPOL, whose strength at 15 September stood at 271, was deployed at 19 locations throughout Haiti; 223 were assigned to individual commissariats and 40 served as technical consultants, instructors and advisers.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
Much of Haiti's national court system remained dysfunctional, according to the Secretary-General. Under Haiti's civil law system, an investigating judge, in partnership with the public prosecutor (commissaire du gouvernement), had a significant role in criminal investigation. Nearly 80 per cent of those detained in Haiti's overcrowded prisons were awaiting trial. Jury trials have not been held regularly in many jurisdictions for years. The July acquittal of two men accused of murdering former Justice Minister Guy Malary in October 1993 served to focus public attention on the sector's need for a fundamental overhaul. The appointment of Dr. Louis Roy as Human Rights Ombudsman had been a positive development, the Secretary-General says, and, once operational, his office should serve an important monitoring function.
Because of the weaknesses in police and judiciary, the UNSMIH military element, the largest and best equipped security force in Haiti, is a key factor in containing forces threatening democracy, according to the report. UNSMIH's military element was conducting joint civilian police/National Police military patrols in the more difficult areas of the capital city. It had also trained a quick-reaction tactical response team for the search and seizure of weapons and was supporting the National Police in information-gathering, organization and planning. In recent weeks, it provided increased back-up to the National Police and CIVPOL, notably when UNSMIH military units were posted at the Parliament in the aftermath of a 19 August shooting attack on the building. The UNSMIH also increased its presence at the National Palace and coordinated with United States security personnel when, on 13 September, following the suspension of the Chief of the Presidential Security Unit and his deputy, some 40 security agents were sent by the United States Government to temporarily assist the Haitian Government in professionalizing the Unit.
Among the groups associated with recent violence and long suspected of being behind criminal activities are former members of the FAd'H, which was disbanded by presidential decree in January 1995, pending the adoption by the Parliament of an amendment to the Constitution, the Secretary-General recalls. Some of the 7,000 former soldiers had been incorporated into the new police force; 5,000 others had acquired marketable skills through vocational training while earning a monthly stipend. But, only 20 per cent of those had been able to secure positions in Haiti's sluggish economy. The first act of violence attributed to them was an attack on the police station at Vialet on 21 June. The station at Thomassiques was also attacked on 12 July. On 19 July, André Armand, the leader of a group of soldiers known as the Rassemblement des militaires révoques sans motifs (RAMIRESM), was shot to death; another former soldier was detained in connection with that murder.
On 17 August, 19 persons, including 15 former soldiers, were arrested on suspicion of plotting against the Government, among them, a colonel who had played a prominent role during the period of the de facto regime. Except for the former colonel, those detained were meeting in the offices of the
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
Mobilization for National Development. Two days after the arrests, a group of 30 men attacked the Port-au-Prince police station where the detainees were held. Several other incidents occurred in the metropolitan area that night, including shots fired at the Parliament and near the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In the afternoon of 20 August, two members of the Mobilization for National Development were murdered on a crowded city street.
Also during the period, Sergeant Joseph Jean-Baptiste, the outspoken leader of a militant group of former soldiers known as Comité revendicatif des militaires, was detained on 28 September on charges of plotting against the Government, after having threatened attacks to disrupt the opening of the Haitian school year on 7 October.
On 18 October, President Préval and Prime Minister Rosny Smarth dissolved the Provisional Electoral Council by decree and invited the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) and Parliament to nominate new members. The Council had reached an impasse internally and was unable to proceed with planning for elections to the local councils known as Territorial Assemblies and to the Senate, both of which are due by the end of 1996. In accordance with constitutional procedures, a new Council was appointed on 6 November.
The Secretary-General states that the voluntary fund established to assist with the creation of an adequate police force in Haiti had received a total of $3,250,000 from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Luxembourg. Those resources had been used to provide vehicles, communications and other equipment and to renovate over 25 police stations throughout Haiti.
The cost of maintaining UNSMIH for the 12-month period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997 was an estimated $57,187,400, or $4,765,600 per month. An amount of $23,957,000 was assessed for UNSMIH by the General Assembly for the period from 1 July to 30 November 1996.
Annexed to the report is a chart outlining the strength of the military and police elements as at 1 November.
Text of Draft Resolution
The Council also has before it a draft resolution (document S/1996/1002) sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, United States and Venezuela, which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and those adopted by the General Assembly,
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
"Taking note of the request of 13 November 1996 from the President of the Republic of Haiti to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (S/1996/956),
"Welcoming the reports of the Secretary-General of 1 October 1996 (S/1996/813) and 14 November 1996 (S/1996/813/Add.1), and noting the recommendations contained therein,
"Commending the role of the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) on its efforts to assist the Government of Haiti in the professionalization of the police and in the maintenance of a secure and stable environment conducive to the success of the current efforts to establish and train an effective national police force,
"Noting the improvement in recent months in the security situation in Haiti and the capacity of the Haitian National Police to confront existing challenges, as described in the report of the Secretary-General of 14 November 1996,
"Noting further the fluctuations in the security situation in Haiti described in the reports of the Secretary-General of 1 October 1996 and 14 November 1996,
"Supporting the role of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General in the coordination of activities by the United Nations system to promote institution building, national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation in Haiti,
"Noting the key role played to date by the United Nations Civilian Police, supported by United Nations military personnel, in helping to establish a fully functioning Haitian National Police Force of adequate size and structure as an integral element of the consolidation of democracy and the revitalization of Haiti's system of justice, and, in this context, welcoming continued progress towards establishing the Haitian National Police,
"Supporting the efforts of the Organization of American States (OAS) in cooperation with the United Nations, and in particular the contribution of the International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) to promote consolidation of peace and democracy in Haiti,
"Recognizing the link between peace and development and stressing that a sustained commitment by the international community and the international financial institutions to assist and support the economic, social and institutional development in Haiti is indispensable for long-term peace and stability in the country,
Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
"Recognizing that the people of Haiti bear the ultimate responsibility for national reconciliation, the maintenance of a secure and stable environment, the administration of justice, and reconstruction of their country,
"1. Affirms the importance of a professional, self-sustaining, fully functioning national police force of adequate size and structure, able to conduct the full spectrum of police functions, to the consolidation of democracy and revitalization of Haiti's system of justice;
"2. Decides to extend for the final time the mandate of UNSMIH, as set out in resolution 1063 (1996) and in paragraphs 6 to 8 of the Secretary- General's report of 14 November 1996, and in accordance with the request of the Government of Haiti, until 31 May 1997 with 300 civilian police personnel and 500 troops, except that, if the Secretary-General reports by 31 March 1997 that UNSMIH can make a further contribution to the goals set out in paragraph 1 above, it will be further extended, following a review by the Security Council, for the final time until 31 July 1997;
"3. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution, including recommendations on further reductions in the strength of the mission, by 31 March 1997;
"4. Recognizes that economic rehabilitation and reconstruction constitute the major tasks facing the Haitian Government and people, and stresses the importance that the Government of Haiti and the international financial institutions continue their close collaboration to enable the provision of additional financial support;
"5. Requests all States to provide support for the actions undertaken by the United Nations and by Member States pursuant to this and other relevant resolutions in order to carry out the provisions of the mandate specified in paragraph 2 above;
"6. Further requests all States to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund established in resolution 975 (1995) for the support of the Haitian National Police, to ensure that the police are adequately trained and fully operational;
"7. Requests the Secretary-General to include in his report of 31 March 1997 recommendations on the nature of a subsequent international presence in Haiti;
"8. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
PIERRE LELONG (Haiti) said that the "protective presence" of the original United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) had allowed his Government to eliminate a national army responsible for violations of human rights and to replace it with a new National Police. The subsequent UNSMIH had consolidated those gains. No human rights abuses had been attributed to the new National Police.
International support had been critical to continuing efforts to make democracy and reform permanent in Haiti, he continued. The military component of UNSMIH had been essential to suppressing the anti-democratic forces in the country. In the next few months, the Government and UNSMIH would work to complete the formation of the National Police. The specific needs of the National Police had been identified and, before the end of the year, the force would be able to guarantee peace and security throughout Haiti.
Haiti still needed assistance with providing food, health care and education to the Haitian people, he said. The serious socio-economic situation was a "breeding ground" in which subversive groups could sow discontent. New legislation would allow the development of high-labour private sector investment and agrarian reform. Government initiatives were seeking to end the poverty that had afflicted so many of the Haitian people. Haiti today was a constitutional democracy, and a State constructed on the rule of law was growing. The transition from dictatorship to democracy in Haiti was a victory for the international community.
ROBERT FOWLER (Canada) said that stability in Haiti was key to the continuing security of the Caribbean region and to the further development of democracy in the western hemisphere. The United Nations presence in Haiti had successfully fulfilled an ambitious mandate. The UNSMIH had provided stability for consolidating democracy and for increasing respect for human rights. It had also provided the necessary conditions for the recruitment and deployment of a new National Police. It had also allowed the Government of Haiti to come to accord with international financial institutions on a structural adjustment programme.
The renewal of the mandate of UNSMIH would provide an opportunity to continue the establishment of an effective and independent National Police. To continue that mission, a minimum of 1,300 personnel would be needed for the continuing work of UNSMIH. Peace-building was becoming ever more important as a tool of international crisis-management. It was essential that there be a civilian equivalent to the military response provided by peace-keeping. Once peace-keeping had stabilized a situation -- as in Haiti -- activities that strengthened democracy and civil society became vitally important for economic development and long-term stability.
Security Council - 8 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
ANA MARIA RAMIREZ (Argentina) said that the United Nations, having invested a great deal in the process of stabilization in Haiti, should maintain its focus on the evolution of that process. The civilian police component of UNSMIH had greatly assisted Haiti with training and deploying a new National Police. Compliance with professional standards and respect for human rights on the part of that force had played a major role in consolidating democracy in Haiti.
The United Nations had played an essential role in national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation, she said. Her Government was firmly committed to cooperating with the efforts of "white helmets" to facilitate economic development.
RAMON ESCOVAR-SALOM (Venezuela) said that, on 7 February this year, UNSMIH had faced its most important test as it monitored the peaceful transition from one civilian government to another. The process of democratization in Haiti had not stopped. The reduction of the military component of the Mission was a demonstration that the Mission was producing tangible fruit. His Government recognized the important work of UNSMIH. The consolidation of its work would make possible the long-term success of the efforts of the Haitian people and Government to secure democracy, stability and development.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that UNSMIH was one of the Organization's greatest success. It had allowed for the consolidation of the democratic transition in that country and had helped develop a National Police that respected human rights and maintained public security. The establishment of a democratic structure in Haiti had demanded a total restructuring of Haiti's military and police. The United Nations had made real progress in securing public order through the new National Police.
Progress achieved in developing the National Police could now be seen in a reduction of violence and criminality in Haiti, he continued. That progress should be celebrated, but it was fragile. The National Police still suffered from gaps in its personnel, equipment and management. The National Police faced a rise in criminal activity, and the continuing activity of political factions determined to endanger democracy. That was why France had responded to the appeal of President René Préval to the Secretary-General, in which he requested that the mandate of UNSMIH be extended. He would vote in favour of the text.
YURIY FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said that UNSMIH had tirelessly supported democracy in Haiti. His Government had had doubts about the extension of the Mission, particularly its military component, since the situation did not present a threat to international or even regional security, and it, therefore, did not warrant a peace-keeping mission. But his Government had, in a spirit of compromise, agreed to extend UNSMIH for a final
Security Council - 9 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
eight-month period. If the Secretary-General reports in March that the Mission could end earlier, the Russian Federation would support its early termination.
Provisions had been made for the reduction of the military component by 100 people, he said. The basis had been laid for the full withdrawal of the military component of the Mission. A continuing United Nations military component in Haiti -- given the serious situations elsewhere in the world and the Organization's financial situation -- could give rise to an accusation that the United Nations operated on a double standard.
His Government had repeatedly noted that the socio-economic situation in Haiti was the principle cause of its security problems, he said. International support for development and reform, including efforts by United Nations specialized agencies, neighbouring governments and international financial institutions, was essential. A spirit of compromise had allowed the Security Council to craft a draft resolution which contained many of the concerns of the Russian Federation, though his Government would have wished to see a more rapid reduction of the military component.
NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said he was gratified to note that the security situation had improved due to the presence of UNSMIH and the enhanced capacity of the National Police. The UNSMIH had played a significant role in training, supporting and enhancing the capacity of the National Police, as well as maintaining security. He commended UNSMIH on its efforts in effectively assisting the Government of Haiti to professionalize the National Police, which, in turn, created a more stable environment in Haiti. However, the situation in Haiti was still fluid. The weight of Haiti's past continued to undermine progress in rebuilding the country economically, socially and institutionally. The most dire threat to its future development lay in the violence caused by the militant groups opposed to the present Government. He said the National Police was not yet prepared to meet fully the complex difficulties that Haiti was confronted with. The force's institutional and operational capacities still needed to be further developed. It was also in that context that it was essential for Haiti that the police was strengthened and an effective and strong judiciary system established, to overcome the multifaceted challenges the Haitian Government faced. The promotion and consolidation of peace and democracy was essential in order for Haiti to preserve and maintain peace and stability in the long term. Thus, he supported the role of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in coordinating different activities to ensure the long-term goals of institution building, national reconciliation and economic rehabilitation.
He said the future of Haiti would depend, to a large measure, on rehabilitation and reconstruction of its economy. If that did not occur, Haiti would return to a stage of political turmoil an conflict. The presence of UNSMIH was a reflection of the international community's commitment to
Security Council - 10 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
restoring democracy in the country. The continuous presence of UNSMIH would ensure the development of a professional, self-sustaining, fully functioning National Police able to conduct the full spectrum of police functions for the consolidation of democracy and the revitalization of Haiti's system of justice. Based upon those considerations, Indonesia would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
QIN HUASUN (China) said that, thanks to the efforts by the Haitian Government and people and the assistance of the international community, the peace process in Haiti continued to move in a favourable direction. He was pleased at that development. His Government supported the peace process in Haiti. He said he had personally had the opportunity to see for himself what was happening in the country. The efforts by the Haitian Government to maintain political and social stability would help create a favourable environment to attract foreign financial assistance and investment. They would also contribute to economic reconstruction in the country and improvement of people's living standards.
Under the current circumstances, the United Nations peace-keeping mission in Haiti was over, he continued. The main task now facing Haiti was economic reconstruction, which would mainly depend on the Haitian people themselves. The international community, particularly international financial institutions and other United Nations agencies, should play an active role.
His Government was ready to treat the urgent request of the Haitian Government for the extension of the mandate of UNSMIH as a unique case to further promote the peace process in Haiti. The draft resolution had not only accommodated that request, but also taken into consideration the actual needs and the positions of all those concerned. He would, therefore, vote in favour of it. He hoped that the Haitian Government would continue its efforts to maintain social stability and speed up economic reconstruction, so that the Haitian people would be able to live and work in peace at an early date.
GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said Haiti was still trying to resolve its social and economic problems and consolidate democratic government. But, the security climate in the country, particularly crime and the actions of groups attached to the former de facto regime, still threatened to destabilize the legitimately elected Government. Honduras believed that a necessary climate of security must be established in Haiti so that the Government could concentrate on reconciliation and development.
The recent decline in violence in Haiti had been largely due to UNSMIH's training of the National Police. Extension of the UNSMIH mandate was essential to complete the professionalization of the police in Haiti. For that reason, Honduras would vote in favour of the draft.
Security Council - 11 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
TONO EITEL (Germany) welcomed the improvements outlined in the Secretary-General's report, especially with regard to the improvement of the security situation in Haiti. The rebuilding of the police force had slowly but surely acquired its own momentum. Germany commended the efforts of Haitian President Préval and his Government for their determination to consolidate democracy and the rule of law, to make the necessary institutional changes and to address the country's social and economic problems. Germany welcomed those commitments, as well as the determination of the Haitian authorities to uphold human rights and to ensure the accountability of human rights violators. Germany, however, continued to be concerned that over the last year common crime had increased considerably, including some forms of dangerous criminality, such as drug trafficking and a greater civilian use of fire arms. It agreed, therefore, with the conclusion of the report that the National Police of Haiti had so far not reached the level of experience and confidence to tackle successfully the problems created by previous members of the security forces and to deal with the day-to-day problems a police force usually encountered. It was clear, therefore, that UNSMIH's military element was for the time being a key factor in the ability to contain the danger of destabilization. Germany urged the Government of Haiti, as well as the United Nations agencies, to implement a plan of action for the reintegration of former soldiers of the disbanded armed forces of Haiti into the civil society. To neglect that issue means neglecting an important aspect of peace-building in an emerging socially balanced democratic society. Germany strongly condemned the access to funding and weapons which small groups of former members of the armed forces of Haiti, acting in concert with political figures associated with the previous undemocratic regime, still had. Recent information suggested that a number of those groups might be using neighbouring countries as a base. Those groups were, therefore, still in a position to threaten and damage government installations and infrastructure, and were believed to be planning future challenges to the democratically elected government of President Préval.
The representative of Germany also expressed deep concern that the judicial reform in Haiti was not keeping pace with the progress already made in reforming the National Police of Haiti. He urged CIVPOL, the civilian component of UNSMIH, to concentrate resources and expertise more on the fundamental reform of the justice system. The members of the Security Council, by agreeing to the final extension of the UNSMIH mandate, had proved once again that the international community was willing to cooperate with and support the efforts of the Haitian Government to rebuild the country. Germany had actively supported the efforts of the international community to consolidate the democratic and economic restructuring of Haiti. Bilaterally, it had provided aid for economic cooperation with Haiti, the main focus of which was a food-security programme. He hoped that the final extension of the UNSMIH mandate would create the necessary security conditions in Haiti for the transition to a successful post-conflict peace-building phase.
Security Council - 12 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that there had been many positive developments in Haiti, in particular, the steady improvement in the security situation and in the capacity of the National Police to confront challenges. Even so, the progress had not been adequate enough to warrant the termination of the mandate of UNSMIH. It was clear from the reports of the Secretary- General that the security situation in Haiti was still fragile and required continued support from the international community.
The delay in the institutional development of the National Police was a source of serious concern, he continued. Despite some positive developments in recent months, the force must still deal with many shortcomings in critical areas, such as lack of the necessary equipment and leadership to cope with the daunting challenges of maintaining law and order on its own. He concurred with the Secretary-General's observation that the presence of UNSMIH continued to be required. It was necessary not only for the successful completion of the professionalization of the police force, but also to consummate the investment made by the international community in the restoration of democracy in Haiti.
The United Nations could not maintain its presence in Haiti indefinitely, he said, adding that his delegation was pleased that the draft resolution recognized that the people of Haiti themselves bore the ultimate responsibility for shaping their future, and it was to be the final extension of UNSMIH's mandate. It was his delegation's hope that the Government and people of Haiti, together with the international community, would utilize the coming six to eight months for the smooth transition from peace-keeping to peace-building. He would vote in favour of the draft text.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said his country favoured extending the mandate of UNSMIH, as proposed in the draft resolution. The continuation was necessary to maintain peace and stability in the country.
He was pleased to note the Secretary-General's assessment that the security situation in Haiti continued to improve. But the danger of destabilization by armed opposition groups remained. Violent crime was on the increase and a cause for concern. The National Police was still at the fledgling stage of its development and was not yet capable of taking full responsibility for public security. That was why the continuing support of the international community was so important, he said.
He commended the Government of Haiti for its efforts in support of UNSMIH. All should work with the Government to ensure that governmental and judicial institutions were strengthened to give Haiti the necessary foundations for a stable democracy. He hoped that the necessary reforms of the judiciary would be implemented soon, relieving the pressure on the court system.
Security Council - 13 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
He said Haiti had been a success story for the United Nations. He recognized that the United Nations had remained in Haiti longer than originally envisaged. However, the international community should not now endanger the previous investment in peace in Haiti through precipitate actions which could threaten the stability of the country, he added.
LEGWAILA J.M.J. LEGWAILA (Botswana) said the contribution that UNSMIH was making to the betterment of the lives of the ordinary people of Haiti was beyond doubt -- violence had somewhat abated in recent weeks, and the security situation had improved along with the capacity of the Haitian National Police to deal with the challenges facing it. While it was important to acknowledge the achievements made thus far, it was essential to recognize that the process of rebuilding a democratic and politically stable Haiti remained fragile and reversible. There was clear evidence that some members of the former armed forces of Haiti, which had been responsible for politically motivated violence in the past, still had access to funding and weapons. They, therefore, posed a serious threat to Haiti's transition to democracy. The international community, and the neighbouring countries in particular, should do all they could to ensure that political instability, economic stagnation and undemocratic rule did not return to Haiti with all the attending regional implications. Botswana supported the Secretary-General's observation in his latest report that, for now, the military and civilian police components of UNSMIH should be maintained at current strengths. The UNSMIH was still most necessary to help the Haitian National Police consolidate its hold on the security situation in the country.
He said the economic rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Haitian national economy was an indispensable part of the consolidation of peace and democracy in that country. Botswana had always maintained that the international community should aim at ensuring that the financial, material and human resources invested in the cause of peace did not go to waste due to premature withdrawal of a peace-keeping mission. The UNSMIH should leave behind a stable and prosperous country and a people who could look to the future with pride and dignity.
ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said there had been considerable progress in the peaceful resolution of conflict in Haiti. The Haitian Government had started regulating the economy and the social infrastructure. It was Poland's hope that the new laws, particularly those concerning the modernization of State enterprises and the status of the civil service, would add new momentum to the process of normalization. Similarly, Poland welcomed some improvement in the security situation and took note of some positive trends in the functioning of the Haitian National Police.
He said it was clear that, notwithstanding all the progress that had been made, the Haitian authorities were still not in a position to secure the kind of environment they needed to carry out the commitments to economic,
Security Council - 14 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
institutional and judicial reforms. The Haitian National Police needed further strengthening, as well as more training, equipment and better coordination, of their activities. The justice system in Haiti should also be profoundly reformed.
He said there were compelling reasons for the international community to continue to assist Haiti in its quest for security and stability. The Polish delegation would vote for the resolution.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said that his Government was gratified that the international community had agreed that the Haitian people were entitled to a government founded on democracy and the rule of law. In the present critical stage of Haiti's history, an international presence was essential to facilitate democratic aspirations. The democratic experience in Haiti was a symbol. By helping the Haitian people to throw off the yoke of dictatorship, the international community was sending a message to other parts of the world.
The United Nations presence in Haiti was still required to help the Haitian people consolidate their democracy, he said. He was pleased that the international community was still committed to solidarity with the Haitian people. He was fully aware of the financial situation of the Organization. None the less, United Nations assistance to the democratic process in Haiti was essential in the face of threats by those who carried arms, he said.
JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said that the United Nations and the Security Council should feel gratified at having facilitated democratic change in Haiti through one of the most successful peace-keeping missions in the history of the Organization. Chile would endorse the resolution because Haiti's democracy still faced several threats.
Because of transcendental political changes that occurred in the 1980s, the Security Council was now faced with an obligation to neutralize threats to peace and international security stemming from problems within States and not between them. That must be done with great care and mindful of the sovereignty of States. The Council had begun to address new situations for which it lacked tradition and experience. To meet those new challenges, it must tailor new instruments. That was why Chile had proposed an in-depth discussion of the role of the Security Council in such situations.
His Government valued the efforts of Haiti's democratic government in helping to consolidate democracy, he said. Haiti's people still lacked basic necessities, and good governance in such a situation demanded not only the establishment and exercise of authority. That was why the United Nations must provide continuing assistance to Haiti, in order to consolidate peace and pave the way to economic recovery. It would be a shame if the United Nations failed to consolidate recovery in Haiti now and was, thus, forced to return at
Security Council - 15 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
a later date to again restore peace. The Security Council needed to discuss new approaches to peace-keeping and development. That would be the most efficient way to meet the new types of challenges before it.
MAGED ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said that the security situation in Haiti was steadily improving. That was proof that UNSMIH had helped establish the rule of law and consolidate peace. Since the Government of President Préval felt it necessary that the United Nations continue its presence in Haiti during the current transitional period, he agreed that the Mission should continue. Reduced troop levels should not be allowed to impede its success. The optimal solution for the situation in Haiti would only be resolved through socio- economic development and the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law.
KARL F. INDERFURTH (United States) said that UNSMIH and its predecessor had done much to help the Government of Haiti to professionalize its police and maintain a secure and stable environment in which durable democratic institutions might be built. The United States commended all those who had contributed to UNSMIH, and especially the Government of Canada which had provided outstanding leadership. The result was that clear gains had been made. A new civilian police force had been established, and the Palace security force was being professionalized. The Haitian economy was also beginning to improve. The Haitian legislature had passed key privatization and civil service reforms that would spur economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had approved a structural adjustment programme and a $120 million credit, and business leaders were increasingly optimistic.
Even more important, he said, the climate of democratization had made it possible for the average people of Haiti to go about their daily lives free from the fear of officially sanctioned violence. Haitians no longer were forced to choose between living in terror and trying to flee the island on leaky rafts and boats headed for American shores.
Despite the progress, obstacles remained, he said. There continued to be individuals and groups within Haiti who opposed the democratic path. The continuation of UNSMIH would allow the transition to eventual government responsibility for public safety to go forward, while minimizing the risk of serious setbacks or disruption.
The United States supported the resolution and hoped it would be adopted unanimously.
The restoration of democracy to Haiti had been one of the most heartening developments of recent years, he said, adding that, as elsewhere, democracy remained a work in progress. The responsibility of the international community was to help the Haitian people to secure for themselves a future marked by enduring freedom, stability and a steadily improving quality of life.
Security Council - 16 - Press Release SC/6300 3721st Meeting (AM) 5 December 1996
FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy), speaking as his country's representative, said that the improvement in the capacity of the Haitian National Police to meet its challenges was an encouraging development. The role played by UNSMIH in the phase of democratic transition was of crucial importance. The Government of the democratically elected President, René Préval, had been able to count on the presence of the international force to guarantee public order and start training of the Haitian National Police, which would have to handle internal security on its own when UNSMIH was withdrawn. Italy fully supported the extension of the mandate for six months and the provision for the possibility of an additional two-month extension to be subsequently decided on by the Council.
In the delicate phase of consolidation of the democratic system, there were still threats to political stability, he continued. In order to strengthen the results thus far achieved through the commitment of the international community, the Security Council had approved the extension of the United Nations support mission. By 31 March 1997, the Council would carefully consider the nature of a subsequent international presence in Haiti.
The international community should facilitate the strategic relationship that Haiti should establish with international financial institutions, whose support was indispensable to the economic rehabilitation of the country. A better standard of living was fundamental to consolidating democracy and respect for human rights.
The Council then unanimously adopted Security Council resolution 1086 (1996).
* *** *