Haiti Mission Head Tells Security Council Progress Made in Security, Rule of Law, but Recent Resignation of Prime Minister Could Threaten Progress to Democracy

8 March 2012
SC/10572

Haiti Mission Head Tells Security Council Progress Made in Security, Rule of Law, but Recent Resignation of Prime Minister Could Threaten Progress to Democracy

8 March 2012
Security Council
SC/10572
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6732nd Meeting (AM)

Haiti Mission Head Tells Security Council Progress Made in Security, Rule of Law,

but Recent Resignation of Prime Minister Could Threaten Progress to Democracy

Mariano Fernandez Says, Nearly Eight Years after Mission’s Deployment,

Goals of Peace-keeping in Sight, Despite Serious Setbacks by 2010 Earthquake

The Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Haiti told the Security Council this morning that progress in security conditions and rule of law institutions allowed the planned drawdown of the United Nations Mission to proceed, although he was deeply concerned over the political tensions that resulted in the recent resignation of the Prime Minister and said it could threaten the progress of the country to democracy.

“There is slow progress, with some backtracking, but a stabilization of conditions”, said Mariano Fernandez Amunategui, who is also the Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), acknowledging many risks ahead, including deterioration of political conditions, but affirming that institutions of rule of law were being established and gradually a form of legality was appearing.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report (see Background), Mr. Fernandez said that, after nearly 8 years of MINUSTAH’s deployment, the goals of peacekeeping were in sight, despite the serious setbacks caused by the 2010 earthquake.  He underlined, in particular, important progress in the rule of law, including the establishment of a Supreme Court.  The ongoing training and building of an effective national police force continued.  The Force now had some 10,000 officers, triple the number in 2004, but still not enough.  Noting, however, the extreme inequalities and other development challenges that still existed in the country, he said the main goal now was to ensure the consolidation of efforts to bring about stability and peace, so that economic and social development could take place. 

In addition to concerns of the political divisiveness that led to the Prime Minister’s resignation, which occurred two weeks ago, after just four months in office, Mr. Fernandez Amunategui also expressed worries over the appearance of illegal military forces that seemed related to restoring the Haitian military.  The international community had signalled that it would not lend support to such an army, and legislation had been proposed to ensure pensions for retirees and take other measures to deal with the matter, with which MINUSTAH continued to be seized.  The necessity for successful elections taking place as soon as possible to fill vacant positions was also being stressed by MINUSTAH. 

In other areas, he noted that economic growth remained high, but cautioned that such growth must be accompanied and maintained by the development of proper institutions.  He called for due process and transparency in prosecution of United Nations personnel accused of abuses.  There had been significant progress in relocating people from camps, but internally displaced persons still numbered 515,000 at the end of January and international support for them was dropping.

Following Mr. Fernandez Amunategui’s presentation, representatives of Security Council members and other interested parties welcomed progress in Haiti, especially in the areas of security and rule-of-law.  Most, at the same time, concurred with the Secretary-General and Mr. Fernandez Amunategui’s concern over the political divisiveness in Haiti, and called for leaders in the legislative and executive branches to find consensus through compromise, underlining the importance of political stability for progress in reconstruction and development.  Many also called for the overdue municipal elections and renewal of the Senate to take place as quickly as possible in a credible manner.

In regard to MINUSTAH’s drawdown, many speakers underlined the importance of accomplishing it in a responsible manner that did not jeopardize the stabilization that had been accomplished, prioritizing the strengthening of the Haitian National Police.  Many saw the informal mobilization of demobilized solders as a possible threat to stability.  Much concern was also directed to continued displacement of Haitians, and the importance of political stability was stressed in regard to further progress in that area, along with continued international assistance.  Most speakers also urged that the zero tolerance policy for abuses on the part of Mission personnel be enforced and followed up by due process investigations and prosecution of the guilty.

Haiti’s representative concurred with the report’s view that there had been progress in his country, but also that the situation was mixed and precarious.  He stressed that his country wanted to emerge as quickly as possible from its status as a “threat to international peace and security”, saying that that phrase did not represent the real situation in Haiti and made the country less attractive to investors.  Recognizing the major handicap to stability and development caused by the political crises, including the recent resignation of the Prime Minister, he assured the Council that urgent work was being done in accordance with national laws on the ratification of the designated replacement. 

In other areas, he said it would be appropriate that efforts to strengthen the National Police Force be accelerated before the June drawdown of MINUSTAH.  He reported that the Haitian President had been trying to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the gathering of demobilized members of the Haitian armed forces, and said that decently rehousing those still in camps was a Government priority, but required more resources.  He called on donors to redress the drop in donations, to help organizations assisting Haiti to maintain their “glimmer of hope”. 

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United States, Azerbaijan, France, Colombia, Morocco, Portugal, Guatemala, Germany, South Africa, China, Russian Federation, India, Togo, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain, Uruguay (on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti), Senegal, Canada, Japan, Chile and Peru.

The head of the European Union’s delegation also spoke. 

The meeting began at 10:05 and ended at 1:09 p.m.

Background

The Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (document S/2012/128), which reports on developments from 25 August 2011 to 28 February 2012 and says that the Mission, known as MINUSTAH, will complete the drawdown from its post-earthquake surge by June 2012 and is refocusing its efforts on key mandated tasks where it can effect change, including support for the political process, the consolidation of State authority, strengthening State institutions and bolstering rule of law.  The Secretary-General stresses that, at the same time, the Haitian authorities must increasingly take responsibility for the country’s stability through the Haitian National Police, a functioning judiciary, and a responsive public administration, as well as improved education and the provision of basic services, housing and protection to those still displaced by the earthquake. 

Towards that effort, the Secretary-General calls on Haiti’s executive and legislative branches to proceed expeditiously with the appointment of a new Prime Minister, and he encourages the new Government to assume leadership for Haiti’s recovery and development process and to take difficult decisions to overcome “the lack of political will and deep-rooted resistance to reform in Haiti”.  Leaders, he adds, “need to demonstrate heightened accountability and professionalism and create a political climate characterized by tolerance rather than polarization”.  There was now an opportunity to make genuine progress in rebuilding the nation, strengthening institutions, attracting investment, promoting sustainable development and entrenching respect for the rule of law and human rights.

The Secretary-General notes, however, that the continuing stand-off between the executive and legislative branches of Government and tensions within the executive have led to the resignation of the Prime Minister, Garry Conille, after only four months in office, calling it “a serious failure on the part of Haiti’s political leaders to live up to the rightful expectations of those who elected them and to deliver effective government at a time of unprecedented need in Haiti”.  He adds that inclusive dialogue is a precondition for progress in recovery and development, elections, constitutional reform, the rule of law, protection of human rights, and the creation of a culture where impunity is not tolerated.

He calls upon the Government, in addition, to stem the reported mobilization of several hundred armed former members of the Haitian armed forces and new recruits who have occupied a number of former training camps in several departments, and to investigate its sources of funding and support.  He expresses hope that the Haitian authorities will soon re-launch the electoral process for upcoming legislative, municipal and local elections, ahead of the end of the terms of 10 senators on 8 May 2012.  He says it is particularly important that the Government mobilize the resources required to build the electoral council’s electoral management and administrative capabilities.  He affirmed that MINUSTAH stands ready to support that process, as it has done in the past. 

Welcoming the verdict in the case of the killings during the prison riot at Les Cayes, he expresses concern, however, about the recent decision applying a statute of limitations to the well-documented human rights abuses under the Jean-Claude Duvalier regime.  He encourages Haiti’s authorities “to spare no effort” in the fight against impunity.

Briefing

MARIANO FERNANDEZ AMUNATEGUI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report.  After nearly 8 years of MINUSTAH’s deployment, the goals of peacekeeping were in sight, despite the serious setbacks caused by the 2010 earthquake, which made necessary a major effort in reconstruction.  Stressing the extreme inequalities and other development challenges that still existed in the country, he said that the main goal was to ensure the consolidation of efforts to bring about stability and peace, so that economic and social development could take place. 

As described in the report, the resignation of the Prime Minister was of great concern, he said.  It threatened the progress of Haiti to democracy.  Reducing the disputes between the legislative and executive branches was crucial.  The main problem was an inability to reach consensus.  That was why the Council, on its mission, stressed the need for pacts between stakeholders.  MINUSTAH was working with the Government to help bring about the formation of a new Government as soon as possible.

Solid institutions for the rule of law were also critical, he said, noting that after five years of work, Haiti now had a Supreme Court, an extremely important development.  Stressing that another fundamental pillar of the rule of law was an effective police force, he noted that over the past six months some 21,000 patrols had been carried out by the National Police Force and the MINUSTAH police force, with much work accomplished in disbanding criminal gangs.  Removing remaining obstacles to effective policing was now the priority.  The police force now numbered 10,000, triple the number of 2004, but still not enough.  By 2016, enough officers should be trained to allow a MINUSTAH drawdown.  Assessments of those efforts were now being undertaken.  The drawdown of the military component had not affected security, and United Nations police remained at a steady level.

Political violence had disappeared and ordinary crime remained low in comparison to the rest of the region.  Targeted actions against domestic violence and the abuse of women were being undertaken.  Noting International Women’s Day, he pledged intensified action in that regard.  The appearance of illegal military forces, which had appeared related to restoring the Haitian military, was also of concern.  The international community had signalled that it would not lend support to such an army, and legislation had been proposed to ensure pensions for retirees and take other measures to deal with the matter, with which MINUSTAH continued to be seized.

The necessity for successful elections taking place as soon as possible to fill vacant positions was also being stressed by MINUSTAH, and the entire diplomatic corps in Haiti was invited recently to meet on assistance to help prepare the way for them.  In terms of the economy, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) had estimated 10 per cent growth for 2012; it was 8 per cent for 2011.  Both those rates were high for the period, he commented, but cautioned that such growth must be accompanied and maintained by the development of proper institutions. 

He said he wished to see due process and transparency in prosecution of United Nations personnel accused of abuses.  On reconstruction, he said that there had been significant progress in relocating people from camps.  Internally displaced persons still numbered 515,000 at the end of January, but had been reduced from 634,000 in September.  Further reductions were even more critical, given the drop in international aid for hygiene and other necessities in the camps. 

In general, he said “there is slow progress, with some backtracking but a stabilization of conditions”.  There were still many risks, but institutions of rule of law were being established and, gradually, a form of legality was appearing.

Statements

SUSAN RICE ( United States) said that as Council members had seen during their recent visit, and as the Secretary-General had outlined in his report, “ Haiti stands at a moment of decision.”  In the two years since the devastating earthquake, there had been much progress towards rebuilding the shattered country.  But, much remained to be done and further progress had been hampered, most notably by a lack of Haitian political consensus and resolve.  As such, the achievements that had been made were fragile at best.  The United States would stand by the country to build a better future.  Over the past few years, there had been peaceful elections and a transfer of power.  But, today, a political stalemate threatened those gains. Therefore, all politicians needed to work together in a spirit of compromise, and she urged the authorities to name a Prime Minister as soon as possible.

“ Haiti cannot afford long-term political gridlock,” she continued, stressing that the institutions that had been created could not run themselves; they needed staff and officials to get them up and running.  She said that certain aspects of the security situation remained troubling and any such changes in the mandate of MINUSTAH must be based on the situation on the ground.  But, MINUSTAH could not be a permanent solution to Haiti’s security needs.  The next budget cycle provided an opportunity for the Government to devote the necessary resources to revamp the Haitian National Police and ensure they had the equipment and training to function on their own.  She urged the United Nations and the Haitian Government to strengthen the National Police Force.  The United States hoped MINUSTAH and the Government would shortly outline a plan that would ensure the smooth eventual transfer of responsibility from the mission to the National Police.

Beyond the National Police, she encouraged the Government and the United Nations to strengthen other institutions, including courts and prisons.  There was also a need to present updated criminal procedure code to Parliament to reduce long-simmering legal tensions and combat corruption.  She added that prison overcrowding remained a serious concern, and should be addressed comprehensively.  The United States applauded the Haitian Government’s shift from reliance on international assistance to home-grown entrepreneurship and job-creation, but stressed that weak rule of law institutions could actually deter investors from coming to Haiti.  As such, she urged the Government to push through reforms that would ease knotty regulation procedures and show the world that “Haiti is truly open for business and working to create jobs.”  On MINUSTAH, she appreciated the dedicated service of the men and women of that mission, but said that she remained deeply concerned by accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse.  Any such conduct was absolutely unacceptable and the United Nations must increase its efforts to prevent it.  Those responsible must be held fully and transparently accountable.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that while the United Nations country team and MINUSTAH were playing a vital role in Haiti’s recovery, the Council’s recent visit had revealed that national authorities and the wider international community needed to do much more to support the Haitian people.  Political stability in the country was a key for ensuring stabilization and development.  It was therefore important for all political leaders to engage in responsible political dialogue in a spirit of compromise.  He encouraged MINUSTAH to continue facilitating political dialogue among all branches of the Haitian Government, as well as other political actors in the country.  As the elections approached, the United Nations should step up its support for that exercise, he added.

While noting the overall satisfactory security situation, he was nevertheless concerned that, while politically motivated violence had decreased in recent months, overall crime rates remained high.  Therefore, continued close cooperation between the National Police and MINUSTAH was vital to effectively address security challenges, as well as to ensure that the National Force could continue progress towards eventually taking over the Mission’s policing responsibilities.  On the humanitarian situation, he said that while there had been some improvement, two years after the earthquake there were still perhaps 1 million Haitians living in camps without access to basic services.  While strong international support was required to help the Government cope with that issue, that support did not absolve the national authorities of their responsibility to provide basic services, housing and protection to people that had been displaced by the natural disaster.

MARTIN BRIENS (France), aligning himself with statements to be made on behalf of the European Union and the Group of Friends of Haiti, affirmed his country’s continued commitment to Haiti, made concrete by the contribution of hundreds of millions of euros in aid.  A renewed commitment by the leadership of the country to face its challenges was now needed; however, he said that the Governmental crisis came, unfortunately, after appreciable progress in law and order, reconstruction and institution-building.  Political stability was crucial, as was cooperation between all donors.  He reminded Haitian authorities of their responsibilities, including the setting up of necessary elections, the establishment of a budget, and the establishment of a truce between executive and legislative branches. 

He called for an end, in addition, of gatherings of armed men claiming to be part of the military.  In addition, the events that had tarnished the Mission’s reputation could not be ignored.  Noting progress in policing, he said it was important now to “have a clear idea of what we want to achieve and by when”.  Drawdown and adaptation must be tempered by developments on the ground, and the balance between troops, police and civilians must be reconfigured to reduce the overall contingent deployment of MINUSTAH.  That drawdown should evolve in a gradual and responsible manner to ensure that MINUSTAH was the last peacekeeping Mission needed in the country.

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), recalling the recent Security Council visit to Haiti, said that the shaky relations between the executive and legislative branches were witnessed first hand.  He trusted that the all stakeholders would come together to face the challenges.  He called on MINUSTAH to assist in overcoming such tensions, as requested by national stakeholders.  Noting that meals programmes for school children were experiencing a lack of funding, he called for maintenance of such essential humanitarian aid.  In regard to any violence and sexual abuse on the part of United Nations staff and the alleged missteps that cased the cholera epidemic, he reiterated the need for zero tolerance for misconduct among the Organization’s personnel.  The strengthening of the Haitian police continued to be vital, as was continued MINUSTAH assistance in policing.  Efforts to redress the lack of widespread judicial institutions must be redoubled, he added, and he urged the Government to expeditiously put in place all mechanisms necessary for the needed elections.  In addition, international support must help provide new alternatives to the remaining camp housing.  Stable conditions and the rule of law were sine qua non conditions for further reconstruction, he stressed.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said that two years after the devastating earthquake, the joint efforts of the Government, the international community and the United Nations had helped Haiti “come a very long way”.  Indeed, no one could question what the Government had achieved to bolster institutions and provide assistance to the people of the country.  At the same time, much remained to be done, and the Haitian authorities must carry through planned reforms, including those aimed at strengthening the rule of law.  He appreciated the efforts of MINUSTAH to help maintain security and assist with improvement in rule of law institutions.  Broader recovery and development efforts remained a huge challenge, despite the progress in infrastructure rehabilitation.  There was a particular need to effectively and comprehensively tackle unemployment, especially among youth.  Finally, he applauded MINUSTAH and its staff, and said that nothing could taint the remarkable work that the mission had carried out on behalf of the Haitian people.   

JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said the Council had gathered to discuss the progress that had been made in Haiti, the work of MINUSTAH and the challenges that remained, including in areas such as human rights, reconstruction and strengthening institutions.  The Haitian Government faced serious challenges in many of those areas and the only way to confront them was to ensure and maintain political stability and to build strong institutions that could usher in a slate of planned reforms.  As for MINSUSTAH, the planed drawdown must proceed, but in such a way that did not negatively impact security and stability.

He called on the Government to address, in a transparent manner, all matters regarding national security and police forces.  He went on to express concern about a host of troubling human rights issues, and urged the Government to bolster the rule of law and strengthen its compliance with international treaties and mechanisms on human trafficking, among others.  MINUSTAH was adapting to its environment and to changing circumstances on the ground.  It would be important for the Security Council to continue to support the Mission, he said, adding that his delegation would continue to support its work.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), noting that his country was a formal stakeholder in Haiti given its troop contribution to MINUSTAH, called political tensions in Haiti disturbing and hoped that the overdue municipal elections and renewal of the Senate would take place as soon as possible.  He said that the temporary nature of the Provisional Electoral Council should not impede preserving know-how for future elections; a permanent office would be worth considering, if it could keep its independence.  He invited the Government to start engaging with MINUSTAH on operational measures for the holding of the elections.  He also stressed the importance of renewing the mandate of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and consideration of its institutionalization for the long term.  Advocating the strengthening of the public sector, he said that international assistance should take that into account. 

Welcoming the reduction in the total displaced persons and camp sites signalled in the report, he supported enhanced efforts to protect vulnerable groups.  He said more must be done, however, to adopt comprehensive camp closure plans and find alternative housing.  He concurred with a need for a balanced approach to security and non-security challenges, as well as the view that peacekeepers could not be in Haiti in perpetuity.  On the other hand, it was important not to abandon Haiti prematurely.  In that context, he looked forward to receiving detailed assessments on threats to security in Haiti and options to reconfigure the composition of MINUSTAH.  While the international community was willing to play a supporting role, the primary responsibility rested first and foremost with the Haitians themselves, he affirmed.   

MIGUEL BERGER (Germany) said his Government had given bilaterally and through the European Union 148 million euros for reconstruction and 41 million euros for humanitarian aid, as well as 230 million euros in private donations.  He noted with concern the continued stand-off between the executive and legislative authorities and the resulting state of blockade and inaction, which prevented Haiti’s state institutions from delivering on their promises.  Haiti could not wait any longer for an effective Government.  He called on all political actors in Haiti to engage in constructive political dialogue and on Haiti’s leaders to work together in a spirit of compromise.  A new, widely accepted Prime Minister must be appointed and take office expeditiously.  That process must not again become the object of partisan fighting; it must be accomplished without further delay.  He strongly encouraged the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to advocate a political pact to advance Haiti’s stabilization and development.

He stressed the importance of the rule of law and good governance.  Political and legal uncertainty was an obstacle to development and to increased foreign investment.  Political support to build the capacity of Haiti’s National Police must be enhanced.  MINUSTAH still had a critical role in maintaining a secure environment and protecting human rights.  With the primary focus on enhancing police capacity, the Council should consider further downsizing MINUSTAH’s military capabilities, in line with developments on the ground.  Efforts to enhance the Haitian National Police should not be diluted by plans to reintroduce the Haitian armed forces.  Germany, like other international partners, was not willing to fund any type of military in Haiti.  He urged the political leadership to take the needed steps to avoid a continued institutional vacuum.  He called on Haiti’s authorities to spare no effort in fighting impunity.  Establishment of accountability and the rule of law were central benchmarks for success. 

DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa) said the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Gary Conille should not be allowed to hamper any political progress achieved thus far.  He expressed hope that Haitians would be able to reach consensus on all outstanding issues, and he encouraged collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of Government.  A rapid resolution to the crisis would allow Haitians and the international community to focus on key development and reconstruction challenges.  The Haitian Government, in cooperation with MINUSTAH, must identify critical gaps within the Police Service and develop strategies to address them, as soon as possible.  It was critical to promote the rule of law at all levels to ensure stability and facilitate development in Haiti.  In that regard, he welcomed President Martelly’s appointment of the President and Vice President of the Supreme Court, which further strengthened the country’s rule of law institutions.

He expressed concern over reports of increased mobilization by several hundred armed former members of the Forces armees d’Haiti, which threatened stability.   The Government should take the necessary measures to address it.  He commended MINUSTAH’s military and police personnel, as well as the Haitian National Police, for helping to improve Haiti’s overall security situation.  But, that stability was fragile, due to civil unrest related to socio-economic grievances.  Addressing the latter should be a priority.  In that regard, he welcomed President Martelly’s pronouncement of his Government’s priorities, including security, resettlement of displaced people, job creation, environmental protection, health care, and education, among others.  It was incumbent on the international community to continue to support Haiti in its recovery from humanitarian challenges, which was a prerequisite for stability and development.

LI BAODONG (China) said that the considerable progress that had been made in Haiti deserved recognition, as did the considerable remaining challenges, which called for greater efforts from both Haitians and the international community.  Political reconciliation was key.  A new Government must be formed as soon as possible, so that the central task of reconstruction, which was experiencing slow progress, could be accomplished.  At the same time, the international community must improve the efficacy of its aid.  He trusted that MINUSTAH would accomplish its drawdown and, at the same time, complete its mandate in security and assistance to institution-building.

NIKITA Y. ZHUKOV (Russian Federation) agreed with the findings of Mr. Fernandez Amunategui’s report on the complex situation in Haiti and he hoped the resignation of the Prime Minister would not lead to greater political upheaval.  In that context, urgent steps toward national consensus must be taken, so that key tasks in the country’s recovery could be accomplished.  The constitutional process, legislative acts and reform must progress.  On the apparent troop mobilization, he did not question Haiti’s sovereign right to make its own security decisions, but he said that increasing the effectiveness of the national police should be the primary consideration in that area.  A military formation, on the other hand, could increase tensions.  MINUSTAH needed to smoothly complete the reform process under way and then consider reconfiguration.  Incidents of alleged abuse by United Nations personnel should be thoroughly investigated and those found guilty should face sanctions according to the laws of their countries.  Comprehensive assistance to Haiti must continue, particularly in the area of institution-building, so that the country could undertake sustained development.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that while Haiti had made progress on several key fronts in the past two years — more than 1 million people affected by the earthquake had been relocated, 5 million cubic metres of debris had been removed, and positive economic growth was predicted for 2012 — overall progress on reconstruction had slowed down considerably, due to ongoing political uncertainty in the aftermath of the 2011 elections.  Delays in forming a new Government and a lingering stalemate between two main branches were, unfortunately, impacting many recovery-related activities.  He said that situation had also impacted donor confidence in the country, and the recent appeal by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had only been half funded.

Political infighting had also delayed the adoption of a number of legislative measures and preparations for the elections for Senate and local bodies had been stalled.  The resignation last month of the Prime Minister had further exacerbated political tensions.  India hoped that the process of parliamentary approval for a new Prime Minister and the formation of a new Government would be completed soon. “The need of the hour is for the Haitian leaders to set aside their differences and work collectively for effective administration that can implement necessary reforms for economic growth and strengthen the capacity of rule of law institutions,” he said, stressing that political stability was essential for effective Governance.  In such a climate, the role of MINUSTAH continued to be critical for recovery efforts, as well as for ensuring overall stability and security and capacity-building.  India hoped that national institutions would gradually assume a larger role and ultimately take over MINUSTAH’s responsibilities.  Meanwhile, the mission should focus on supporting the political process, capacity-building and consolidating national institutions.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said after the devastating 2012 earthquake the entire world had wondered how Haiti would ever recover.  Fortunately, the measures the Government was implementing, including in education, housing development and health care, had “put the country on the right track”.  Also important had been improvement in criminal procedures and judicial mechanisms.  However, such progress was tempered by ongoing political, security and humanitarian challenges.  Specifically, he said lingering political tensions “do not inspire confidence and are likely to undermine the efforts of the international community”.  He, therefore, called on all political factions to work together in a spirit of compromise for the benefit of the people and country.

He went on to urge the Government to work harder to combat criminal activity, including the increase in gang activity.  MINUSTAH could provide assistance in that effort.  The overall situation in Haiti demanded that the international community continue its active support.  Here, it was necessary to applaud the efforts of MINUSTAH, before and after the earthquake, to assist a country where fear, instability and uncertainty had long reigned.  Yet, helping Haiti rebuild itself meant bringing political stability and broader security to the country.  Thus, it was necessary for Haitians themselves — particularly political adversaries — to roll up their sleeves and work together.  Such cooperation would make it easier for Haitians, home and abroad, to participate in building a better future for the country.

ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON (Pakistan) said until the earthquake, Haiti had made important strides towards stability and a better future.  The earthquake had not only erased those gains, but it had made it that much more difficult for the country to “emerge from the shadows”.  Rising from such devastation was no ordinary task and would be next to impossible for a fragile county like Haiti.  Against that backdrop, it was absolutely necessary for the Council to exercise patience and show solidarity with the Haitian people and Government.  Pakistan was proud to stand by the country as it embarked on a path towards long-term stability and recovery.

He said the report of the Secretary-General had highlighted some important improvements.  Indeed, the remarkable efforts of the National Police Force “can neither be denied nor denigrated”, but the country would need a strengthened and more just judicial system in the future.  The National Police must continue to work alongside MINUSTAH.  He said that Pakistan considered that allegations of misconduct and abuse by MINUSTAH staff must be taken with the utmost seriousness.  “The zero tolerance policy is also our policy,” he said.  As for humanitarian challenges and slow progress in reconstruction, he said the international community must work with the Government to build on what had been achieved.  The cholera epidemic had severely tested the country and the United Nations must do “whatever is necessary to make this situation right”.  He also warned against donor fatigue and called on political actors and institutions to do more to mend fissures and ease tensions.  Pakistan hoped the drawdown of MINUSTAH would be based not only on the will of the people, but on the situation on the ground.

PHILIP PARHAM (United Kingdom), speaking in his national capacity, said that MINUSTAH could not leave before security was ensured, but Haitians were becoming increasingly vocal in their calls for the Mission to leave, exacerbated by alleged abuses.  He urged a rigorous and transparent approach to those allegations to restore its credibility with the people.  MINUSTAH must prioritize the building of the Haitian national police, with clarity on that goal among all stakeholders.  With political instability the most likely cause of instability, MINUSTAH must work with all other actors on that issue in a coordinated manner.  Planning for further draw-downs must begin now, in order not to jeopardize hard-won security gains.

JEAN WESLEY CAZEAU (Haiti) concurred that there had been progress in his country, but also that such progress was mixed and precarious.  In that light, he thanked the international community for its continuing assistance.  His country wanted to emerge as quickly as possible from its status as a “threat to international peace and security”, saying that that phrase did not represent the real situation in Haiti and made the country less attractive to investors.  Recognizing the major handicap to stability and development caused by the political crises, including the recent resignation of the Prime Minister, he assured the Council that urgent work was being done, in accordance with national laws, on the ratification of the designated replacement. 

In other areas, he said it would be appropriate that efforts to strengthen the national police force be accelerated before the June drawdown of MINUSTAH.  He said that there was much concern in the country over the appearance of demobilized members of the Haitian armed forces, who had not returned to their homes despite the repeated calls by the President of the Republic, who wanted a peaceful, negotiated solution.  In regard to continued displacement, he affirmed the urgency of decently rehousing those still in camps, which was a Government priority, but required more resources.  He paid tribute to United Nations agencies and other organizations who were assisting in those areas, but were facing financial shortfalls.  He called on donors to help those organizations find the necessary resources, to maintain their “glimmer of hope in Haiti”.  Finally, he welcomed the commitment by troop-contributing countries to investigate and prosecute alleged abuses committed by MINUSTAH personnel.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) noted with satisfaction the measures announced by Haitian President Martelly to respond to the illegal occupation of facilities of the former Armed Forces by groups of individuals in military uniform.  He strongly encouraged sustained commitment in that matter.  Further consolidation of the Haitian National Police was essential to enable it to undertake security tasks currently undertaken by MINUSTAH’s troops.  The Council must asses the challenges ahead in terms of training and equipping the Haitian National Police, such as the risk of a resurgence in gang violence and specific security needs of vulnerable Haitians, particularly women and children.  Strong political commitment on the part of Government was needed to strengthen the Haitian National Police, thus ensuring Haiti’s ability to secure a stable environment.

During her visit to Haiti last month, Brazil’s President reiterated her solidarity with the Haitian Government and people to a long-term partnership based on mutual respect, she said.  In addition to bilateral cooperation projects in public health, food, security, nutrition and professional training, Brazil continued to lead multilateral efforts to build a hydroelectric plant in Haiti.  That project would generate jobs and give a large percentage of the Haitian population a valuable source of renewable energy.  Brazil had committed $40 million to build the plant.  She noted the progress in the past year to reduce the number of Haitians living in camps and to create new dynamism in some areas of Haitian business.  That progress had allowed for a partial drawdown of MINUSTAH’s military surge capabilities, with increased participation of police contingents and of the Haitian National Police in providing security.  She expressed hope that such political and institutional progress would continue.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, said the outlook regarding political stability and progress in reconstruction in Haiti had been made more difficult by the recent resignation of the Prime Minister.  The Haitian executive and legislative branches must, therefore, engage in constructive dialogue and work in a spirit of compromise, so that they could proceed expeditiously with the selection of a new Prime Minister.  In the coming months, Haiti’s Parliament would lose one third of its senators, while the country’s mayors were already working outside their four-year mandates.  As that was the case, he said the timely organization of legislative and municipal elections was essential for the effective functioning of Haiti’s democratic institutions and local administration.

He said that, when further reconfiguration of MINUSTAH’s mandate was considered, it would be important that that mission remained focused on its core mandated functions, namely supporting the political process and strengthening rule of law and security institutions.  The European Union would continue to work hand-in-hand with Haitian authorities to support the transition process, so that the country could take increasing responsibility for its stability, in particular building a strong and effective National Police Force.  He said that reported criticisms against MINUSTAH regarding allegations of misconduct remained a cause fore serious concern.  It would, therefore, be important that it maintained the highest standards of integrity and continued to respond with the appropriate investigations and disciplinary measures.  Finally, he called for the political stalemate to come to an end, and added:  “Haiti’s citizens cannot afford further political turmoil and instability.”

JUAN PABLO DE LAIGLESIA (Spain) said his delegation continued to follow with concern the new political crisis in Haiti, which it considered a source of instability and a major obstacle for reconstruction and long-term development.  He called for all political actors to cooperate to ease tensions, so the recovery efforts could get back on track and so that legislative and ministerial elections could take place as planned.  Politicians must set aside their differences in the interest of the people, he said, stressing that stakeholders must not lose sight of the overriding need to tackle poverty, especially since three-fourths of the population lived on less that $2 a day.

He went on to call for accelerating the current reform of the national police force.  Spain shared the concerns of both the Secretary-General and the Council regarding a reported slowdown in the police recruitment process.  At the current rate, it was not on pace to reach 16,000-strong capacity by 2016, as set out in the national police development plan.  As for MINUSTAH, Spain believed that the partial reduction of the post-earthquake surge currently under way should be completed in June, in line with relevant Council resolutions.  He also said that cases of misconduct should be dealt with according to the United Nations “zero tolerance” policy.  Spain was the third largest donor to Haiti and, in its ongoing effort to support that country, had recently set up a 50 million euro fund for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, recognized the achievements made since the last post-earthquake report, particularly the appointment of the leaders of the Supreme Court.  He expressed concern, however, over the political tensions noted in the report, and encouraged the representatives of the executive and legislative branches to work together, in a spirit of compromise, to meet the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people.  Political stability was essential to face the challenges of reconstruction.  He stressed the importance of completing the strengthening and reform of the National Police, acknowledging the vital role of MINUSTAH in that area and calling for the drawdown to be made in a smooth and orderly way.  On allegations of misconduct, he urged all involved to shoulder their responsibilities in prevention, investigation and prosecution of such cases. 

In his national capacity, he said that his country continued to take very serious a case of grave misconduct in Port Salut and the national justice system was in contact with Haitian authorities and was proceeding under due process.  Speaking for the Group again, he expressed concern over continued displacement, cholera and other problems, and underlined the importance of sustained international assistance and the fulfilment of pledges without delay.  Stability and development were interlinked, he affirmed, but he stressed that there could not be stability without democratic institutions being strengthened, particularly those involving the rule of law.  He affirmed MINUSTAH’s importance in that area, as well as related areas in human rights according to its mandate.  He, finally, reiterated the Group’s solidarity with the Haitian people and paid tribute to the men and women of MINUSTAH.

ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal) said that it was clear that significant progress had been made in Haiti thanks to cooperation between MINUSTAH and Haitian authorities.  Concerns remained, however, over the prolonged absence of a Government, as well as consensus on the way ahead in many areas of institution-building.  In the humanitarian areas, international support was still required.  Senegal’s solidarity with Haiti was shown by the significant police unit put at the disposition of MINUSTAH and the signature of an agreement of cooperation in professional training, which allowed the enrolment of Haitian students in Senegalese universities, as well as other initiatives.

GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said too many of the political elite were indifferent to the dire needs of the average Haitian.  Commending MINUSTAH’s vital contribution to maintaining security in Haiti, he urged Haiti’s political figures to fully assume their duties to ensure continuity of governance, sound management of public funds and enhanced rule of law.  He voiced great concern at the mobilization of armed groups, and hoped that the Government would prevent them from destabilizing the country.  The priority was the development of the Haitian National Police and implementation of all its operational components.  “We must not, on any account, distract ourselves from this objective,” he stressed.

Moreover, he said only a hard-fought battle to eliminate corruption and establish the rule of law would realize the value of efforts to attract foreign investment and repair Haiti’s negative image.  Trust could be built only on actions motivated by the public interest and based on democratic principles.  As such, Canada called on Haiti to fight corruption, including by providing support and independence to the Audit Commission and the Independent Experts Commission.  For its part, Canada had committed some $1 billion to Haiti between 2006 and 2012, and he believed reconstruction must be led by accountable political actors.  He had noted that the President had moved quickly to designate a successor to Prime Minister Conille, and he hoped an agreement could be reached expeditiously so that the work of the Government was not slowed further.

TSUNEO NISHIDA (Japan) said MINUSTAH personnel had shown continued dedication and commitment in support of stability and recovery in Haiti.  Such commitment had yielded concrete results.  Japan welcomed the Mission’s efforts to refocus its work to deal with the current situation on the ground.  He said that Haiti still faced many challenges, including the continued existence of camps for internally displaced persons, cholera and high unemployment.  It must also strengthen its rule of law institutions.  To ensure further success in the field of rehabilitation and reconstruction, he underscored that both home-grown efforts carried out by the Haitian authorities and international support were essential and must be implemented in a complementary manner.

Turning to security issues, he said that notwithstanding achievements in enhancing the capacity of the National Police Force, in order to achieve sustainable development, the Haitian Government must strengthen the rule of law.  In that regard, he stressed that the international community must coordinate its relevant activities with those of the Haitian authorities.  At the same time, the Government must deepen its commitment to bolstering the rule of law and relevant institutions.  He went on to express concern about political instability and urged relevant actors to cooperate with each other for the benefit of the wider Haitian society.  “Political interests must not dictate priorities,” he said, emphasizing that Japan expected that a new Haitian Prime Minister would be approved by Parliament in a timely manner and the new Government would be ready to take renewed steps to accelerate reconstruction as soon as possible.  He was also concerned by reports of mobilization of former members of the Haitian armed forces and encouraged the Government to take appropriate measures to address that issue and to investigate the sources of funding and support for the mobilization of such armed groups.

OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile) said the Special Representative’s comprehensive briefing had highlighted progress made in Haiti and the challenges that remained.  Chile would continue its medium- and long-term cooperation plan to assist the development of that country.  He was concerned that political tensions in Haiti would negatively impact efforts to develop and strengthen democratic institutions in Haiti.  The Special Representative and the wider international community must continue all efforts to ease tensions and bring all political parties and actors together, so that Haiti could continue to make progress in its recovery effort.

The security situation was also fragile, and MINUSTAH’s presence, therefore, continued to be important.  Chile was concerned by the recent emergence of irregular groups, which could seriously impact stability in the country.  It was absolutely essential to address the mobilization of such groups and move quickly to cut off their sources of financing and logistical support.  Turning to Haiti’s overall development, he hailed the importance of ensuring further support to “quick impact projects”, which were yielding concrete successes, especially in reconstruction of roads and other vital infrastructure.  Such projects needed continued support.  He urged swift and decisive action to address allegations of abuse and exploitation.  Such accusations must be dealt with in line with United Nations procedures and in cooperation with the concerned troop-contributing countries.

ENRIQUE ROMÁN-MOREY (Peru), noting his country’s active role in MINUSTAH and the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that the Mission’s efforts in maintaining support for institution-building remained critical, although the principle of national ownership and responsibility in that area was equally important.  In that light, he expressed deep concern over the political crisis and called upon Haitian stakeholders to quickly resolve it.  He also called for the forthcoming elections to be held on schedule in a credible way, with MINUSTAH’s assistance.  He trusted that soon the national police could fully perform its functions in an effective way.  He added that the presence of uniformed groups purporting to be part of the national army, reportedly armed, must be investigated thoroughly by the Government.  He noted that his country’s disarmament centre had much experience in dealing with the disposal of arms.  He called for long-term support to Haiti to strengthen the rule-of-law and reduce the capacity gap in areas critical to reconstruction and development.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.