Haiti’s ‘Steady Progress’ Justifies Recommendation to Extend Peacekeeping Mandate, Secretary-General’s Special Representative Tells Security Council
Haiti’s ‘Steady Progress’ Justifies Recommendation to Extend Peacekeeping Mandate, Secretary-General’s Special Representative Tells Security Council
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6842nd Meeting (AM)
Haiti’s ‘Steady Progress’ Justifies Recommendation to Extend Peacekeeping Mandate,
Secretary-General’s Special Representative Tells Security Council
Members Stress Need to Complete Electoral Body, Strengthen Police Capacity
Haiti’s progress was “obvious”, given its strong steps towards recovery in the political, social and security sectors, as well as signs that the country was poised to overcome the steep challenges ahead, the senior United Nations official there told the Security Council today.
Steady forward strides towards peace justified the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the Council extend the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for another year, said Mariano Fernandez, its head and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as the Council considered the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Mission.
“We are heading towards a final stage of the Mission at a foreseeable time,” he said in presenting to the report. Adjustments would be made with a view to reducing its presence and ensuring a restructured civilian component. While gains had been made in reducing the number of people living in camps for the internally displaced and addressing poverty and crime, Haiti remained fragile in certain areas, he said, citing the loss of crops and a recent drought. Those events had exacerbated hunger and poverty.
Commending the Government’s response to the food crisis, which took a long-term view and made it possible to reduce tragedies, he cautioned that without clear ever-forward advances in employment, health, housing, food security and other key areas, peace would remain elusive. “To continue making progress in Haiti, we must continue making efforts to build the rule of law,” he said. “Finding paths and facilitating dialogue among Haitians are essential factors to building a country that can stand on its own.”
Echoing a common sentiment among other members, Council President Harold Caballeros, speaking in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said his country strongly supported MINUSTAH and efforts to help Haiti rebuild and strengthen its institutions. Many speakers painted a clearer picture of what the path ahead should entail, with some urging the Government to take further steps to ensure fairness and transparency in the coming elections.
Pakistan’s representative said continued international support for Haiti was essential, cautioning against donor fatigue in areas such as the cholera epidemic. France’s representative hailed the achievements made to date, but cautioned that “rebuilding Haiti cannot depend on international aid alone”. Like other speakers, he strongly supported President Michel Martelly’s proposed aid-coordination mechanism, announced at a high-level meeting at United Nations Headquarters last week, which aimed to attract investors. Drawing down the Mission should not be seen as abandoning Haiti, he emphasized.
Some speakers also underscored the need to bolster efforts to build the capacity of the Haitian National Police force and respond to the cholera outbreak. Portugal’s representative outlined the interconnected nature of the quest ahead, saying that while it was clear that economic rebuilding would be impossible without security and good governance, it would be most difficult to ensure security without economic recovery. The United Kingdom’s representative said it was now more critical than ever before to work on the planning needed to ensure that hard-won security gains remained in place.
Haiti’s representative agreed, saying his country was doing all it could to rise to immediate and future challenges. Besides political and social gains, the Government was holding a meeting on the cholera epidemic and trying to tackle unemployment by creating 60,000 jobs in the tourism and industrial sectors, among others. “If progress has been insufficient, it is not due to a lack of political will, but due to a lack of means,” he said, emphasizing that sustainable development was only possible with the help of partners in the North and South.
Other speakers today included representatives of the United States, Morocco, India, Germany, Azerbaijan, China, Togo, Colombia, South Africa, Russian Federation, Brazil, Uruguay, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Mexico and Ecuador. Also delivering a statement was the head of the European Union delegation.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m.
The Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (document S/2012/678), which covers the activities of the Mission and developments in Haiti from 29 February 2012 until 31 August. In the report, the Secretary-General says that the gains of recent months show that Haiti’s leaders have 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. In that light, he recommends extending the mandate of the Mission, known as MINUSTAH, for an additional year, until 15 October 2013, while incorporating certain adjustments.
As part of the drawdown of the surge that had taken place to assist recovery following the 2010 earthquake, the Secretary-General’s adjustment plan foresees a narrowing of the Mission’s activities to a core set of mandated tasks that are achievable within a reasonable time frame — envisioned to be a period of between four and five years for planning purposes — aimed at “consolidating stabilization gains to a point beyond which the presence of a large peacekeeping operation will no longer be required”.
The adjustments recommended by the Secretary-General include reducing the Mission’s authorized military strength from 7,340 to 6,270 troops through a balanced withdrawal of 1,070 infantry and engineering personnel by June 2013. As the Mission further concentrates its efforts on national police mentoring and development, phases out operational policing activities by its individual police officers and rationalizes its police component structure, he recommends a reduction of the authorized police strength from 3,241 to 2,601 personnel by June 2013, which will be attained by the withdrawal of 400 individual officers by early 2013 and a reduction in the number of formed police units to 10 by June 2013.
He adds that the Mission would restructure its civilian components to reflect its reduced scope. As a first step, all support functions for its presence in the 10 departments would be concentrated into four regional hubs. It will also seek to strengthen programmatic ties and co-locate wherever possible with the country team, giving the latter the opportunity to further decentralize its presence throughout Haiti and to plan for the gradual drawdown of the peacekeeping operation. In addition, given the anticipated drop in donor funding for the United Nations country team programmes, the Mission will assist in the development of a resource mobilization strategy, he says.
During the reporting period, according to the report, achievements towards stability included the ratification by the Senate of a new Prime Minister and the publication of the corrected version of the constitutional amendments that had been pending since June 2011. The Secretary-General comments that the establishment of the Superior Council of the Judiciary represents a further stride in strengthening rule of law institutions, however the process to establish the country’s first Permanent Electoral Council has been mired in controversy, with some political parties represented in Parliament and civil society leaders questioning the integrity of the Council and its ability to organize credible elections.
The report also describes the incident of 17 April, when a group of members of the former armed forces and young recruits, some of whom were carrying small arms, assembled in front of Parliament to request an audience with legislators regarding the purported plan of the Haitian National Police to forcefully dislodge them from sites that they had illegally occupied throughout the country.
On 18 April, the President of Haiti, Michel Joseph Martelly, condemned the incident, calling for public order. In response to their demand for the reinstatement of the army and the disbursement of severance payments, he emphasized that, while the establishment of a second security force remained a priority, it could be done only with full respect for the law. The following day, at a meeting of the Superior Council of the Haitian National Police chaired by the caretaker Prime Minister, Garry Conille, it was agreed that the situation would be resolved through negotiation. The possible use of more robust measures was also explored, the report says.
As an auxiliary measure, on 6 May, MINUSTAH launched Operation Sunrise, intended to curtail the movement of people carrying illegal weapons. On 18 May, two days after the installation of the new Government, the police, supported by MINUSTAH, proceeded to vacate the 10 main occupied sites throughout the country. The operation was conducted without incidents or casualties. In June, the authorities brought to an end the group’s illegal activities.
MARIANO FERNANDEZ AMUNATEGUI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), presented the Secretary-General’s report, pointing to “obvious” progress in a number of areas, including political stabilization and the rule of law. Highlighting gains in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions, he cited the Government’s fight against extreme poverty, the establishment of the office of Ombudsman, and the appointment of women to the Cabinet as examples of its will to act in accordance with the amended Constitution. Measures to fight smuggling and create jobs were other actions that made it possible for Haiti’s social and economic future to continue on its positive path. However, there were some hurdles. For example, while the Constitution called for at least 30 per cent representation of women, that had not yet happened, he said, adding that a dialogue among all parties was being established to rectify the situation.
Turning to the security situation, he said that while political violence had disappeared and the numbers of kidnappings had dropped, lingering issues persisted. However, there were some more positive developments. An incident of former soldiers occupying public spaces, as the report mentioned, had been resolved and was no longer an issue of concern. The Government had been developing border police and other security forces, he said, cautioning, however, that any creation of armed forces should not be to the detriment of the developing Haitian National Police, which had appointed a new director in August, as well as a five-year plan that called for training 15,000 officers. The good news was that after several months, efforts to separate 79 officers with a background of crime and corruption had been successful, he said.
Regarding MINUSTAH, he said it had reduced its numbers and a reconfiguration plan would enable the Mission to conclude its tasks in Haiti. “We are heading towards a final stage of the Mission at a foreseeable time,” he added. On human rights and humanitarian affairs, he said the numbers of those living in camps for the internally displaced had been significantly reduced, although it was projected that they would still have 250,000 people by December. Haiti was still fragile, he said, pointing to the loss of crops and the drought that had exacerbated hunger. Haiti continued to face other challenges, including the cholera epidemic, he said, noting, however, that although there had not been a severe resurgence of the disease, efforts were being made to fight it more effectively.
He said prolonged or illegal detention was also being addressed, with MINUSTAH working with the justice ministry to put an end to the practice. To strengthen the rule of law, the Mission was financing community violence-reduction programmes and offering temporary jobs to at-risk youth, he said, adding that those projects had improved sanitation and addressed flood-damage prevention, among other things. Highway rehabilitation and the strengthening of infrastructure were among the other ongoing projects. “Peace missions have a moral value,” he said. The first priority was the reputation of the United Nations, and the Mission had zero tolerance for sexual violence. “To continue making progress in Haiti, we must continue making efforts to build the rule of law,” he said. “Finding paths and facilitating dialogue among Haitians are essential factors to building a country that can stand on its own.” However, without clear continued progress in employment, health, housing, food security and other key areas, peace would remain elusive, he warned.
Council President HAROLD CABALLEROS, speaking in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said his country’s troops had been in Haiti since the establishment of MINUSTAH, and that, having recently visited the Mission’s headquarters, he was pleased to refer to the Secretary-General’s report. Applauding the Constitution and the establishment of democratic and rule-of-law institutions, he expressed hope that the electoral process would soon resume. Guatemala was committed to Haiti and looked forward to plans for future progress, he said. On security, he said the level of police effectiveness would guide the pace of MINUSTAH’s drawdown. He welcomed the launch of the aid-coordination mechanism presented by Haitian authorities last week in New York and expressed his strong support for national reconstruction efforts, the strengthening of institutions and Haiti’s strategy for a better future of peace.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said it was imperative that Haiti’s leaders continue to put the country first, adding that her country looked forward to providing support for long-overdue elections, and welcoming the greater opportunities provided for women in governance as well as progress in reforming and strengthening the national police. Sustained support from the Government and the international community to ensure further progress in those areas was crucial.
The joint aid coordination mechanism could help ensure alignment with Government priorities and better aid coherence, she said. Noting that MINUSTAH had been central to Haiti’s recovery, stability and progress on human rights, she expressed support for extending its mandate for another year. Cautioning, however, that “reconfiguration is a delicate balancing act that we cannot afford to get wrong,” she said drawing down too quickly could undermine the gains achieved. The Mission must remain effective in achieving its mandate and adhere to the highest standards, ending any sexual abuse, she emphasized. Noting her country’s support for development in Haiti, including in the areas of health and housing, she said development was crucial to stability, and pledged that the United States would remain a steadfast friend, hoping that with the hard work of all stakeholders, Haiti would reach its full potential.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) welcomed Haiti’s “noteworthy strides forward” in the areas of rule of law, governance, elections, participation of women and the establishment of the Ombudsman. Welcoming also the Government’s handling of the incidents of April, he expressed concern, however, over the large numbers of people still living in temporary housing. Praising MINUSTAH’s accomplishments, he said the Mission should continue to support Government efforts while drawing down as conditions improved. Morocco supported the one-year mandate extension as well as the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a gradual drawdown. At the same time, the Government must uphold its commitments on rebuilding, governance and stability, he stressed, adding that international support remained crucial to enabling Haiti to rise to its people’s expectations. Morocco would continue its contributions to MINUSTAH and its commitment to Haiti, he pledged.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India), welcoming the progress of the past several months, expressed hope that all outstanding political issues would soon be settled while noting the continuing need for international support, particularly in the area of police reform. India hoped overdue elections would be held in a timely and fair manner, he said. However, it was concerned about the humanitarian situation, including the need for housing and the continuing cholera epidemic, he said, emphasizing that Haiti’s priorities must be further supported by the international community, following integrated planning instruments. MINUSTAH had been invaluable in ensuring stability and in reconstruction efforts, and it should begin to draw down on the basis of the evolving situation rather than according to a fixed timeline. Noting his country’s contributions in terms of manpower, resources and scholarships, among others, he said India remained committed to providing such support in hopes that it would help lead to sustainable peace, stability and development in Haiti.
PETER WITTIG (Germany), expressing concern over obstacles to the formation of the “indispensable” Permanent Electoral Council, stressed that preparations for the elections must be completed without further delay. Welcoming the Government’s continuing focus on strengthening the national police, he said MINUSTAH should not be in charge of long-term reconstruction efforts, but should reconfigure to focus on building Haitian police capacity. Germany supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a drawdown based on meeting benchmarks, he said, reaffirming his country’s commitment to the Mission as well as to Haiti and its people.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) commended Haiti’s achievements, including the inauguration of the new Government and constitutional amendments, but cautioned that redoubled efforts were needed to combat hunger and unemployment. Attracting investment and advancing democracy would be among the key factors in paving the way towards peaceful development, as would credible and long-overdue elections. Yet a high rate of criminality remained a matter of concern, he said, commending the Government’s actions to dislodge armed groups. On human rights, protecting vulnerable groups should remain the priority, he said, adding that Azerbaijan supported the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate.
TAHIR HUSSAIN ANDRABI (Pakistan) said Haiti’s brave and resilient people had made important strides, especially since the 2010 earthquake had profoundly reversed development trends. Yet important milestones included the formation of a new Government, which was among critical elements on the road to political stability and economic prosperity. Pakistan shared optimism that Haitian leaders now had the opportunity to make progress in rebuilding the nation and strengthening institutions, he said, emphasizing that they would benefit from continued assistance from the international community. MINUSTAH had already worked hard on security and human rights matters and should continue its efforts, he said. Haiti needed a strong security sector, and a strong police force was directly related to the Mission’s future drawdown. He cautioned against donor fatigue in the area of health, citing the ongoing cholera epidemic, and pledged his country’s continuing support for Haiti in its quest for stability and progress.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said undeniable progress had been made on a number of fronts, bolstering political stability among them, although crime remained an issue in Port-au-Prince and other areas. While efforts to reduce the number of internally displaced persons and clear earthquake debris had advanced, nearly 300,000 people living in camps for the internally displaced, as well as the cholera epidemic, remained grave concerns. Progress was also needed in the area of elections, where MINUSTAH’s support would help ensure fair and transparent results. Efforts to strengthen the Haitian police and the response to the cholera outbreak must also be bolstered. “Rebuilding Haiti could not depend on international aid alone,” he emphasized, while expressing support for President Martelly’s plan to attract investors. However, drawing down the Mission should not be seen as abandoning Haiti, he said, pledging support for the proposed five-year consolidation plan.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal) said it was clear that without security and good governance, economic rebuilding would be impossible. Without economic recovery, it would be most difficult to ensure security. While progress had been made, including the establishment of a new Government, there was a more urgent need to move further towards democracy, he said, encouraging the Government to continue along the path of transparency and the rule of law, and to guarantee fair elections. Humanitarian assistance and upholding human rights were areas of concern, he said, noting that large numbers of displaced persons required a response. As for security, police should be effective in combating crime and securing the country’s borders. Portugal supported extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for another year as well as the five-year consolidation plan, stressing that the priority must be protecting people’s lives and developing the Haitian police.
SUN XIAOBO (China), welcoming recent political progress in Haiti, said, however, that the country still faced colossal challenges that required continuing support from the international community. Stressing that stability was fundamental for development, he expressed hope that all political parties would work to consolidate the accomplishments achieved thus far. Efforts to tackle unemployment, rebuilding and governmental challenges were critical. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s reconfiguration plan for MINUSTAH, he stressed that the Mission should continue to carry out its work in accordance with its mandate.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) hailed recent political progress in Haiti, but expressed concern over delays in establishing the Permanent Electoral Council, and called on Haitian leaders to follow the path of consensus in overcoming such challenges. Turning to improvements in security, he called on the Government to continue bolstering national police capacity, combating gangs and building the rule of law through an appropriate legal framework that made human rights a priority, in particular regard to conditions of imprisonment and related areas. Concerned about the humanitarian situation of those in temporary housing, particularly as international personnel withdrew, he called on the international community to continue its assistance. Haiti continued to face major challenges in stability and development, all of which were tightly interlinked, so interventions must be made on many fronts in parallel, he said, urging sustained aid and redoubled efforts on the part of the Government and people. Togo fully supported the plan to restructure MINUSTAH’s activities, he said.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), also noting recent political progress in Haiti, said MINUSTAH had been an important part of it, and its presence was still needed for security and institutional strengthening, given that the national police were still not able to safeguard the entire country’s security, as stated in the report. Support in that area must be an important part of the Mission’s continuing, he said, adding that its engineers were still needed as well. Outlining his country’s security cooperation with Haiti, he said its programmes envisioned training hundreds of police. Developing the agriculture sector should also be a priority, and Colombia was helping Haiti increase coffee productivity, and with projects related to the recovery of neighbourhoods. Stressing the importance of coherence in international cooperation, combating cholera and organizing transparent elections, he said Colombia supported the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate, adding that the Mission’s presence remained critical.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) expressed concern over the obstacles to forming the Permanent Electoral Council, which should be completed as soon as possible. Praising the handling of the April incidents, he called for further strengthening of the Haitian police and rule-of-law institutions. Warning that difficult socio-economic conditions would remain a threat to stability and must be dealt with, he said that for that reason, South Africa supported all of MINUSTAH’s activities, including its engineering component, consistent with the notion of peacekeepers as early peacebuilders. On cholera, he urged the Government to improve its capacity to respond, supported by the international community. National ownership and leadership in all efforts was essential, he emphasized. Supporting the mandate extension, he stressed that the Mission drawdown should occur in conjunction with progress on the ground, adding that it was imperative that Haitians, with international support, work with MINUSTAH to overcome remaining challenges.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said that in the seven months since the Council had discussed MINUSTAH following a visit to Haiti, its successes included its security handover to the Haitian National Police in camps for internally displaced persons. While it was important that MINISTAH reduce its uniformed personnel, it should not leave until security was ensured. Now more than ever before, it was critical to work on the planning needed to ensure that hard-won security gains remained in place, he said. Building police capacity was the top priority for the Mission, and the national police must embrace international human rights standards, and zero tolerance for corruption, he emphasized. MINUSTAH should support the upcoming elections and hand over certain tasks to national actors, when possible. Underlining that it was essential that peacekeepers conform to the highest standards, he said the Mission had achieved some positive results and must now engage other actors to share the burden, and stop activities that others were better able to conduct.
NIKITA ZHUKOV ( Russian Federation) said that despite progress, the situation was difficult. The legitimacy of the constitutional amendments was not accepted by all Haitians, and the humanitarian situation had been exacerbated by social and economic instability. MINUSTAH played an important role, he said, adding that its drawdown should be undertaken carefully and with support from the Haitian Government, which must play a leading role in carrying out those critical tasks as bolstering police capacity, without which it would be difficult to establish security. Comprehensive aid to enhance State institutions should continue to ensure sustainable development, he said.
JEAN WESLEY CAZEAU ( Haiti) referred to the Secretary-General’s report in providing an update on recent developments and concerns in his country. Citing advances in the political arena, he said further actions would bring further progress. However, challenges remained, he said, pointing out that the cholera epidemic had left more than 7,440 people dead and many more infected. Overall, much remained to be done, he said. Citing the grave consequences of the 2010 earthquake, he noted that more than 400,000 people still lived in camps for the internally displaced.
For its own part, the Government was trying to make inroads in several areas, he said. To address unemployment, it aimed to create 60,000 jobs in the tourism and industrial sectors, among others. “If progress has been insufficient, it was not due to a lack of political will, but due to a lack of means,” he said, adding that the Government had made numerous efforts to respond to humanitarian demands. Haiti was pleased with the plan for reconfiguring MINISTAH, including the drawdown and handover of its military component. Sustainable development would only be possible with the help of partners in both the North and South, he added.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) noted that “real progress has been made” in the two years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake. For the first time, a democratically-elected Government from the opposition had succeeded another democratically-elected Government, while the performance of the Haitian National Police had improved and some key rule-of-law institutions had been established. “Persevering and putting the nation’s interest at the heart of all political action are crucial at this juncture,” she said, encouraging a timely, negotiated formation of the Permanent Electoral Council. Credible upcoming elections would also send a powerful signal that Haiti was on a firm course to stability, she said. MINUSTAH must have adequate tools to ensure stability during a carefully planned military drawdown, she said, noting that, in line with the Mission’s plan, Brazil was closely coordinating with others towards a partial withdrawal of one of its two battalions deployed in the post-earthquake surge. However, job creation and income generation were still much needed, and Brazil continued to rally behind the construction of the Artibonite 4C hydroelectric plant. “The Brazilian Army engineering corps has donated the construction project to the Haitian Government,” she said. “Its completion will generate jobs, provide cheaper and clean energy, and open avenues for further investment and cooperation.”
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, called on all relevant political actors to continue working cooperatively to consolidate democratic institutions and the rule of law, and towards meeting the Haitian people’s needs and aspirations. The relatively stable security situation had allowed MINUSTAH to continue to draw down the post-earthquake surge and adapt its configuration without undermining security and stability, he said, adding that the Group of Friends also took note of, and was interested in, closely following the development of a conditions-based consolidation plan for MINUSTAH. Emphasizing the critical role of the Haitian National Police in ensuring security and stability, he further stressed the importance of completing the ongoing strengthening, professionalization and reform of the force so that it could assume full responsibility for security.
He went on to express grave concern regarding allegations of serious misconduct by some MINSUSTAH personnel, which had negatively affected public support for the Mission and may be undermining its work. All United Nations personnel were expected to adhere to the highest standards of conduct, he emphasized, urging all actors involved to assume their responsibilities in order to prevent such cases from occurring, to investigate the allegations, and to hold those responsible accountable. While Haiti had made progress in reducing the number of internally displaced persons, it continued to face significant humanitarian challenges, particularly women and children exposed to the ongoing cholera epidemic, and to natural disasters. It was necessary to improve the criminal justice sector’s responses to complaints of rape and other serious crimes against children. Such challenges were a reminder of the importance of sustaining cooperation between the Government and the international community, he said, urging donors to fulfil their pledges without delay.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said his country’s objectives in its cooperation with Haiti included promoting the rule of law, economic opportunity and sustainable development initiatives, while tackling the underlying causes of continuing insecurity. Since 2006, Canada had provided Haiti with more than $1 billion in support, as well as substantial post-disaster humanitarian assistance to alleviate suffering and meet immediate needs. In fact, individual Canadians had donated some $220 million to relief efforts after the devastating 2010 earthquake, he said, noting that the Canadian Government had matched those donations. He recalled that in September, a Canadian trade mission to Haiti had generated much interest and enthusiasm among participating investors, a positive development since the private sector had an essential role in assisting Haiti’s continuing reconstruction efforts. Good governance being very important to investors, however, it was up to the Haitian Government to continue strengthening the rule of law and combating corruption. While commending efforts to adapt MINUSTAH’s mandate to reflect the changing security environment, he also stressed the need to equip Haiti’s own security institutions adequately so they could play an even greater role in standing up for the freedom and security of Haitians.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, called on the authorities to continue to make progress in the areas of human rights, administration, criminal justice, gender justice and protection of minors. Despite improvement in conditions, challenges remained in all areas, requiring international support. In that context, he welcomed the proposed aid-coordination mechanism, as well as the political progress of the past few months, saying he looked forward to the formation of the Permanent Electoral Council. Strengthening the national police was also crucial, he said, adding that plans for recruitment and training must therefore be strictly followed, and pledging his country’s continuing bilateral assistance in that regard. Chile trusted that MINUSTAH’s reconfiguration would take place gradually and correspond to changes in the field, including in the areas of security and development, which was integrally related to stability, he said, maintaining that the Mission’s peacebuilding activities were critical, as were its efforts to continue fighting the cholera epidemic and sexual abuse. Chile would continue to support its assistance and Haitian ownership of all efforts.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union delegation, encouraged the Haitian authorities to continue on the track of democratic reform, particularly in resolving questions related to the next elections, including full establishment of the Permanent Electoral Council. A stable political context and security climate remained preconditions for reconstruction and economic recovery. The European Union intended to continue its financial and technical support for improving national capacity in administration, protection of human rights and enhancing the democratic system. Despite progress in strengthening the national police and other areas, the presence of MINUSTAH was still fundamental to stability, he said.
Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the Mission’s gradual withdrawal as it reached stabilization benchmarks, he said that would, however, present a difficult but nevertheless realizable challenge if it were to occur in parallel with further reinforcement of the national police and improvement of State institutions. The European Union was currently considering further support for the Haitian police and border management, as it continued its support for the country’s long-term development, with 85 per cent of the €522 million pledged at the 2010 New York conference already disbursed. Welcoming measures to ensure the coherence of assistance, he pledged that MINUSTAH and Haiti could continue to count on the European Union’s support.
ENRIQUE ROMÁN-MOREY ( Peru) said his country had been actively contributing to MINUSTAH since 2004. The Mission’s reconfiguration should take place alongside changes in conditions on the ground, he said, noting that recent progress in terms of governance and the rule of law had been encouraging. However, he called on all stakeholders in Haiti to work together to complete the Permanent Electoral Council. The time had come to initiate a gradual, orderly transition for a new phase of United Nations cooperation with Haiti, including better coordination of MINUSTAH with the Organization’s agencies in the field, he said, welcoming the five-year plan for strengthening the Haitian police and warning that the Mission drawdown must not be premature, as that would risk endangering the gains achieved so far. Peru looked forward to the continued building of national institutions to promote the rule of law, good governance and development.
KAZUO KODAMA (Japan), noting Haiti’s remarkable progress since his country had pledged $100 million for emergency relief in 2010, said his Government would start the wind-up phase for the operations of Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force’s engineering unit, which had contributed to the country’s recovery through the removal of rubble, road repair, and construction of orphanage facilities, among other efforts. Many challenges remained, he said. Welcoming Haitian efforts to strengthen the rule of law and improve the security situation, he urged all relevant political actors to continue with dialogue and cooperation. Japan would continue to support Haiti, shifting from “fast-acting support to long-lasting contributions” like training in basic social services such as health, hygiene, and education, he pledged.
MATEO ESTREME ( Argentina) said his country firmly supported MINUSTAH, which had been a deciding factor in establishing security, and supported the extension of its mandate for one year. While recognizing Haiti’s political achievements, he said further efforts to develop institutional capacity would strengthen sustainable development. Progress and stabilization must be accompanied by growth, he said, adding that public sector institutions should therefore be strengthened to provide services even when the Mission was no longer in Haiti. The international community must pay particular attention to challenges, he said, emphasizing that strengthening the Government’s institutional capacity must be part of any drawdown strategy. The objective of United Nations efforts in Haiti was to ensure that such assistance would no longer be needed in the future.
FERNANDO ARIAS ( Spain) said his country was committed to Haiti’s rebuilding efforts following the 2010 earthquake. Among other things, Spain had provided funds for projects in the water, sanitation, education and food production sectors, as well as the fight against hunger. In the business sector, it was finalizing the implementation of a fund targeting small and medium-sized businesses. Spain had also participated in establishing the reconstruction fund and had supported the Haitian Government in taking charge of reconstruction management in the spirit of national ownership, he said, expressing hope that the Government would ensure the full establishment of the Permanent Electoral Council. The objective of strengthening the police force was for Haiti to take over responsibility for its own security, he said.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said conditions in Haiti would not have improved without the assistance of MINUSTAH. While welcoming progress in many areas of governance, security and development, she said international support was still required for the Haitian National Police, in terms of both coverage and training. It also remained necessary to help the country fight unemployment and poverty. The recently announced aid coordination mechanism would allow assistance to focus on areas prioritized by the Haitian Government. She expressed support for the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate and reconfiguration, as recommended by the Secretary-General, convinced that the men and women deployed in Haiti would continue to make valuable contributions to the country’s peace and prosperity.
JENNY LALAMA-FERNANDEZ ( Ecuador) affirmed her country’s commitment to Haiti, citing its contributions to MINUSTAH, not only of troops, but also in terms of training and assistance in agricultural development. She welcomed political progress in the country, but expressed concern over the delay in establishing the Permanent Electoral Council. Hopefully, inclusive dialogue would facilitate the holding of elections in a timely manner. As violent crime continued, the national police still needed strengthening, she stressed while expressing support for the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate.
Mr. FERNANDEZ, responding to comments made during the debate, expressed thanks to the Council President, the Secretary-General and today’s speakers for their support of MINUSTAH, noting that progress in Haiti had been made possible by the unified voices and actions of the international community.
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