Speakers Stress Need to Hold Long-delayed Elections as Senior Official Tells Security Council of ‘Critical Turning Point’ in Haiti
Speakers Stress Need to Hold Long-delayed Elections as Senior Official Tells Security Council of ‘Critical Turning Point’ in Haiti
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7024th Meeting* (AM)
Speakers Stress Need to Hold Long-delayed Elections as Senior Official
Tells Security Council of ‘Critical Turning Point’ in Haiti
Permanent Representative Says Government Wants State Founded on Rule of Law
Haiti is at a critical turning point, where it needs to hold credible elections this year as it prepares for a gradual drawdown of the United Nations peacekeeping operation in that country, the world body’s senior official there told the Security Council today.
In her briefing, Sandra Honoré, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), described the overall security situation in the country as having remained “relatively stable”, with a decrease in both civil unrest and major crimes.
On the political situation, she noted that continued delays in holding long-overdue senatorial, municipal and local elections was of increasing concern, and posed a series of risks to the stabilization process. Unless they were held before January 2014, Parliament “runs the risk of becoming inoperative”, she warned.
Regarding the Mission’s conditions-based consolidation plan, she said the military and police components had completed the mandated reduction of their personnel during the reporting period, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2070 (2012). MINUSTAH stood ready to proceed with further adjustments to its troop strength, as may be mandated by the Council in October, she added. The mandate expires on 15 October.
She went on to state that a joint Government-MINUSTAH working group had been established in April to monitor the gradual and orderly transfer of responsibilities to the Haitian authorities in four areas — police development, electoral capacity-building, rule of law and governance. It was important for the Government to work on multiple fronts to advance progress in those areas, she said, emphasizing that the gains in stability and security must be sustained in order for Haiti to succeed in forging economic partnerships, attracting foreign investment and fostering socioeconomic development, the cornerstone of enduring stability.
In the ensuing debate, Council members expressed support for extending the Mission’s mandate beyond October 2013 and for the conditions-based consolidation plan. The representative of the United States endorsed the Secretary-General’s proposal for the withdrawal of MINUSTAH’S military component, provided conditions on the ground were conducive, emphasizing that political stability was crucial.
Haiti’s delegate expressed his support for extending the Mission’s mandate for another year, noting that his country was at a decisive time in its history. The Government was focused on strengthening democratic institutions, re-establishing growth and finally committing to a path that would allow the economy to take off, he said, adding that it was also working to create a State founded upon the rule of law.
Uruguay’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, noted that significant humanitarian challenges remained, such as the cholera epidemic. The international community must help the Government prevent and treat the disease, while supporting efforts to improve the water and sanitation sector. He underlined the need for continuing efforts to strengthen, professionalize and reform the police force, calling for support for the 2012-2016 National Police Development Plan, and demanded zero tolerance for sexual misconduct by United Nations peacekeeping personnel.
Presiding over the debate was Agustín Rossi, Minister for Defence of Argentina, whose country holds the Council’s rotating presidency for August. Also participating were representatives of Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Australia, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, United Kingdom, Togo, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Guatemala, China, France, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Peru, Chile, Columbia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (on behalf of the Caribbean Community)and the European Union delegation.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 1:46 p.m.
The Security Council had it before the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (document S/2013/493).
SANDRA HONORÉ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), described the overall security situation in the country as having remained “relatively stable”, with a decrease in both civil unrest and major crimes. Statistics showed a downward trend in homicides, kidnappings and violent civil unrest during the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2012. Recently, however, there had been more politically motivated protests linking socioeconomic grievances with broader anti-Government messages, including dissatisfaction with the ongoing electoral stalemate, she said.
The performance of the Haitian National Police had improved as it increasingly assumed greater responsibility for internal security, particularly in the four of the 10 regions vacated by MINUSTAH’s military component, she said. Yet, the Mission’s military and police continued to play an important role in supporting the national police.
Regarding the political situation, she noted that continued delay in holding long-overdue partial senatorial, municipal and local elections posed risks to the stabilization process. President Michel Joseph Martelly’s long-awaited submission of the draft electoral law to Parliament yesterday was a most welcome development, but the protracted delays had generated scepticism concerning the likelihood of elections being held in 2013. Unless they were held before January 2014, Parliament “runs the risk of becoming inoperative”, she warned.
Citing the polarization and heightened mutual suspicion between the executive branch and Parliament, she said she had been engaging key actors on both sides of the political divide to promote dialogue towards a minimum agreement on the way forward, particularly concerning the elections. She added that she had also met regularly with members of the diplomatic corps, including those from troop-contributing countries, to ensure the continuity of Haiti’s institutions, most notably Parliament, beyond January 2014.
Regarding MINUSTAH’s conditions-based consolidation, she said its military and police components had completed the mandated reduction of their personnel during the reporting period, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2070 (2012). The Mission stood ready to proceed with further adjustments of its troop strength as may be mandated by the Council in October.
Turning to the cholera epidemic, she said it had caused the deaths of 8,173 people and infected more than 660,000 others as of 29 June. The relevant budget amounted to $443.7 million for the period 2013-2015, roughly 47 per cent of which had been pledged. The United Nations continued to eliminate transmission of the disease.
As for the benchmarks of the Mission’s consolidation plan, she said a joint Government-MINUSTAH working group had been established in April to monitor the gradual and orderly transfer of responsibilities to the Haitian authorities. It was important that the Government work on multiple fronts to advance progress, she said, adding that gains in stability and security must be sustained in order for Haiti to succeed in forging economic partnerships, attracting foreign investment and fostering socioeconomic development, the cornerstone of enduring stability. Regarding police development benchmarks, she noted that achieving the targets of the 2012-2016 Haitian National Police Development Plan would require the continued commitment of the Government and Member States to ensure that the appropriate funding was made available to support a professional, reliable and accountable police force.
Delays in establishing the Electoral Council and the lack of clarity on the electoral law had so far impaired the electoral body’s capacity to significantly advance preparations for the electoral process, she said. The Council had requested the inclusion of its operational costs in the 2013-2014 national budget and its Director General and councillors had started their electoral planning.
Concerning the rule of law, she said it was critical that the Government and its international partners continue to build institutional capacity. Without a strong inspectorate to vet judicial appointments, the Superior Council of the Judiciary would not able effectively to exercise judicial oversight, she cautioned. Regarding MINUSTAH’s governance benchmarks, she said the Mission had concentrated the efforts of its good offices on promoting dialogue among national stakeholders in order to overcome the electoral stalemate.
The strained relations between the executive and Parliament impeded the adoption of a consensual legislative agenda, another key governance indicator, she said. That, in turn, impeded progress on crucial legislative reforms, including action on the laws against money-laundering and the financing of political parties, and the revision of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. “ Haiti is at a crucial turning point,” she said, stressing again the need for a political consensus to hold elections and thereafter build a country that could once again stand on its own.
JEFFERY DELAURENTIS (United States) expressed support for the Secretary-General’s consolidation plan and his proposal for the withdrawal of military elements provided conditions on the ground were conducive, emphasizing that political stability was crucial. The creation of the Transitional Electoral Council was an important step forward, but the ongoing delay in holding municipal and senatorial elections was worrying. They must be held as soon as possible, and must be free, fair and inclusive, he stressed, urging political leaders to publish the new electoral law in full compliance with the Constitution. Sustaining security and stability gains by reinforcing police efforts was important, he said, encouraging MINUSTAH to support the Haitian National Police as a high priority and to keep its focus on meeting the recruitment goal of 15,000 officers by 2016, including women.
Better policing and strong rule of law were needed to reduce vulnerability to recruitment by gangs, he continued, voicing strong support for the Mission’s assistance to rule-of-law institutions and welcoming the working group created to identify justice sector priorities. The formation of an inter-ministerial human rights commission was another positive step, as was the promulgation of the law addressing discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender people. He stressed also that MINUSTAH must address sexual violence and deplored sexual exploitation by peacekeeping troops. The voluntary resettlement of displaced persons should also continue, he said, noting that the United States and other donors continued to support Government efforts to treat and prevent cholera.
TOFIG MUSAYEV ( Azerbaijan), while noting the country’s considerable progress since 2004, the generally stable security situation throughout the reporting period and the continuously improving performance of the Haitian National Police, commended the Government’s socioeconomic development efforts. Still, the democratic process remained vulnerable to setbacks, he cautioned, urging all political actors to engage in constructive dialogue to maintain the progress achieved thus far. Long-overdue elections must be held, with continued support from the United Nations, which must help launch the electoral process. Important efforts were needed to strengthen rule-of-law institutions, he said, adding that the protection of women, children and internally displaced persons should remain a priority. While noting the significant strides made in resettling those displaced by the 2010 earthquake, he said food shortages, structural weaknesses and other ills remained a concern, as did the ongoing cholera epidemic. MINUSTAH’s role in Haiti’s overall stability was vital, and its mandate should be renewed for another year, he said, underlining that proposed reduction in the Mission’s military strength should be based on the political and military situation on the ground.
OLIVIER MAES ( Luxembourg) said the holding of free, regular and credible elections as soon as possible must be a priority, and commended MINUSTAH’s efforts to aid the electoral process, including its support for broader participation by women. Emphasizing that the justice system lacked independence, as well as the need to end the climate of impunity, he said the court case against former President Jean-Claude Duvalier was an important test in that regard. Concerned about continuing sexual violence against children, and cases of child slavery, he called for more effective recruitment to ensure the Haitian National Police achieved its target of 15,000 officers by 2016, underscoring the importance, alongside that effort, of ensuring greater police professionalism. The humanitarian situation was of great concern, with 1.5 million people suffering grave food insecurity, he said, pledging his country’s active support for Haiti’s efforts to overcome cholera.
PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said it was critical to hold free, fair and inclusive elections as soon as possible, encouraging all political actors to build the consensus required, and MINUSTAH to continue providing electoral assistance. Haiti had assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for the first time, she noted, stressing that consistent efforts were needed to sustain political and socioeconomic progress. Welcoming the strengthening of the Haitian National Police and its close cooperation with MINUSTAH, she said those measures had reduced crime. Australia was concerned about sexual and gender-based, as well as homophobic violence, she said, urging the Government to continue working with MINUSTAH in crack down on it.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) welcomed efforts to develop the national police force, enhance electoral capacity, strengthen the rule of law and human rights protection, and improve governance, but expressed concern over the continued delay in holding the elections. Describing as a positive step yesterday’s submission of the new electoral law to Parliament, he called for accelerated efforts in that regard. Morocco was pleased to see efforts in the security sector “bearing fruit”, with the Haitian National Police taking greater responsibility and crime decreasing, including a 50 per cent drop in kidnapping, he said, pointing out that his country had invested strongly in Haiti during the reporting period. Hailing the Mission’s contribution to stabilization, he called on political actors to put the national interest above partisan interests.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) noted that Haiti’s past gains had been reversed by the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Sandy, but had made “an impressive turnaround”. A new Haiti was emerging, with important milestones reached, MINUSTAH’s consolidation plan on track and foreign investment creating jobs and leading to new economic partnerships. The construction of roads, schools and other infrastructure, as well as agricultural production, provided a much-needed boost to the economy. Despite positive developments, however, including the creation of the Transitional Electoral Council and improved police performance, remaining challenges, such as delays in holding elections could imperil Haiti, he warned, calling on the Mission and Haitian authorities to continue to work together. MINUSTAH was “a success story”, but there was a need for care in scaling it down by 2016. The drawdown and transfer of responsibility to the Haitian authorities must be gradual and orderly, he emphasized.
LAWRENCE MANZI ( Rwanda) commended the Government’s progress in the areas of security and reconstruction, in various socioeconomic sectors and in aligning global aid with national priorities, expressing hope that such efforts would lead to economic recovery. Hailing MINUSTAH’s support in strengthening legislative institutions, he called upon all relevant actors to unite around common development strategies and ensure coherence in implementing them. He encouraged Haiti’s partners to continue to support the Government’s action plan for national development, to engage in constructive dialogue and to support the holding of senatorial and municipal elections. That would help consolidate democracy and reconstruction efforts. On a possible drawdown of MINUSTAH, he said the process should depend on security and political conditions on the ground rather than a specific time frame. The global community should invest more in quick-impact agricultural and environmental protection projects, he said, adding that Rwanda stood ready to help Haiti professionalize its police force.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom), recognizing MINUSTAH’s important contribution to Haiti’s progress in assuming some core security responsibilities, called for greater progress in training and vetting police officers. While welcoming the Government’s building of partnerships and assumption of a role in regional forums, he said he was concerned by delays in crucial political and democratic processes which could delay institution-building. He called for agreement on holding elections this year, saying that would be important for building trust among the Haitian people, the international community and investors. The United Kingdom welcomed progress by the Haitian National Police towards its target of 15,000 active officers by 2016, but justice sector reform would be vital for the police to be effective, emphasized.
Turning to the positive results achieved by MINUSTAH’s engineering team in support of quick-impact projects, he said such tasks should now be handed over to the local private sector and others. While the Mission’s continued presence was necessary for now, the United Kingdom supported the consolidation plan, a balanced withdrawal of troops and the Secretary-General’s proposal to explore the option of a more focused transition team by 2015. Any significant change to MINUSTAH’s configuration should come with credible benchmarks, he said, stressing that the United Nations presence must adapt to changing circumstance and challenges, including further improving the security situation. In June, the United Kingdom had opened its first embassy in Port-au-Prince since 1966, he recalled, saying that was a sign of its support for Haiti.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) noted the difficulty in finding a solution to institutional issues in Haiti, particularly the two-year delay in holding elections, emphasizing that it was crucial they be held this year. Hopefully, yesterday’s submission of the electoral law to Parliament could break the ongoing stalemate. It was incontestable that the security sector had made progress, with violence clearly decreasing, he said, noting that the improvement had been made possible by MINUSTAH and Haitian authorities working together. Turning to the humanitarian situation, he noted significant progress in the relocation of displaced persons, with more than 34,000 resettled and 33 camps closed. However, the withdrawal of humanitarian actors could make the situation “capricious”, he cautioned.
PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) welcomed the positive developments in Haiti, including the advance of Government employment, education, environment, energy and rule-of-law programmes. The Russian delegation supported the Secretary-General’s proposal for the Mission’s gradual drawdown, but it must be done carefully, taking possible new risks into account, he emphasized. The Russian Federation was particularly concerned about political instability with the holding of elections still in question. He noted that the security situation was gradually improving and stressed that his Government supported a smaller MINSUTAH in the future, on condition that Haiti had a stable, viable and fully-staffed Government.
SUL KYUNG-HOON (Republic of Korea) said he was encouraged that the overall situation in Haiti had improved, noting that there had been important progress in building police capacity and that training had proceeded as planned. However, the Republic of Korea was deeply concerned over the ongoing political stalemate, including further delays in holding senatorial and municipal elections, which threatened to make the Senate dysfunctional. Such a setback could erode confidence in the political system and undermine the progress made thus far, he warned. Transparent, free and fair elections should be held as soon as possible, he stressed, expressing hope for early compromise among political leaders.
While hailing the creation of an inter-ministerial commission on human rights, he pointed out that the situation on the ground had not kept pace with expectations, and that violators often went unpunished. More than half of the violations committed against minors were crimes of sexual violence, he noted, underlining his strong support for MINUSTAH’s efforts to raise awareness of such issues. Recent developments, such as enhanced police capacity and improved security, called for the Mission’s reconfiguration in both nature and scope, he said, adding that he supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to reduce MINUSTAH’s uniformed strength by 15 per cent. However, the adjustment process should proceed prudently, in accordance with the situation on the ground, he said, adding that he supported extending the Mission’s mandate for another year.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said he was concerned that insufficient steps had been taken to hold elections, despite the Security Council having underscored the importance of doing so by the end of 2013. While maintaining the operational capacities of the Haitian National Police was the main yardstick for measuring MINUSTAH’s progress, positive steps must also be taken to strengthen the judicial system. The Mission’s next mandate renewal would offer a chance to analyse its priorities and critical tasks, he said, emphasizing that its evolution must be flexible and reflect realities on the ground. Noting that the number of security personnel deployed had remained stable since 2004, he stressed the need to maintain an adequate presence and eventually to withdraw in a responsible fashion.
Underlining the need to tackle instability at its root, he called upon the Government and the international community to combat extreme poverty. International support was now geared more towards fashioning institutional mechanisms to allow the provision of development assistance, he said, expressing his support for the coordination framework under the guidance of Haiti’s Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation. Guatemala was pleased with the designation of a new Special Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General responsible for such matters. Noting that 82 per cent of those displaced by the 2010 earthquake had returned to their neighbourhoods, he said humanitarian action plan for 2013 had received only 28 per cent of the necessary financing.
LIU JIEYI ( China) noted the good progress made in Haiti and the Government’s efforts to improve education, the rule of law and capacity-building. There had also been remarkable progress in reconstruction. But, Haiti still faced challenges in terms of the political process, economic development and the humanitarian situation, he noted. Maintaining the peace remained an arduous task, and Haiti must continue to consolidate democracy. China hoped all political parties would put the interests of the Haitian people first. They must further promote the democratic process and political reconciliation, he emphasized, calling also upon the international community to honour its aid pledges and engage constructively in managing the grave cholera situation. Calling on States to continue to provide resources and technical support, he commended the efforts of MINUSTAH to maintain peace and stability in Haiti, and welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to reconfigure the Mission and extend its mandate for a year. That would help maintain stability and advance the political process, he said.
BÉATRICE LE FRAPER HU HELLEN (France) emphasized that democracy thrived on free, inclusive and credible elections based on a clear and regular timetable. Regrettably, however, Haiti’s local and parliamentary elections had been postponed for too long, and it was essential that they be held quickly. Welcoming the strengthening of the Haitian National Police, he expressed concern about the difficulties threatening achievement of the National Police Development Plan, which provided for an increase in staff strength of 10,000 to 15,000 police officers by 2016.
He called on MINUSTAH to remain engaged in the collective effort to contribute to the maintenance of public order while ensuring national ownership of a professional police force, a major rule-of-law tool. In that regard, he said he was troubled by the persistent element that called the independence and functioning of Haitian justice into question. France supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to renew the mandate of MINUSTAH while pursing a reduction of its workforce by 15 per cent.
Council President AGUSTÍN ROSSI, speaking in his national capacity as Minister for Defence of Argentina, said his Government was committed to assisting Haiti on the basis of South-South cooperation. In more than 200 projects, Argentina’s central focus was to bolster the development of national capacity, the only way to ensure true sustainability. However, that did not mean that Argentina did not support urgent needs, he emphasized. Indeed, the Argentine Government supported Haiti’s school cafeteria programme in response to the specific needs expressed by national authorities. Argentina supported the renewal of MINSTAH’s mandate with a clear timeline and a forecast. The spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech of 50 years ago should guide the Mission in Haiti.
DENIS REGIS (Haiti), describing the Secretary-General’s report as balanced and detailed, expressed his support for its observations and recommendations, specifically on extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for another year. He thanked Council members for their moderation, reserve and sense of proportion in appreciating events in Haiti, which was at a decisive time in its history. The Government was focused on strengthening democratic institutions, re-establishing growth and finally committing to a path that would allow the economy to take off.
He recalled that, on 14 August, the President had invited the Transitional College of the Permanent Electoral Council to hold parliamentary elections no later than December 2013. Yesterday, the Minister for Justice and Public Safety had submitted the draft electoral law meant to govern the elections. In the past two years, indisputable and notable progress had been made, as underscored in the Secretary-General’s report and by political actors worldwide, he said, citing security, institutional, cultural and socioeconomic progress. Still, the tasks ahead were immense, he noted.
While Haiti was not in a situation of danger from the Council’s perspective, responsible partners must consider what would happen after MINUSTAH left, he emphasized. Voices within the country were calling the Mission’s presence into question, and all possible scenarios of disengagement must be considered so as to avoid history repeating itself. Historical ties between Haiti and the United Nations were now more relevant than ever, and the time had come to expand and redefine the cooperation between them in order to provide new impetus and the dynamism that would better enable both to meet the needs of the times.
He went on to reiterate the commitment of the Government of Haiti to working unceasingly with the United Nations to achieve global peace, security, development and the promotion and protection of political, economic, social, political and cultural rights. The Government was working to create a State founded upon the rule of law. Haiti had just set a new milestone in human dignity, he said, noting that, on 16 August, the Government had signed the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture. It would continue to support efforts to promote all aspects of human rights nationally, within the Council and in the United Nations as a whole, he stressed.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, pointed to progress on key Government development priorities, citing a decrease in civil unrest and major crime, as well as a significant reduction in the number of people still displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Significant humanitarian challenges remained, such as the cholera epidemic, he said. The international community must help the Government prevent and treat the disease, while supporting efforts to improve the water and sanitation sector.
Establishing the Transitional College of the Permanent Electoral Council had been a big step towards elections, but preparations for the elections were still hampered by significant delays, he said, citing obstacles to approval of the electoral law. The security situation was stable and MINUSTAH continued its drawdown without undermining stability. He underlined the need for ongoing efforts to strengthen, professionalize and reform the police force, calling for support for the 2012-2016 Haitian National Police Development Plan. He also demanded zero tolerance for sexual misconduct by United Nations peacekeeping personnel.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) said that Haiti showed positive indications of significant progress towards development with social justice, reiterating the need for investment in development projects, such as the Artibonite hydropower plant, towards which her country had provided $40 million. Development required democracy, she noted, calling on all political actors to engage in dialogue ahead of the electoral process to be conducted soon. Progress on security was central to the consolidation plan for MINUSTAH, she said, welcoming developments relating to the Haitian National Police.
She went on to emphasize that the national police force should absorb best practices and lessons from the Mission’s experiences. Troop levels should gradually decrease, and an assessment would be needed to determine whether MINUSTAH was the best configuration for the United Nations presence in Haiti after 2016. As the Mission’s military footprint decreased, development assistance should be scaled up, in line with Security Council resolution 2086 (2013). MINUSTAH had been marked by the application of innovative approaches, and it was to be hoped that its experiences and best practices, rather than financial considerations, would form the basis for evaluating future options.
JORGE MONTAÑO ( Mexico) said his country recognized the Government’s will to sustain progress on protecting vulnerable groups, reducing communal and sexual violence, and improving the situation of internally displaced persons, but was worried that the possible postponement of elections would exacerbate political tensions and thwart development gains. Mexico stood ready to support the electoral process, as well as priority legislative initiatives, and its electoral institutions were helping those of Haiti. On 4 July, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute and the Mexican Electoral Tribunal had signed a cooperation agreement with Haiti’s Permanent Electoral Council on voter registration, organization and logistics, voter education and electoral reform. In the last three years, Mexico had developed 29 cooperation projects with Haiti in agriculture, education, socioeconomic development, the environment, health care and democracy, amounting to some $27.2 million, he noted.
The United Nations presence in Haiti was needed to foster economic recovery as well as medium- and long-term humanitarian, food security, health and basic infrastructure projects, he said. Mexico supported the continuation of rapid-impact projects in food, education and agriculture vital to stabilizing the country and in which MINUSTAH and the United Nations country team were involved. For the transition to another kind of United Nations presence to be successful, a proper evaluation must be conducted on the basis of institutional factors and real conditions in the field, he stressed. Unpredictable events, such as natural disasters that could cause loss of life and damage infrastructure, must not be ignored. The Mission must continue to have a presence in Haiti and to help the Government consolidate gains and address persistent challenges, he said, adding that his delegation supported the proposal to extend its mandate for one year.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union delegation, agreed with the Secretary-General’s analysis of the political situation in Haiti, noting that there had been little cooperation between the Government and institutional entities. He also shared concerns about the delays in holding elections. Economic recovery required strong democratic institutions, he emphasized, pointing out that the European Union had contributed €4 million to a basket fund designed to organize the upcoming elections. It had dispensed an additional €2 million to strengthen the capacity of a future permanent electoral council. As for the humanitarian situation, he said it was worrying that many humanitarian organizations had left Haiti, although thousands still faced forced eviction and were unable to find housing. The European Union continued to provide support in that regard, he said, stressing the need to address poverty and maintain stability. The European Union supported progressive reconfiguration of MINUSTAH, taking into account the fragility of Haitian institutions.
KAZUYOSHI UMEMOTO ( Japan) recalled that, since the earthquake of 2010, more than 10 million cubic metres of debris — amounting to almost 80 per cent of the total — had been removed. The number of internally displaced persons had been reduced by 82 per cent, according to the Secretary-General’s report. In recognition of that shift, Japan had withdrawn its engineering unit from Haiti last December. Despite progress, however, Haiti continued to face many challenges. Delays in holding long-overdue elections and strained relations between the executive and legislative branches of Government risked thwarting progress in stabilization process, he cautioned, expressing concern that basic infrastructure remained fragile, especially after Hurricane Sandy, and unemployment remained high. In response to those important needs, the Japan Government would continue its support for the restoration or establishment of basic social services, he pledged.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada) detailed the various ways in which his country had provided assistance to Haiti, including by donating more than $1 billion since 2006 to development projects. Canada’s new Minister for International Development had chosen Haiti as the destination of his first official visit, demonstrating its commitment. Accountability, economic competitiveness and diversification were essential to reducing poverty and increasing revenues for the Government of Haiti, he said. In that context, he noted with great concern the fact that long-overdue elections prescribed by the national Constitution had still not taken place, despite repeated calls by Haitian political actors, as well as members of the Security Council. Another phase of political and institutional instability would undermine the development and security gains Haiti had made so far, and compromise further progress, he warned, urging all political actors to work together to ensure stability.
ENRIQUE ROMAN-MOREY ( Peru) said his Government had been committed to assisting Haiti since 2004 and had contributed troops, including women. It had also been part of many groups supporting Haiti, including the Group of Friends of Haiti. He urged all political actors to come together to hold the elections. Noting that the security situation was relatively stable, he pointed out that protests stemming from food insecurity and lack of basic services had occurred, adding that the United Nations could enhance cooperation with the Haitian authorities in that regard. Welcoming the consolidation plan, he emphasized that any future reduction of MINUSTAH must be determined only after a thorough analysis of its progress, also cautioning that the Mission’s major achievements should not lead to a false impression that its mandate had been accomplished. “It is not even close to accomplishing its objectives.”
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) reiterated his country’s commitment to stabilizing and strengthening Haiti, and welcomed the participation of more Latin America and Caribbean countries in contributing funds or troops to MINUSTAH. While Haiti had made progress in the security and humanitarian fields, major challenges remained. Despite institutional progress in some areas, including the creation of the inter-ministerial commission, more must be done, he emphasized. The consolidation plan for MINUSTAH must take needs in the field into account, with a focus on strengthening the rule of law, and improving the political situation.
He encouraged the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to continue working to enable the Haitian authorities to address political and social challenges. Elections must take place as soon as possible, he said, adding that the electoral law submitted yesterday must be approved and implemented. Chile would continue its bilateral cooperation with Haiti by training the latter’s police force, he said, calling on the international community to continue to support and fund those efforts. He expressed concern over the cholera outbreak and stressed the need to support the Secretary-General’s plan for eliminating it. He also called for the continuation of quick-impact projects.
NÉSTOR OSORIO ( Colombia) said Haiti could not retreat from its institution-building process, and expressed support for extending MINUSTAH’s mandate until October 2014, reducing its strength in the near future and gradually transferring its responsibilities, with a specific focus on strengthening stability and national institutions. The solutions to Haiti’s problems must come from Haitians themselves, with global partners supporting those solutions. Since September 2006, Colombia had contributed police personnel to MINUSTAH and was helping with community policing and the fight against organized crime.
With support from the Government of the United States, he continued, Colombia had trained some 100 Haitian officials to deal with extortion and kidnappings and to use canine teams in detecting illicit substances, among other areas. It had also trained 10 Haitian policewomen. MINUSTAH’s Police Commissioner and the Executive Director of the Haitian National Police were meeting with Colombia’s national police to learn best practices, he said. Colombia had entered into various bilateral cooperation agreements with Haiti in the areas of coffee production, solid waste management and food security among others.
FERNANDO ARIAS (Spain), associating himself with the European Union, expressed concern about the political stagnation and deadlock over the elections and called for an agreement to remedy the situation. He welcomed progress on security, attributing it to the efforts of MINUSTAH and the strengthening of the Haitian National Police. Spain was committed to Haiti’s current security model, but accepted that MINUSTAH should start seeking a gradual reconfiguration, including by gradually reducing troop numbers. Encouraging the Government to ratify United Nations human rights conventions, he expressed particular concern about the alarming rates of sexual and gender-based violence in Haiti.
RODNEY CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of CARICOM, said that Haiti’s stability and economic development were inextricably linked to the subregion’s wider development agenda. International assistance must be aligned with Haiti’s national priorities to ensure appropriate national ownership of programmes intended to benefit the Haitian people, he emphasized. Welcoming the reduction in civil unrest, as well as homicides and kidnappings, he said that was a positive sign of an emerging trend towards stability, and evidence of increasing acceptance of the judicial process. Hence, the National Police Development Plan required continued commitment by the Government, as well as Haiti’s partners in order to ensure that adequate resources were available to support its viability. Expressing grave concern about declining international aid to sustain rehabilitation work in Haiti, he said assistance remained vital, especially in the midst of hurricane season, and urged all parties to pay their outstanding contributions.
Ms. HONORÉ, Special Representative of the Secretary –General and Head of MINUSTAH, took the floor for a second time, and expressed gratitude for the support of Council members and all Haiti’s partners. She said she had noted their concerns, recommendations and timely advice to MINUSTAH on the critical aspects of its work in line with the 2013-2016 consolidation plan in the core areas of police development, electoral capacity-building and rule of law, as well as key governance issues, such as promotion of dialogue, political consensus and strengthening State institutions.
Benchmarks yet to be attained were vital for the creation of a framework associated with the goals outlined by President Martelly in the areas of education, employment, energy, the environment and the rule of law, she said, noting speakers’ comments on the challenges and systemic deficiencies confronting Haiti, and what the United Nations country team and MINUSTAH should provide in humanitarian, development and stabilization terms. She also noted the Council’s particular attention to the rights of women and children, saying MINUSTAH would continue to support all good-faith efforts in that direction.
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