United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the early afternoon of Monday, 14 July.
Upon his arrival, he laid a wreath at the memorial for the victims of the 2010 earthquake inside the logistics base of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.
The Secretary-General then travelled by helicopter to the village of Los Palmas, in Central Department. There, together with Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, he met with a family affected by cholera. He later said that he had had a moving meeting with the family and that he had come to Los Palmas to see for himself the effects of cholera and to express his deepest condolences to the Haitian people affected by the epidemic. (See Press Release SG/SM/16023.)
The Secretary-General also took part in a ceremony at the local church to express his solidarity. He said that this was a necessary pilgrimage for him. “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I want to assure you that the United Nations and its partners are strongly committed to ending the epidemic as quickly as possible. We are making progress, and we will continue to pursue with all our energy our goal of freeing the country from the disease,” he added. (See Press Release SG/SM/16021.)
The Secretary-General and Prime Minister Lamothe then launched the “Total Sanitation Campaign”, which aims to raise sanitation standards and improve health conditions. The Secretary-General said that the United Nations would assist the Government of Haiti in targeting an initial 20 communes covering 3 million people within the next five years. (See Press Release SG/SM/16022.)
Back in Port-au-Prince later that evening, the Secretary-General held discussions with Michel Martelly, the President of Haiti. Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said this was not the time for donor fatigue and that Haiti still needed the assistance of the international community. He also said that the holding of elections this year was essential and that the reconfiguration of MINUSTAH would be the subject of a strategic assessment.
That evening, the Secretary-General had dinner with key representatives of Haitian society.
The following day, Tuesday 15 July, the Secretary-General toured the Sports for Hope Centre with President Martelly and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach. He said that the Centre would benefit the young people of Haiti, as well as schools and communities. “Youth will have a place to acquire skills and self-confidence that will benefit themselves and their communities,” he noted. (See Press Release SG/SM/16027.)
Later, the Secretary-General met with the President of the National Assembly, Simon Dieuseul Desras, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Jacques Stevenson Thimoleon.
After attending a lunch hosted by the President of the International Olympic Committee, the Secretary-General briefly met with representatives of Haiti’s judicial institutions. He then addressed the country’s police academy and school. He told cadets and police officers that the Haitian National Police was at the centre of the international community’s expectations and that the United Nations would continue to be a partner in building a safer, more just, more prosperous country for all. (See Press Release SG/SM/16028.)
The Secretary-General then held a press conference. He said that through his encounters over the previous two days, he had a strong sense of the significant progress that Haiti has achieved in the last ten years, with the support of MINUSTAH — the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti — and in overcoming one of history’s most devastating earthquakes. He also called for the holding of inclusive legislative elections this year. Noting the gradual reduction of MINUSTAH’s footprint, he added that the entire United Nations family remained fully committed to working to promote their human rights, health and well-being in Haiti.
The Secretary-General and his wife departed Port-au-Prince that evening for Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.