Constitutional Order Restored in Haiti, Special Representative Tells Security Council, Calling for Gradual Drawdown of United Nations Mission

SC/12789
11 April 2017
7920th Meeting (AM)

Constitutional Order Restored in Haiti, Special Representative Tells Security Council, Calling for Gradual Drawdown of United Nations Mission

Country Representative Says Process Should Enable National Takeover of Its Duties

Building on political progress and a relatively stable security situation, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) should prepare to drawdown over the next six months and transition into a smaller peacekeeping operation focused on strengthening the rule of law, institutions and the national police force, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told the Security Council today.

Outlining the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2017/223), Sandra Honoré, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, briefed the Council on developments from October 2016.  Since then, she said, Haiti had made significant progress in consolidating democracy and maintaining security and stability with the inauguration of Jovenel Moïse as President on 7 February, marking the restoration of constitutional order.  Yet, in spite of those gains, pockets of fragility persisted and political challenges remained.

It was time, she said, to reshape the partnership among the international community, the United Nations and Haiti, with a view to monitoring concerns such as human rights issues and ensuring that progress made since MINUSTAH’s 2004 establishment endured.  With the Council’s support, a joint transition plan would guide the handover, underpinning the gradual transfer of tasks to the Government, the international presence and the United Nations country team, thereby paving the way for the closure of the peacekeeping chapter in Haiti.

She said a six-month extension to MINUSTAH, set to expire on 15 April, would encompass a drawdown and the creation of the new mission, which would unfold against a backdrop of a significantly improved political outlook.  It would also occur at a time when there was a crucial window of opportunity to address the root causes of the political crisis that had preceded the elections.

In the ensuing debate, delegates expressed broad support for downsizing current operations.  The new Haiti embodied the core principles of success, the representative of the United States, whose country holds the Council presidency for April, said in her national capacity.  Welcoming the recommendation to close MINUSTAH, she said the political context was right for the proposed new mission, which would foster further improvements and have a clear exit strategy from the beginning.  She looked forward to a smaller operation that should focus its efforts where they were needed most.  Peru’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the 10‑nation Group of Friends of Haiti, emphasized the importance of national ownership, inclusivity and the role of civil society in advancing peacebuilding.

Council members, including those from troop-contributing countries, echoed those sentiments, with Kazakhstan’s representative saying the revised mandate should cover a wide range of issues — from national security forces to border security, human and drug trafficking, disaster management and human rights monitoring.  France’s delegate expressed support for a new peacekeeping operation with a lighter footprint and a specific drawdown timetable.  Emphasizing that the Haiti National Police must remain a professional institution and the sole backbone of the national security system, he said the United Nations still had work to do in the country.

Other troop-contributing countries agreed.  Brazil’s representative, whose country had deployed some 30,000 soldiers to Haiti since 2004, said that, while military components were drawing down, development assistance should be scaled up.  “Very often, as troops depart, development and humanitarian actors and resources follow suit,” he said, stressing that the future United Nations presence should be based on the relationship linking security and development, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, sustaining peace and sound transitions.

Alongside social and economic challenges, many speakers expressed support for continued efforts to fight the cholera situation.  Bolivia’s delegate voiced concerns about the outbreak, pointing out that the disease had claimed 9,000 lives and affected 788,000 people.  Taking responsibility was not enough, he stressed, urging the international community to consider reparations.  Many, including Ethiopia’s representative, approved of the new United Nations approach to taking action.  Noting former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology for not having done enough to contain the spread of the disease, he pressed the international community to support Government efforts to address the suffering of the victims and to eliminate the disease.

Throughout the debate, many speakers emphasized the critical importance of a responsible, gradual MINUSTAH drawdown, with Argentina’s delegate noting he would have preferred a more staggered reduction of MINUSTAH’s police component.  Spain’s delegate added that success would depend on maintaining consultations with the Government.  The drawdown had an unusually tight deadline and was occurring at a sensitive time, he said, requesting further details.  The Russian Federation’s representative meanwhile warned against creating a security vacuum, and thus, repeating the drawdown consequences seen in 2000.

Haiti’s representative shared that concern, saying there was a clear overlap of views between the United Nations and the Government over the Mission’s disengagement.  Drawing down MINUSTAH’s military and civilian components should enable the Haitian institutions to assume the Mission’s previous responsibilities, he noted, emphasizing that the Government and the United Nations must agree on a withdrawal timetable that would not create security gaps.

He favoured extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for a final six months, as well as the creation of a new United Nations presence.  The President and Government attached great importance to relaunching mechanisms for humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.  As for cholera, the Government attached great value to the Secretary-General’s dual-tiered approach, and hoped strongly that resources would be found as soon as possible to implement the first and second stages of the action plan, which would require $400 million over two years.

During the meeting, speakers expressed condolences to the people and Government of Egypt following the 9 April terrorist attacks.

Also speaking were representatives of Uruguay, United Kingdom, Egypt, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Ukraine, Senegal, China, Colombia, Guatemala, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as the European Union.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 12:55 p.m.

Briefing

SANDRA HONORÉ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), said the political outlook for 2017 and beyond had improved significantly with the opening of a crucial window of opportunity to address the root causes of the political crisis that had preceded the elections.  Haiti had made significant progress in consolidating its democracy and in maintaining security and stability with the inauguration of Jovenel Moïse as President on 7 February, marking the restoration of constitutional order, she said, while pointing out that in spite of the relatively stable security situation, pockets of fragility persisted.

She went on to say that the performance of the Haitian National Police continued to improve.  Further development in management, oversight, geographic coverage and the police-to-population ratio would have to be included in the new five-year strategic plan to ensure the law enforcement agency’s sustainability.  She said that she had called upon the Government to continue to prioritize further professionalization of the force and provide it with the necessary financial and material resources.  However, political challenges remained, with limited progress being made in reforming the justice and human rights sectors, which were characterized by cases of prolonged pre-trial detention in inhumane conditions.

Calling on the Government to establish a human rights focal point and appoint an ombudsman, she said the outcome of the recent action to fill key Supreme Court vacancies was awaited as an important step towards restoring the judiciary.  Encouraged by calls by the President, as well as political, civil society and private sector leaders in support of a genuine dialogue on a concrete roadmap for progress in key areas, she said that drive must be fuelled by a desire to enhance delivery of State services and the confidence of citizens in democratic institutions.  With a view to ensuring the sustainability of the progress realized over the last 13 years, it was time to reshape the partnership among the international community, the United Nations and Haiti, she emphasized.

With that in mind, the Secretary-General had recommended closing MINUSTAH in six months and establishing a smaller peacekeeping operation with a concentrated focus on the rule of law and monitoring human rights, she continued.  With the Council’s support, the transition to a new mission would be guided by a joint transition plan that would underpin the gradual transfer of tasks to the Government, the international presence and the United Nations country team, thereby paving the way for the closure of the peacekeeping chapter in Haiti.  Underlining that Government leadership and joint ownership would be equally important during the transition, she called upon the President and Parliament to establish a reform programme to address urgent political and socioeconomic problems, among other challenges, and upon international partners to forge a renewed partnership, helping the authorities to implement reform.

Statements

NIKKI HALEY (United States), Council President for April, expressed condolences to Egypt following the recent terrorist attacks in that country.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said the new President’s inauguration on 7 February had signalled a return to constitutional order.  However, the country still faced many complex challenges and would undoubtedly require international assistance in order to undertake structural reforms and realize sustainable development.  Uruguay agreed with the recommendation to create a new mission that would help the Government strengthen institutions, the rule of law and the national police force, in addition to monitoring human rights, he said.  Turning to the cholera question, he welcomed the new approach taken by the United Nations and the references to the epidemic contained in the Secretary-General’s report.  Reiterating Uruguay’s solidarity with Haiti, he said his country would withdraw its troops from MINUSTAH on 15 April, feeling that they had achieved their mission.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the overall situation in Haiti remained stable despite tensions, public protests and disturbances during the elections, noting that the Haitian National Police had boosted their capabilities in preventing crime and managing public order.  But, challenges persisted in relation to professionalizing the force, as well as reforming the police and the justice sectors.  Recalling that several humanitarian crises had caused suffering for the Haitian people, he said they had been compounded by the outbreak of cholera.  Noting former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s apology for not having done enough to contain the spread of the disease, he said Ethiopia supported the Organization’s new approach to the epidemic.  In addition to addressing the suffering of the victims, the international community must support the efforts of the Government to eliminate the disease, he said, recognizing the role of regional and subregional organizations in stabilizing and rebuilding Haiti.

ALEXIS LAMEK (France), associating himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union delegation and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said it was time to take stock of MINUSTAH and move towards a leaner mission.  “Haiti is turning the corner after several months of uncertainty,” with solid and fully democratic institutions that could tackle the people’s daily challenges, he noted, adding that the country could rest assured of France’s support going forward.  The time had come to act on MINUSTAH’s success in stabilizing Haiti and to move towards a new type of United Nations presence.  Emphasizing that the Haiti National Police must remain a professional institution and the sole backbone of the national security system, he said the United Nations still had work to do in the country.  France supported a new peacekeeping operation with a lighter footprint and a specific drawdown timetable.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Haiti and encouraged support for all efforts to consolidate its stability and development.  The Security Council must continue to keep a close eye on developments on the ground, he said, adding that the Council would visit Haiti during Bolivia’s Council Presidency.  Emphasizing that it was incumbent upon all to combat poverty and injustice, he said they were the results of colonialism and neocolonialism, the consequences of which could still be felt.  While noting the Haitian people’s great capacity for resilience, he nevertheless expressed concern about the endemic cholera situation, pointing out that the disease had claimed 9,000 lives and affected 788,000 people.  Taking responsibility was not enough, he stressed, urging the international community to consider reparations.

PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) said that, despite progress and a return to constitutional order, more must be done to improve human rights and other areas.  Expressing concern about the persistence of cholera on the island, he urged States to continue to provide assistance.  As for the Mission, it was time to draw down.  A phased withdrawal over the next six months should include appropriate personnel and skilled leadership.  The successor mission must have a clear exit strategy at the start of its operations, he said, noting that a two-year exit strategy would be beneficial to Haitian authorities and their partners.  Indeed, the right tools and support was needed to let Haiti “stand on her own two feet”.

BARLYBAY SADYKOV (Kazakhstan) expressed support for the proposal to establish a new, integrated stabilization mission in Haiti focusing on political leadership and inclusive political mechanisms, as well as rule of law, criminal justice, institutional and human rights reforms.  However, the situation on the ground remained fragile and unpredictable and should be followed closely.  “Humanitarian assistance is critical for a country devastated by numerous natural disasters and a cholera epidemic,” he said, adding that such assistance could be especially needed as the United Nations elaborated the future role of its presence based on the findings of the Strategic Assessment Mission.  Stressing that the revised mandate should cover a wide range of issues — from national security forces to border security, human and drug trafficking, disaster management and human rights monitoring — he went on to point out that Kazakhstan was the only Central Asian country with observer status in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and had supported several high-priority projects in the region.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said Haiti was at a historical cross-road.  Despite progress, challenges existed at all levels, including economically and with regard to the political and security situation.  Moving forward, a new crisis must be prevented with the assistance of the international community.  Renewing the Mission’s mandate must consider efforts to foster the rule of law and the building of State institutions.  The United Nations presence must also ensure the provision of necessary capacities to halt the cholera outbreak.  In the next phase, a genuine partnership should include social, political and development elements with a view to responding to basic needs.

PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) welcomed the intentions of the new Government to shore up peace and order while solving the range of problems facing Haiti.  Efforts should focus on establishing long-term stability.  On international support, he noted details about the eventual drawdown of the military component, stressing that a security vacuum should be avoided so as not to repeat the drawdown consequences seen in 2000.  Mandates must be well defined, he said, expressing support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations for an extension and drawdown over the coming six months.  For its part, the Russian Federation was committed to providing assistance to rebuild and help Haiti within the purview of the Mission’s mandate.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) said the international community must continue to support Haiti in an effective, needs-based manner in close cooperation with Haitian institutions.  Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he said the goal was to ensure that Haiti could guarantee the security, well-being and fundamental rights of its people.  Emphasizing the need for responding in a structured manner, with development as the focus, he noted Italy’s contributions to Haiti through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as well as its participation in the Organization’s initiative on cholera and its victims.  Underscoring the importance of greater women’s participation at all levels, he said the international community remained essential in building police capacity.  The transition planned by the Secretary-General would be a balanced one, giving the Council calibrated tools to respond to the situation.  He reiterated his country’s support to ongoing efforts to support the Government in Haiti as it moved towards lasting peace and democracy.

CARL SKAU (Sweden) said that, since the establishment of the Mission, Haiti had faced numerous political, economic and environmental challenges.  The 2010 earthquake had been particularly devastating, but with the election of a new President and Parliament, Haitians had demonstrated their resilience and exercised their democratic right.  The time had now come for the Mission to evolve and address planning for a successor body, in particular by managing the hand-over to the United Nations country team.  Continued efforts would be needed to reduce social inequalities, with rule of law and human rights work planned, led and implemented by Haitian counterparts.  Meanwhile, the United Nations must continue to support national authorities, including the police, in order to strengthen capabilities.  Further, important work on gender mainstreaming and against sexual violence must not be lost in the transition process, he stressed, underscoring the need to maintain coordination and targeted budgeting for gender issues.

YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan), recalling that Japan had contributed some 2,200 self-defence personnel for post-earthquake reconstruction in Haiti, said the recent elections marked a milestone for that country’s strengthened democracy and its return to constitutional order.  “Now is the time for Haiti to build on this political progress to create more effective and accountable rule of law and justice institutions,” he stressed, noting that the justice sector, in particular, required further reform.  Voicing support for the recommendations of the Strategic Assessment Mission, he underlined the need for a clearer, highly focused mandate to consolidate the gains made.  While Haiti had made commendable progress in highly challenging conditions, “the road ahead is still long”, and Japan would continue to support the country’s development, including by improving basic social services, supporting post-disaster reconstruction and fighting cholera.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said the full restoration of democracy would help Haiti build one nation for one people.  Broader unity was indispensable in efforts to strengthen human rights and end impunity, he emphasized, adding that the return to constitutional order should enable Haiti to address, with international help, urgent needs aggravated by cholera and Hurricane Matthew.  He underlined the importance of strengthening national police capacity, while noting that the elections had passed with few incidents.  Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he said the time had come to end MINUSTAH and replace it with a reduced United Nations presence.  However, it would be important to move forward with a well-thought-out strategy in order to avoid repeating missteps of the past, he cautioned.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said the international community, the United Nations in particular, must continue to support Government efforts on good governance, democracy, strengthening State authority and improving living conditions in the midst of a difficult humanitarian situation.  The international community should manage the cholera epidemic appropriately, especially now that the United Nations had publicly acknowledged responsibility for its spread.  Senegal supported the Secretary-General’s approach to cholera, which should be undertaken in close cooperation with the Government, as well as the epidemic’s victims, he stressed.  He went on to voice support for the increasingly professional and effective Haiti National Police, while highlighting the continuing need for efforts to combat organized crime in the context of numerous murders, rapes, kidnappings and protests marked by violent outcomes.

LIU JIEYI (China) noted advances with the police force as well as overall gains since the new Government took office, expressing hope that a new path would promote efforts to eradicate poverty and foster development in Haiti.  The international community should provide additional funding, including to hurricane-affected areas.  China supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations and hoped MINUSTAH would withdraw in an orderly manner to ensure a smooth transition, he said.  It was also to be hoped that the international community would actively respond to the new approach by the United Nations to eradicating cholera in Haiti as soon as possible.

Ms. HALEY (United States), speaking in her national capacity, said MINUSTAH had provided effective assistance in a number of areas.  Welcoming the recommendation to close the Mission, she said that she looked forward to a smaller operation that should focus its efforts where they were needed most, including the rule-of-law and human rights spheres.  The new Haiti embodied the core principles of success, she said, adding that the political context was right for the proposed new mission, which would foster further improvements, and have a clear exit strategy from the beginning.  Going forward, the Government must focus on strengthening the judiciary and human rights institutions, she emphasized, pledging her country’s support in ensuring Haiti’s long-term security and economic growth.

DENIS REGIS (Haiti) described the Secretary-General’s report as objective, well-corroborated and balanced, saying it underlined the many obstacles Haiti faced on the path to human rights and the rule of law, including serious socioeconomic challenges.  However, there were harbingers of hope, he said, noting that the peaceful handover of power, and the election of a Parliament that brought together some of Haiti’s main political parties, provided a core of stability that the Government sought to consolidate.  Welcoming MINUSTAH’s role in building police capacity, he said the goal now was to create a safe and stable Haiti.  That would entail overcoming structural handicaps, he added.  The President, together with the Government and Parliament, had launched a programme of institutional reform that sought to address the most serious challenges in the transition from economic vulnerability to lasting growth, he said, adding that a programme of action to undertake economic, social, security, judicial and rule-of-law reforms had also been launched.

As for MINUSTAH’s future, he said there was a clear overlap of views between the United Nations and the Government over the Mission’s gradual and orderly disengagement after 13 years.  Drawing down MINUSTAH’s military and civilian components should enable the Haitian institutions concerned to assume the Mission’s previous responsibilities, he noted, emphasizing that the Government and the United Nations must, therefore, agree on a withdrawal timetable that would not create a security vacuum.  The Government supported extending MINUSTAH’s mandate for a final six months, as well as the creation of a new United Nations presence with a new name, he said.  While continuing to work in close cooperation with the Organization, the Government wanted a new expression of solidarity from the United Nations that would bring the entire international community on board, he said.

The President and Government of Haiti attached great importance to relaunching mechanisms for humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew, he said, pointing out that swathes of the population lived in poverty and distress, conditions aggravated by the effects of climate change.  As for cholera, the Government attached great value to the Secretary-General’s dual-tiered approach, and hoped strongly that resources would be found as soon as possible to implement the first and second stages of the action plan, which would require $400 million over two years.  “At this watershed moment, when a climate of security and stability would enable the Haitian people to see new horizons, the Government ardently hopes to be able to count on the continued support of all its partners in the framework of the new United Nations presence in Haiti,” he said, urging full international support for essential infrastructure reconstruction, steady growth, social progress and sustainable development.

CARLOS DUARTE (Brazil), expressing support for the gradual withdrawal of MINUSTAH’s military component, said development assistance should be scaled up at the same time.  “Very often, as troops depart, development and humanitarian actors and resources follow suit,” he noted, emphasizing that the future United Nations presence should be based on the relationship linking security and development, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, sustaining peace and sound transitions.  Indeed, the work of the United Nations in Haiti was not over, and many challenges still lay ahead, he emphasized.

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendation that a new peacekeeping mission be established following the possible termination of MINUSTAH by 15 October, he recalled that his country had deployed some 30,000 soldiers to Haiti over the last 13 years.  Much had been learned that could be incorporated into other peacekeeping missions, he said, underlining the importance of enhanced civilian-military coordination; community-approach strategies in confidence-building; innovative use of engineering units; and the important role of women in all facets of stabilization processes.

JUAN MANUEL GONZÁLEZ DE LINARES PALOU (Spain) said that a responsible and predictable Mission drawdown would depend on maintaining ongoing consultations with the Government.  While asking for further details about the timetable for MINUSTAH’s drawdown, he said it had an unusually tight deadline and was occurring at a sensitive time.  Spain encouraged the Secretary-General to maintain communications with the Haitian authorities in shaping the new mission, he said, emphasizing that it could only be sustainable with Government leadership, ownership and involvement.  Despite Haiti’s progress, it continued to need international support, he emphasized, pledging Spain’s assistance in advancing further gains.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said Haiti’s many gains must be protected in order to overcome current and future challenges.  The forthcoming transition from MINUSTAH must be conducted in a responsible manner with a view to ensuring that no security and institution gaps appeared, she said, adding that her country would continue to provide support in a range of areas, including the training of policewomen.  Emphasizing the need for progress on gender issues and the justice system, she said the problem of pre-trial detention must be addressed.  While many challenges remained, tools were readily available to help strengthen peace and realize sustainable development.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, noted that his country had participated since 1994 in all United Nations efforts to help put Haiti back on the path to development and stability.  Argentina welcomed the fact that the Secretary-General’s report and the draft resolution agreed by the Group of Friends provided for a new mission that would focus on helping the Government consolidate institutions while advancing social and economic development.  Although an Argentinian military hospital would leave Haiti in October, a civilian police contingent would remain and could be reinforced under the new mission, he said, adding that although Argentina would have preferred a more staggered reduction of MINUSTAH’s police component, it had confidence in the Secretariat’s approach and in the Government and people of Haiti.

JOANNE ADAMSON of the European Union delegation congratulated the people and leaders of Haiti who, despite major difficulties and systemic weaknesses, had brought their country back to constitutional order to face political, economic, social and environmental challenges.  Consensus-based and far-reaching electoral reform would be crucial to avoiding new crises and rebuilding confidence, she emphasized.  While the European Union regretted the mandate of the Independent Expert on Haiti would not be extended, it was important to ensure that new structures and mechanisms, put in place by the Government for the protection of human rights, built on the Independent Expert’s work, she said, emphasizing that the European Union was Haiti’s faithful partner, determined to support the country in a crucial phase, in concert with other partners.

The European Union’s response to the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew was a testament to its solidarity with the Haitian people, she continued, recalling that the bloc’s member States, as well as the European Commission had extended reconstruction and prevention assistance worth several tens of millions of euros.  Noting that MINUSTAH had played a key role in maintaining political stability and citizens’ security, she said any decisions going forward should be taken carefully, within the framework of a permanent dialogue with the Haitian authorities.  The security situation must also be monitored attentively, as demonstrated by the recent attack on former President Bertrand Aristide, which could have had grave consequences on public order and stability, she said.

OMAR CASTAÑEDA (Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, commended the Haitian authorities on holding credible and inclusive elections despite the impact of Hurricane Matthew.  He urged the Security Council to consider the situation in Haiti in a comprehensive manner, taking into account the humanitarian situation, including limited access to safe drinking water and the existence of cholera.  It was only fitting that the role and presence of the United Nations be geared towards ensuring a responsible transition based on MINUSTAH’s achievements and ensuring that the withdrawal of uniformed personnel did not create the impression of a security vacuum, he said.

MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) said the conclusion of the electoral cycle must now pave the way for lasting socioeconomic recovery that would benefit all Haitians.   The recent elections had presented an opportunity to facilitate the transition to a new United Nations mission.  A more compact, focused peace operation must play a key role in strengthening the capacities of the Haitian National Police, he said.  Highlighting the importance of democracy taking root, he said peace and security on the island nation was vital for all Haitians, particularly women, children and the most vulnerable.  The progress made, while undeniable, remained fragile and incomplete, he cautioned, emphasizing that it must be preserved and consolidated through an effective and responsible transition that would take the situation on the ground into consideration.  “The coming months will be decisive in the preparation and therefore in the success of this transition.”

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said quick-impact projects, such as community violence-reduction programmes, were among a range of efforts to stabilize security and the rule of law.  The 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 had seen new projects emerge.  The new mission would have a key role to play and must be established after a smooth MINUSTAH draw-down that avoided creating security gaps.  Yet, challenges existed, with the main problem being the cholera epidemic, he said, pledging Chile’s support for new United Nations efforts in that regard.  Calling on States to bolster assistance, he said the new mission must support efforts to combat the outbreak, including communicating with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for cholera.

JUAN JOSÉ GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico) said that given the progress that had been achieved, the new mission should focus on further strengthening institutions.  It must also have the capacity to examine the human rights situation and be unrolled cautiously and responsibly to ensure a smooth transition, avoiding the creation of security gaps.  The groundwork of sustainable peace must be built in Haiti, with international assistance aligning with efforts to create long-term goals.  The health situation must be strengthened, including efforts to address the cholera outbreak.  Infrastructure development must also be supported by building water and sanitation systems, schools and roads.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said broad support for peacebuilding in Haiti had resulted in improved stability and well-being.  Yet, serious challenges remained.  In Haiti’s new phase, it was imperative that no one was left behind in efforts geared towards sustainable development, including poverty eradication and building resilience to natural disasters.  The earthquake and cholera outbreak had wreaked havoc on the people of Haiti, stressing that special efforts must be made to eradicate cholera.  At a time when the MINUSTAH mandate was ending, the Council must examine the pre-eminence of a security-based mission.  Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he said a staggered, orderly military contingent withdrawal was necessary.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Peru, United States and Uruguay), said the peaceful completion of the electoral process and return to constitutional order in Haiti were major milestones towards stabilization.  Congratulating the new President and welcoming the new Government, he emphasized the importance of national ownership, inclusivity and the role that civil society could play in advancing peacebuilding.  Promotion of the rule of law through strengthening Haitian institutions was also important.  He reaffirmed MINUSTAH’s responsibility for promoting improved governance structures, transparency and judicial independence, as well as the promotion and protection of human rights.  In that regard, he encouraged the Government to make progress in the field of justice and human rights.

Welcoming General Assembly resolution 71/161 on the United Nations’ new approach to cholera in Haiti, he said the country team was responsible for its implementation.  Despite important progress, Haiti faced significant humanitarian challenges that would require effective and coordinated international development assistance, as well as increased Haitian institutional capacity to benefit from that aid.  Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendation that a new mission be established to help the Government consolidate gains, he said now was the time to start a responsible transition to a new phase of United Nations activities focused on strengthening rule of law institutions, prioritizing support and capacity-building for the national police force and engaging in human rights monitoring and reporting.

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