Briefing Security Council, Special Representative Calls upon Haiti Leadership to Restore, Strengthen Independence of Judiciary

SC/12914
18 July 2017
8005th Meeting (AM)

Briefing Security Council, Special Representative Calls upon Haiti Leadership to Restore, Strengthen Independence of Judiciary

With the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) making way for a new peacekeeping operation focusing on justice support, the onus lied on Haitians themselves to shape their future going forward, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the country said today.

On the heels of the Secretary-General’s latest report on MINUSTAH (document S/2017/604), Sandra Honoré, Special Representative and Head of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, briefed the Security Council on the latest developments in the country.  She said that, less than three months before MINUSTAH gave way to the new United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), the country remained on the path to stabilization and democratic consolidation.  She added, however, more needed to be done to consolidate the security and stabilization gains of recent years, create greater social and political cohesion and truly reinforce State institutions.

In that vein, she called on Haiti’s executive branch and legislature to restore, without delay, the country’s judiciary and to bolster its independence.  It was troubling that a third branch of power was not yet fully functioning, she said, emphasizing that a lack of tangible progress on the rule of law was impacting on people’s lives, their human rights, investment and economic growth.

She said that, without a properly functioning justice system, the Haitian National Police could not ensure security for all citizens.  “As the National Police grows in strength and performance, all efforts must aim to create the necessary framework for the effective delivery of justice and the rule of law,” she told the Council, adding that resolute implementation of reforms and plans for inclusive dialogue were all the more important to sustainably consolidate the gains made so far and to pave the way for the transition to MINUJUSTH.

“Ultimately, Haiti’s security, political, social and development agenda can only be shaped by the national authorities and the Haitian people themselves,” she said, adding that much-needed donor support could help national-led efforts where needed and desired.  Emphasizing that MINUSTAH’s drawdown and transition to the new Mission had been designed to ensure an orderly transfer of security tasks to State institutions, she said the international community’s partnership with Haiti and support for its reform agenda would be critical going forward.

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report as objective and balanced, Haiti’s representative said his country was making process to build the rule of law and to anchor democracy.  His Government had taken note of the report’s criticisms regarding limited progress in the administration of justice, shortcomings in the correctional system and human rights concerns, he said.

Emphasizing that Haiti’s cholera epidemic was far from being eradicated, he appealed for a prompt and sustained resumption of development assistance that would help lead to sustained growth.  On MINUSTAH, he welcomed the orderly withdrawal of its military component, adding that lessons drawn over the past 13 years would be harnessed wisely for the benefit of the incoming Mission.

During an open debate, Council members and other delegations welcomed recent developments in Haiti, encouraged the Government to do more to strengthen human rights and the rule of law and called for the international community to extend more support for the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

The representative of Uruguay expressed concern over the island nation’s socioeconomic situation, emphasizing that many Haitians were living amid severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition.  That the Haitian authorities were even thinking about reconstituting the armed forces was a serious concern, he added, emphasizing that such an effort would divert resources away from areas that needed urgent attention.

The representative of Bolivia expressed support for the President of Haiti’s proposal that the new Mission would be classified under Chapter VI of the Charter, as there was no threat to peace and security in Haiti.  Recalling the Council’s June visit to Haiti, he said MINUJUSTH faced a raft of strategic goals to be completed within two years, and he raised concern that it might be unable to fulfil those objectives in such a short time.  Commending MINUSTAH for its self‑assessment, he said it must now tackle outstanding issues related to cholera and sexual exploitation and abuse.  He advocated support for the Secretary-General’s new approach to cholera, noting that, without attention to health, education and sanitation, Haiti’s path to sustainable development would be long and rocky.

The representative of Japan was among several speakers who underscored their countries’ troop and police contribution to MINUSTAH over the years.  He expressed hope that MINUJUSTH would strengthen police and justice institutions, citing the challenges of the Haitian National Police’s ability to respond to large-scale violence, border controls, the need for police stations and rule of law issues.  He also highlighted Japan’s $9 million contribution to combat cholera, through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations.

The representative of the United States noted that the core of the new Mission would focus on the rule of law, police development and human rights.  She also urged that more attention be given to Haiti’s economic situation and challenges related to humanitarian and disaster preparedness.  The United States had been among Haiti’s strongest international partners for more than 30 years, she said, and it would continue to support the country.

Peru’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions, and embedding a culture to improve socioeconomic conditions, were all essential to security and prosperity in the country.  He underscored the principle of national ownership and inclusion, and reiterated the importance of the Government’s commitment to the rule of law, justice and security.  He also welcomed the reform of the Haitian National Police and adoption of the strategic development plan.  He noted, however, limited progress in improving judicial institutions and the administration of justice, and urged the Government to take actions related to justice and human rights.

The Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico said the strengthening of rule of law and national institutions were signs of a new era for Haiti in shouldering its responsibilities for the future.  “The United Nations is not leaving Haiti.  Rather, our presence is evolving,” he said, emphasizing that the Organization must support Haiti in shaping its development path and ensuring its people enjoyed the fruits of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Also speaking were representatives of the Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Sweden, Senegal, Italy, China, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Chile, as well as the European Union.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m., was suspended from 11:03 a.m. to 11:49 a.m., and ended at 1:20 p.m.

Briefing

SANDRA HONORÉ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), said that, less than three months before its closure and transition to the Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), the country had remained on the path to stabilization and democratic consolidation.  However, for the country to make full use of the post‑electoral window of opportunity, more measures would be needed to consolidate the security and stabilization gains of the past few years, create greater social and political cohesion and truly reinforce State institutions.  In that regard, she said she was encouraged by the President’s campaign pledge to launch a broad‑based national dialogue that would force a common vision for progress and set out an institutional reform agenda.

She reiterated her call on Haiti’s executive branch and legislature to restore, without delay, the judiciary and to bolster its independence, saying it was troubling that that a third branch of power was not yet fully functioning.  The lack of tangible progress on the rule of law had a negative impact on people’s lives, their human rights, investment and economic growth, she said, repeating her plea for resolute action to modernize Haiti’s penal system through the adoption of a criminal code and code of criminal procedure, both of which were currently before Parliament.

Without a properly functioning justice system, the Haitian National Police could not ensure security for all citizens, and investment in that force would not develop their full potential.  “As the National Police grows in strength and performance, all efforts must aim to create the necessary framework for the effective delivery of justice and the rule of law,” she said.  That included the State’s responsibility to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and the police, as well as the Government giving priority to the development and professionalization of that force.  While the security situation remained relatively stable, including in areas where MINUSTAH troops would soon withdraw, resolute implementation of reforms and plans for inclusive dialogue were all the more important to sustainably consolidate the gains made so far and to pave the way for the transition to the new Mission.

“Ultimately, Haiti’s security, political, social and development agenda can only be shaped by the national authorities and the Haitian people themselves,” she said, adding that much-needed donor support could help national-led efforts where needed and desired.  In that regard, she commended the Government for setting a development agenda and reinvigorating the aid coordination architecture.  Such leadership would be indispensable for turning vision into action and to align donor support behind articulated strategies.  Emphasizing MINUSTAH’s drawdown and transition to MINUJUSTH had been designed to ensure an orderly transfer of security tasks to State institutions, she said a joint United Nations country team-MINUSTAH transition plan was near completion, identifying residual stabilization needs and priority areas for ongoing engagement by the Organization and donor community.  Going forward, she said, the international community’s partnership with Haiti and support for its reform agenda would be critical.  All partners were called upon to optimize their support for the Haitian authorities and people to fully seize the opportunity they themselves had created.

Statements

MICHELE SISON (United States), noting that Haiti had made strides towards democracy and stability, underscored the need for a smooth transition from MINUSTAH to the new Mission.  Indeed, half of the military component had withdrawn without incident and there had been a reported decrease in criminality, and she commended the transfer of tasks from MINUSTAH to the Government and the United Nations country team.  The core of the new Mission would focus on the rule of law, police development and human rights.  Stressing that the justice system required reform, with a critical focus on the rule of law, she urged that more attention be given to Haiti’s economic situation and challenges related to humanitarian and disaster preparedness.  The United States had been among Haiti’s strongest international partners for more than 30 years and would continue to support that country’s overall security, development and economic growth.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said the Council’s timely visit to Haiti had allowed for witnessing achievements first hand, and demonstrating both solidarity and support to the Government and people.  Welcoming recent progress, notably the completion of the first 100 days of the new Administration and the joint legislative agenda, which comprised 51 draft laws to improve the business climate, among other things, he said the police development plan was promising and would require adequate resources from the international community.  Haiti had yet to overcome challenges to strengthening democracy and political institutions, promoting human rights and encouraging business investment.  The Government must work to ensure adequate security arrangements were being put in place, especially in areas where MINUSTAH troops were withdrawing.  On public health issues, he welcomed that intensified response measures had resulted in a decline in suspected cholera cases.  The task was to prepare the ground for judicial and criminal justice reform with a view to protecting human rights.  In those efforts, the United Nations country team would need to assume responsibility for building peace.

PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) recalled the Council’s endorsement of resolution 2350 (2017) and emphasis on the need for a smooth transition from MINUSTAH to the new Mission.  The Secretary-General’s report cited the passage of the Government’s first 100 days and establishment of the strategic development plan for the National Police as signs of progress, however its analysis of criminality, and the number of “Blue Helmet” operations, called for a steadfast focus on security issues.  Planned reforms must not create a security vacuum, he said, and the troop drawdowns must be done in a cautious manner, with the Government in a position to guarantee stability.  On the transition to the new Mission, the Council had advocated the need for explicit and obtainable mandates.  Noting that operative paragraph 16 of resolution 2350 (2017) recognized the primary ownership and responsibility of the Government and people of Haiti, he said wording around the work of the future Mission was “somewhat vague”, possibly suggesting it had independent functions and priorities that the Government must support.  The Russian Federation would closely monitor that issue, as well as the human rights situation, he said, stressing that effective United Nations support would be possible only with trust-based cooperation with the host country.

STEPHEN HICKEY (United Kingdom) said a smooth and seamless transition would signal that the United Nations relationship with Haiti had changed but its commitment had not.  The new Mission’s focus on police, rule of law and human rights would help Haiti address its huge challenges independently.  Three conditions were required for the new Mission to succeed.  First, it must have tools that were fit for purpose and matched to Haiti’s needs.  Joint analysis and planning between the new Mission and the United Nations country team would ensure it was best placed to effect justice reform.  Next, the Government must proactively take on new responsibilities, notably by providing Haiti’s police with equipment and salaries, and not squandering such resources elsewhere.  Such work also meant investment in the justice system, making critical appointments to the Supreme Court and doing more to tackle gender-based violence.  It also required that the priorities of Haiti’s politicians aligned with those of its citizens.  Stressing that the new Mission must win back the trust of Haitians, he welcomed that cholera infection rates had dropped, but emphasized that sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers had left deep scars across the country.  “We cannot allow this to happen again,” he said, stressing that the Council had agreed to a clear framework through resolution 2272 (2016) that would not allow backsliding on those commitments.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said all political stakeholders should focus on ensuring stability and security as crucial elements in democratic consolidation.  Unity was required in order to bolster national human rights institutions, as well as combat criminality and sexual and gender-based violence, and end impunity.  During its visit, the Council had seen that the security situation, while improved, remained fragile, and it was important to ensure a well-prepared continuity of the United Nations presence so that past mistakes were not repeated.  In that context, he underscored the need for continued efforts by the international community, multilateral agencies, regional partners and individual States in supporting long-term security and development in Haiti, recognizing that the country faced significant challenges that affected efforts to combat cholera.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), associating himself with the statement to be given by Peru on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, expressed concern over the island nation’s socioeconomic situation, emphasizing that many Haitians were living amid severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition.  That the Haitian authorities were even thinking about reconstituting the armed forces was a serious concern, he added.  Such an effort would divert resources away from areas that needed urgent attention.  He went on to call on the Government to establish a ministry for human rights.  Noting his country’s troop contribution to MINUSTAH, he said the new Mission would only succeed if it enjoyed the full support of the Haitian authorities.

IHAB AWAD (Egypt) said the new Mission’s mandate must be limited to building the rule of law and the Haitian National Police in line with needs and priorities set by the Government.  Special importance must be attached to the cholera outbreak, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations bore a moral and legal responsibility to support the Haitian authorities fighting the outbreak.  The capacities of the United Nations country team must meanwhile be promoted in order to assist Haiti in such areas as infrastructure, vocational training, health services and investment in agriculture and tourism that would create jobs for young people while empowering women.  He added that accusations of sexual abuse involving MINUSTAH must be dealt with firmly and seriously.

YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) said his country was proud to have deployed 2,200 Self-Defense Forces personnel to MINUSTAH after the 2010 earthquake.  The Council’s visit enabled it to demonstrate the United Nations support to Haitians and encourage the country’s efforts to consolidate national unity.  Japan looked forward to the responsible transfer of tasks from MINUSTAH to the new Mission, along with a greatly expanded role for the United Nations country team.  He expressed hope that MINUJUSTH would strengthen police and justice institutions, citing the challenges of the National Police Force’s ability to respond to large‑scale violence, border controls, the need for police stations and rule of law issues.  He went on to highlight Japan’s $9 million contribution to combat cholera, through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations since 2010, noting that his country was prepared to continue such support, especially through preventive measures, such as poverty reduction.  Japan would also continue to support post-disaster reconstruction in Haiti.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said that, while Haiti remained relatively stable, it needed long-term support to address its vulnerability and economic fragility.  Sustained engagement by all bilateral and internal partners would thus be critical, he said, describing the Council’s June visit to Haiti as a demonstration of the Organization’s ongoing commitment.  While a reduction in the number of suspected cholera deaths was encouraging, limited resources for funding the response to the outbreak was a matter of concern.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), associating himself with the statements to be given by the European Union and the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that, 13 years after MINUSTAH’s establishment, it was high time to transition to a new form of United Nations presence, one that would be better tailored to the needs on the ground.  Emphasizing the Mission’s role in helping to lift Haiti out of a state of emergency, he said a stronger national police force would guarantee stability.  The human rights situation remained a source of concern, he said, emphasizing that it must be subject to close and attentive follow-up.  The engagement of the Haitian authorities would be critical for success, he said, adding that the country team and new Mission would have a key role in helping Haiti shift into a sustainable development mindset.

JOAKIM VAVERKA (Sweden) said the restoration of constitutional order and formation of the Government was a milestone that had opened an opportunity for Haiti’s future.  Judicial reform, improved access to justice and penal reform would be crucial for Haiti’s development, efforts that would create better conditions for private investment.  Strengthening the rule of law, respect for human rights and enhancing the Haitian National Police must remain top priorities, and the country’s authorities must work together with political parties, civil society and the private sector to deliver necessary reforms.  MINUSTAH’s institutional memory and resources must be used strategically, and it was essential that a strategic focus, coordination and budget for gender issues be maintained.  Haiti’s partnership with bilateral donors and the United Nations must evolve, and it was essential that the Organization delivered as one in its support to national efforts.  Adequate planning for the successor mission was critical and planning should take place in the spirit of the sustaining peace agenda.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said the Council, during its June visit to Haiti, had seen progress at the political level in the country.  The Government aimed to breathe new life into agriculture, transport, security, justice, energy, education and health, which were coupled with an ambitious legislative programme containing 51 draft bills that, among other things, aimed to ensure better land management so as to bring about better environmental conditions.  The international community, and especially the United Nations, must continue to support the Government in restoring the economy and living conditions, especially as 2.35 million people were food insecure, cholera continued to claim lives and infrastructure was lacking.  Judicial institutions must be improved, and insecurity was still a concern.  He welcomed the recent visit by the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, as well as the Secretary-General’s approach to combating cholera, which must be taken more seriously by the international community.  He urged the United Nations, international financial institutions and the Government to pool efforts to avoid a security vacuum from forming in the wake of MINUSTAH’s withdrawal.

RENÉ ERNESTO FERNÁNDEZ REVOLLO (Bolivia) said Haiti’s President had shared his vision for overcoming the country’s challenges, having described the “Caravan of Change” and the joint legislative agenda, and communicated his hope that the new Mission would be classified under Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations, rather than Chapter VII.  Bolivia supported that idea, as there was no threat to peace and security in Haiti.  During its visit, the Council had been briefed on preparations for MINUSTAH’s withdrawal and transition, information which must guide it in putting the finishing touches on the new Mission to ensure its mandate was specific, especially around the rule of law and justice-sector reform.  The new Mission had a raft of strategic goals to be completed within two years, and he raised concern that it might be unable to fulfil those objectives in such a short time.  Commending MINUSTAH for its self-assessment, he said it must now tackle outstanding issues related to cholera and sexual exploitation and abuse.  He cautioned against creating any overlap or duplication with the activities of the United Nations country team, Economic and Social Council or the General Assembly.  He also advocated support for the Secretary-General’s new approach to combating cholera, noting that without attention to health, education and sanitation, Haiti’s path to sustainable development would be a long and rocky one.

ANDREA BIAGINI (Italy), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said Haiti was at a cross-road.  In particular, the remarkable achievements of the Haitian National Police, made with MINUSTAH’s help, must be built upon.  Many challenges remained, including the fight against cholera, he said, welcoming the General Assembly’s resolution on that issue.  Italy was convinced that the transition to MINUJUSTH was a due response to the evolution of Haiti’s needs, he said, emphasizing the need to ensure continuity and to progressively transfer MINUSTAH competencies to the country team, and eventually, the State authorities.  Haiti would be a test of the Council’s ability to handle a transition, he concluded.

LIU JIEYI (China), Council President for July, spoke in his national capacity, saying his country hoped that all parties in Haiti would keep up the current momentum of progress.  Welcoming the Assembly’s resolution on cholera, he said China hoped that the international community would respond actively to the United Nations new approach to the outbreak.  He emphasized the need to increase humanitarian assistance, to build Haiti’s capacity vis-à-vis disaster reduction and prevention, and to address food security.  The priority now was to ensure a smooth transition, with an orderly MINUSTAH withdraw and a successful deployment of the new Mission.

DENIS RÉGIS (Haiti) expressed his Government’s gratitude to the Secretary-General for his commitment to the Haitian people.  His objective and balanced report had been carefully noted and taken into consideration.  With Haiti at a critical juncture, the Government welcomed the Secretary-General’s appraisal, namely that the country was on the path to building democracy and institutional political stability.  Progress on human rights and the rule of law had been made, Constitutional order restored, Parliament re-established and consultations between the legislative and executive branches were under way.  Progress was being made to build the rule of law and to anchor democracy, he said, adding that the Government welcomed the fact that the overall security situation had been unaffected by the drawdown of MINUSTAH troop levels.

Extending gratitude to all countries that had contributed to MINUSTAH, he said the Government was well aware of challenges and obstacles that stood in the way of economic development.  It had also taken note of what the Secretary-General called limited progress in the administration of justice, as well as shortcomings in the correctional system.  Human rights concerns had also been noted, including the repercussions of prolonged preventative detention and prison overcrowding.  In that regard, a commission had been established to take stock of the situation and make recommendations.  He underscored the Government’s commitment to protect and promote human rights without discrimination, in line with Haiti’s regional and international treaty obligations.

The cholera epidemic was far from being eradicated, he said, emphasizing that Haiti faced an emergency which recent visits by the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council were able to take stock of.  Urgent measures were needed, he said, adding that his Government called for a prompt and sustained resumption of development assistance that would enable Haiti to create the conditions that would lead to sustained growth.  Turning to MINUSTAH, he welcomed the orderly withdrawal of its military component, adding that lessons drawn over the past 13 years would be harnessed wisely for the benefit of MINUJUSTH.  Concluding, he said Haiti’s ardent hope was that the new Mission would succeed in significantly improving trust in all sectors of society in the rule of law and the balance of democratic institutional powers while contributing to long-term stability and economic development.  The Government, for its part, would spare no effort towards meeting that objective.

MIGUEL RUIZ CABAÑAS, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, praised the Special Representative’s efforts in serving the cause of peace and development in Haiti.  Noting that Mexico had contributed military observers to MINUSTAH, he said the strengthening of rule of law and national institutions were signs of a new era for Haiti in shouldering its responsibilities for the future.  He welcomed the Assembly’s allocation of resources for the new Mission, stressing:  “The United Nations is not leaving Haiti.  Rather, our presence is evolving.”  The country team had a key role to play in fostering development.  Recalling Mexico’s membership on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, he said the United Nations must support Haiti in shaping its development path and ensuring its people enjoyed the fruits of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Indeed, the United Nations had moved on from conflict management to fostering sustainable development.  MINUJUSTH must focus on cooperation with Headquarters, as well as the Security Council, Economic and Social Council and all system agencies, he said, stressing that the United Nations had not yet found a just response to the devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti.  Mexico and Jamaica had co-facilitated the Assembly resolution acknowledging the Organization’s responsibility to Haitians.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) recalled that his country’s component in June had concluded the handover of security tasks to the Haitian National Police.  While there had been much progress, the number of police officers in Haiti remained insufficient, corresponding to only half of world standards for public security.  Training and management also needed significant improvement, he added, emphasizing that the Haitian National Police Strategic Plan 2017‑2021 would be crucial during the transition from MINUSTAH to MINUJUSTH.  The latter’s success depended on its ability to quickly forge partnerships, mutual understanding and cooperation.  Bold leadership by the Government was vital to preserving progress reached thus far.  Referring to “a two-year timeframe horizon” for MINUJUSTH in the Secretary‑General’s report, he said that pre-empting the closure of a mission that had not been established yet may jeopardize its functioning and implementation of its mandate.  He added that he was surprised to see the absence of quick impact projects in the section that described the operations of the new Mission, and reiterated that planning should duly reflect resolution 2350 (2017).  MINUJUSTH must also be enabled to support the implementation of the United Nations new approach to cholera in Haiti, he added.

GUILLAUME DABOUIS, European Union, recalled that, through resolution 2350 (2017), the Council had granted MINUSTAH’s last extension and set forth the legal framework for the creation of a new mission.  For more than a decade, MINUSTAH had provided security, and was a critical support in ending the institutional instability that had marred recent elections.  Noting that the election had yielded a new President and a new Government, he welcomed that constitutional order, based on the will of voters, had been established, which was critical in order for Haiti to tackle the numerous social, economic and political challenges ahead.  Noting that all stakeholder efforts were critical to Haiti’s democratic consolidation, he said the electoral system must be reformed in order to restore people’s trust.  The European Union was a partner and determined to support Haiti during the current delicate stage, including the necessary reform process.  The security situation was “highly fragile” and thus required the strengthened professionalism of the Haitian National Police.  Underscoring the need to provide well-prepared continuity, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on the rule of law and human rights, and called for clarity around the related stages and responsibilities.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said the United Nations was more effective when it pursued mandate delivery on the basis of road maps tailored to specific cases, and streamlined efforts to end crises.  Noting that political progress in Haiti had allowed the United Nations to wind down MINUSTAH, she said the path towards peaceful and inclusive societies went hand in hand with democratic institutions and the rule of law.  For its part, Colombia had dispatched police and provided training under the National Police development plan, especially for female officers.  The next step must be to ensure that justice was in place.  More broadly, she said the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti would enhance coordination among all stakeholders to address cholera, human rights, political participation and sustainable development so that Haiti could handle the transition from MINUSTAH to MINUJUSTH.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions, and embedding a culture to improve socioeconomic conditions, were all essential to security and prosperity in Haiti.  Welcoming the new President’s “Caravan of Change” efforts, he underscored the principle of national ownership and inclusion, and reiterated the importance of the Government’s commitment to the rule of law, justice and security.  He welcomed the reform of the Haitian National Police and adoption of the strategic development plan, stressing that stability and development would remain elusive without democratic institutions and processes.

He went on to note limited progress in improving judicial institutions and the administration of justice, reaffirming the role of MINUSTAH and the new Mission in setting up improved governance structures.  He urged the Government to take actions related to justice and human rights.  The strengthening of national human rights bodies, ending of impunity and promoting of accountability were all required for establishing security and stability.  He advocated setting up a separate Ministry of Human Rights, while also drawing attention to Assembly resolution 71/161 on the new United Nations approach to cholera, which aimed to prevent transmission and ease victim suffering.  He also welcomed the reported drop in suspected cholera cases, calling for contributions to the Trust Fund.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that, while resolution 2350 (2017) envisioned a two-year timeframe for MINUJUSTH, its duration must depend on the situation on the ground in order to avoid a premature withdrawal.  Quick impact projects in such areas as the rule of law, public infrastructure and safe drinking water would also be required.  He noted Argentina’s voluntary contribution, adding — without prejudice to Haiti’s sovereignty — that the announced reconstitution of Haiti’s armed forces would hopefully not detract from developing the National Police.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that, despite the withdrawal of its MINUSTAH contingent, his State would keep supporting the island nation, guided by that country’s priorities.  He congratulated the President of Haiti for a flurry of initiatives, including the Caravan of Change, and hailed the drafting of a legislative agenda, saying that such milestones represented opportunities that could not be missed.  Describing cholera as Haiti’s main humanitarian challenge, he appealed to the international community to contribute to the Trust Fund.

For information media. Not an official record.