The Security Council’s visiting mission to Haiti in January bore witness to the Haitian people’s hope, resilience and determination in rebuilding their country and paving the way to free and fair elections, the permanent representatives of Chile and the United States – co-leaders of the visit – told the 15-member body today.
Briefing the Council on the 23–25 January mission of Council members to take stock of progress made in that country, Samantha Power (United States) said that “incredible” resilience was exemplified during a moving visit to a memorial of the 2010 disaster, marked by a large piece of rubble that symbolized all that had been destroyed that day. The Haitian people, she said, would continue to have the Council’s support as they rebuilt their country.
The visit, the first since 2012, had proven to be fortuitous at a tenuous time, she said. Meetings with political leaders, civil society and United Nations representatives, including the Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Sandra Honoré, had shed light on the situation as the country headed towards elections.
Concerned about the loss of a check on presidential power, she said all sides must redouble efforts for constructive dialogue with an aim to ensure free and fair elections. Encouraged by President Michel Martelly’s efforts in leading a multi-party Government, she emphasized that “checks and balances were key”. Council members were also impressed by the newly-formed Provisional Electoral Council’s commitment to being an independent body.
Meetings with stakeholders provided a snapshot of those working towards a brighter future for Haiti, she said. During visits to Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince, Council members saw first-hand how MINUSTAH was contributing to that goal through a wide range of projects.
After visiting several projects, Cristián Barros Melet (Chile), Council President, speaking in his national capacity, stated it was clear to see how MINUSTAH’s efforts were helping. Of particular interest to Council members were activities related to the evaluation of Security Council resolution 2180 (2014), which had renewed for one year MINUSTAH’s mandate while taking into account the importance of maintaining peace and security, especially in light of pending elections.
During the visit, Council members evaluated initiatives aimed at strengthening the Haitian National Police to ensure the maintenance of peace and security. After visiting the Pétion Ville women’s prison, he said there was a need to make progress in the area of guaranteeing rights and access to justice.
The visit was, among other things, an expression of the Council’s commitment to Haiti, he said, underlining that one of the goals was for the Council to emphasize the importance of promoting the prevention of conflict through democratic governance and development. The visit had also highlighted the importance of international support to Haiti, he said.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.