Ahead of Support Operation’s Closure in Haiti, Speakers in Security Council Discuss Best Path to Create Stability, Address Urgent Humanitarian Needs

SC/13764
3 April 2019
8502nd Meeting (AM)

Ahead of Support Operation’s Closure in Haiti, Speakers in Security Council Discuss Best Path to Create Stability, Address Urgent Humanitarian Needs

As a United Nations justice support operation in Haiti prepares to end its mandate, the Security Council today discussed the best path forward over the next six months to foster stability and craft a new political mission amid political uncertainty and urgent humanitarian needs.

Reporting progress in some areas and volatility or stagnation in others, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, presented the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document S/2019/198), which contained a range of recommendations on how to best help Haiti.  Outlining recent developments ahead of the planned closure of the mission in October and a possible transition to a special political mission, he said the security situation is fragile on the heels of violent demonstrations and the economy has gotten a boost from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan package.  Yet, humanitarian needs remain concerning.

Going forward, the focus must be on reaching established benchmarks in the Mission mandate, including strengthening national institutions, particularly the police force, given concerns about reports of human rights violations.  Looking ahead, he said a small strategic advisory office, as recommended in the Secretary-General’s report, would be sufficient to meet the country’s needs.  Preparations will ready the Mission for its drawdown, he said, calling on the Council and countries in the region to boost cooperation with Haiti, including through bilateral support to address a variety of issues, such as stemming the spread of cholera and ensuring food security.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, provided a snapshot of the current situation, emphasizing that strengthening the bedrock of rule of law is a means to preventing further violations and enabling sustainable peace.  Noting the critical role of civil society in the protection of human rights, she expressed concern that these organizations continue to be targeted by acts of intimidation.

“This must stop,” she said, calling on all stakeholders to work together to strengthen the human rights protection system in Haiti as the country stands at a crossroads.  “We must continue building on [the progress], or risk losing it.”  Pointing to the appointment of a human rights minister and the fight against extreme poverty, she urged Haitian authorities to seize the opportunity to ensure that needed leadership be provided to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights.

Highlighting the urgent needs of women, Loune Viaud, Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, one of Haiti’s largest non-governmental health‑care providers, said the Council could do more to ensure their full and meaningful participation in all aspects of parliamentary elections, including as candidates and voters, to change the current situation in which women are veritably absent in the halls of power.  Indeed, much needs to change, from breaking the silence on gender-based violence to toppling barriers to achieving basic access to services, education and health care.

To help affect some of these changes, she said the Council should call on MINUJUSTH to build the capacity of local organizations to help provide high‑quality gender‑sensitive services for survivors of sexual violence.  The Council should also ensure continued funding and Mission support to address the urgent humanitarian needs of women and girls, including in the wake of natural disasters.

During the discussion, delegates commended progress, called for greater efforts for national reconciliation and echoed concerns about gang violence, corruption, human rights violations and women’s limited role in the political arena.

Council members largely supported a smooth transition toward establishment of a special political mission, as proposed by the Secretary-General, with some offering suggestions on ways to proceed.  Belgium’s representative said a Chapter VI mandate for the new mission is appropriate, underlining the importance of providing strategic advice.

The United Kingdom’s delegate welcomed the creation of a special political mission with human rights and women’s empowerment at the centre of its work.  “If Haiti is to accelerate on its path to stability […] then human rights needs to come front and centre,” he said.

The representative of the Dominican Republic, explaining his country’s close relationship with Haiti, said “all doors should be left open” with regard to United Nations assistance.  He favoured a political mission that provides support for the exploration of all mechanisms available, including how Haiti can access the Peacebuilding Fund, and underlined the importance of moving forward slowly given the current political climate.

Delegates from the wider United Nations membership agreed, with the Head of Delegation of the European Union sharing concerns about the Haitian National Police’s capacity to take full responsibility for security following the Mission’s departure, which is occurring at the same time as planned elections.

Meanwhile, Canada’s representative said reducing the United Nations presence must be gradual and carefully sequenced to minimize any negative impact and preserve hard-won gains since 2004.  Aims that have not been achieved by MINUJUSTH should serve as a starting point for the special political mission.

Haiti’s Minister for Foreign Affairs reported on recent achievements, including the Government’s quota promoting the participation of women in public and political life, reducing community violence, improving security, justice and the rule of law, and preparing for the upcoming elections.  Regarding the drawdown of MINUJUSTH, he noted that the progress made is allowing for a new presence in Haiti, one that is a not a peacekeeping mission.  The new role of the United Nations must remain in line with the changing context of the country.

Also delivering statements were representatives of the United States, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, Kuwait, South Africa, Indonesia, France, Poland, Russian Federation, Equatorial Guinea, China, Germany and Argentina.

The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 12:53 p.m.

Briefings

JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, presenting the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document S/2019/198), outlined developments, ranging from progress in some areas and volatility or stagnation in others, against a backdrop of improved security and political uncertainty.  Since the unrest in February that left 41 dead and 100 injured, no violent demonstrations have occurred despite repeated mobilization calls by opposition and activist groups demanding the President’s resignation.  However, rival gang clashes continue to disrupt life in parts of Port-au-Prince.  Condemning a deadly attack on 27 March on a Chilean convoy, he said the Haitian National Police continue to demonstrate their capacity to handle security threats with limited support from MINUJUSTH.  President Jovenel Moïse’s reactivation of a national commission for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration was an important step towards the assumption of national ownership in violence‑reduction efforts.

On the political and economic fronts, he said a no‑confidence vote led to the appointment of Jean Michel Lapin as ad interim Prime Minister.  An agreement with the Government, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Haiti and the Central Bank of Haiti created a sense of optimism to boost the fledgling economy.  A $229 million concessional loan from IMF was designed to provide support to the most vulnerable sectors of the population while promoting governance reform and anti-corruption measures.  President Moïse’s establishment of a facilitation committee for an inter-Haitian dialogue has the potential to revitalize a process of national cohesion, with support from the Mission.  All key actors must make stronger efforts to ensure the success of the committee’s work and the crafting of a national vision able to bring about economic reform that is essential for a healthy economy and for attracting direct investment, measures for social protection, improving the rule of law, combating corruption and the organization of elections in October.

As the end of the peacekeeping presence in Haiti is pending, he said, the focus must be on reaching established benchmarks.  This includes strengthening the country’s institutions, particularly the police force.  Efforts are on track, with a view to ending the Mission’s mandate in October.  Meanwhile, the United Nations will continue to provide strategic advice and facilitate bilateral assistance.  A small strategic advisory office, as recommended in the Secretary-General’s report, would be sufficient to meet the country’s needs.  Preparations will ready the Mission for its drawdown, he said, calling on the Council and countries in the region to boost cooperation with Haiti, including through bilateral support, as outlined in development reports, to address issues such as stemming the spread of cholera and ensuring food security.  The partnership between the United Nations and Haiti must evolve in the near future.

MICHELLE BACHELET, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Haiti today is a very different from what it was in 2004, when United Nations peacekeeping troops were deployed.  While the scale of human rights violations recorded then does not compare with the current situation, serious structural challenges persist.  With about 59 per cent of the population estimated to live below the poverty line, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas.  Basic services, such as health care, water, electricity and education, are out of reach for many.  Poverty creates a fertile environment for criminal activity to thrive, especially in the most underprivileged areas of the capital, where heavily armed gangs take advantage of the limited State presence.  Since July 2018, at least 60 people have been killed, including members of the Haitian National Police.

From 7 February and 15 February, the longest and most violent protest in years almost entirely paralysed the country, she continued.  Despite significant improvements in the professionalism of the National Police, incidents of serious human rights violations, including cases of summary executions, continue to be reported, with limited accountability.  “Perpetrators are consequently emboldened and silenced victims may develop grievances,” she added.  The weakness of the judicial system also has a negative impact on the penitentiary system.  Over 75 per cent of inmates are estimated to be in a pre-trial detention — on average for 1,100 days — well over the limit set by national law.  Prisons also lack basic sanitary conditions and few detainees have access to legal counsel.

Strengthening the bedrock of rule of law is a means to preventing further human rights violations and enabling sustainable peace, Ms. Bachelet said.  Noting the appointment in September 2018 of the Minister delegate for human rights and the fight against extreme poverty, she urged Haitian authorities to seize the opportunity to ensure that needed leadership be provided to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Human Rights.  She also welcomed the significant increase of the budget of the Office of the Ombudsperson, which remains Haiti’s national human rights institution.  Noting the critical role of civil society in the protection of human rights, she expressed concern that these organizations continue to be targeted by acts of intimidation.  “This must stop,” she stressed, calling on all stakeholders to work together to strengthen the human rights protection system in Haiti.  The country stands at a crossroads.  “We must continue building on [the progress], or risk losing it,” she warned.

LOUNE VIAUD, Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, noting that her organization is one of Haiti’s largest non-governmental health‑care providers, focused her briefing on inequality, sexual and gender-based violence, and women’s political participation in Haiti.  Today, women in Haiti face barriers to achieving basic access to services, education and health care.  Haiti has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world:  359 women die for every 100,000 live births.  Cancer is another issue that primarily affects women in Haiti — 75 per cent of the organization’s patients are women, she said, noting:  “Lack of access to women’s health care poses one of the greatest challenges to development in Haiti.”

“The difficult work to end sexual and gender-based violence in Haiti remains a silent fight,” she continued.  Over 40 per cent of all sexual assault victims in Haiti are under the age of 25; some are under the age of 15.  “I speak on behalf of all survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, when I say to you:  impunity for violence against women and girls in Haiti must end,” she stressed.  Comprehensive laws on gender-based violence and educating Haitians to respect women and girls are critical.  The Council and the United Nations Mission in Haiti should work with the Government to advance the adoption of the draft penal code.  Survivors of sexual violence and abuse must have access to psychosocial support, medical intervention and a fair justice system.

“Haiti is a small country full of larger-than-life women,” she said, expressing concern that women and girls have very little say in Haiti’s halls of power.  The Council should call on MINUJUSTH to build the capacity of local organizations to help provide high-quality gender-sensitive services for survivors of sexual violence.  The Council should also ensure continued funding and Mission support to address the urgent humanitarian needs of women and girls, including in the wake of natural disasters.  Haiti must create greater legal protections for women and girls, she stressed.  The Council could also do more to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in all aspects of parliamentary elections, including as candidates and voters.

Statements

JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said promoting respect for human rights is a central goal of his Government’s foreign policy and is inextricably linked to the Council and peacekeeping operations.  The United States has just released its national reports on human rights, he said, noting positive changes in Haiti.  Welcoming such progress, he said his delegation is committed to helping Haiti to address outstanding concerns, including corruption, impunity and attacks on journalists.  As the Secretary-General noted in his report, Haiti is on a positive trajectory.  The United States anticipated a smooth transition, including establishing a human rights pillar.  Until then, he expected the Government and MINUJUSTH to work together until the mandate ended.  However, the Council should not link the Mission transition plans to local political conditions and developments.  Encouraging elected officials to work together to serve the population, he said genuine dialogue and compromise can best serve the people of Haiti.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) raised concerns about the political situation, challenges in the area of human rights and the critical need for a smooth transition of MINUJUSTH towards a new mission.  On the political front, institutional reforms are essential in light of recent tensions.  At the same time, an inclusive dialogue is required to resolve political instability; renewing legislative powers and credible elections are crucial steps in that process.  Welcoming the appointment of a human rights minister and steps under way to address concerns about violations committed by Haitian police officers, he called on authorities to continue in this direction.  On the future of peace operations, he said a Chapter VI mandate is appropriate, underlining the importance of providing strategic advice.  A holistic approach is necessary to address pressing concerns, from corruption to prison reform, he said, adding that the future mandate should ensure the participation of women and should have clear benchmarks.

KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire) said numerous challenges remain ahead of the drawdown, including in the field of human rights, the sociopolitical situation and the new peace mission to follow the completion of the MINUJUSTH mandate.  Raising concerns about conditions in prisons and the ongoing activities of armed gangs, he called on authorities to redouble their efforts.  Regretting to note the resumption of violent demonstrations, he called for urgent measures to, among other things, boost the economy by attracting foreign investment and fostering an inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders to shape a common vision to meet the population’s immediate needs.  He also called for electoral reform ahead of elections.  Supporting the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he encouraged stakeholders to strengthen partnerships with the United Nations, calling on the international community to support the people of Haiti to ensure the return of peace and stability.

JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic), noting the close link between his country and Haiti, welcomed the recognition that Port-au-Prince should receive all possible assistance.  Supporting all United Nations initiatives with a view to Haiti’s stabilization and reconstruction, he said the milestone transition to the Justice and Support Mission is making important contributions, strengthening institutions and achieving gains in reducing community violence.  As a result of this and the Government’s efforts, opportunities are opening up for young people, who remain the main engine of sustainable development.  For its part, the Dominican Republic shared its own experience with social inclusion projects.

While supporting the Secretary-General’s view, he underlined the importance of moving forward slowly.  The Secretary-General’s report points out that only 49 per cent of the benchmarks will be achieved, pointing out various areas of structural weaknesses.  For instance, despite the growing competence of the police, human rights challenges persist, with low rates of investigation of reported violations.  Moreover, conditions are not optimal to ensure political stability at a time when Haiti is still tackling the spread of cholera and dealing with natural disasters.  Correcting the current vicious cycle depends first on addressing political stability, including holding transparent elections.  Meanwhile, “all doors should be left open” with regard to United Nations assistance, he said, favouring a political mission that provides support for the exploration of all mechanisms available, including how Haiti can access the Peacebuilding Fund.  To do this, Haiti must be able to depend on the Security Council.

PAUL DUCLOS (Peru) welcomed the President’s call for a national dialogue, a plan to fight corruption and impunity, and other reforms.  Going forward, the national action plan for human rights, particularly with regard to women’s rights, must be completed, as should plans to update the criminal code and prison legislation.  Welcoming progress made in prison reform, he expressed hope that related health concerns would soon be resolved.  Turning to MINUJUSTH, he said its transition should consider the situation on the ground.  Strengthening the rule of law, justice system reform and the protection and promotion of human rights are essential at this point.  Supporting the Secretary‑General’s recommendations for a new political mission, he said a United Nations presence can contribute effectively to Haiti’s many efforts to improve the current situation.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) noted the many successes achieved in Haiti which have led to an environment of relative peace and calm.  He commended the work of the Haitian authorities in their dealings with protests, crime and the cholera epidemic and noted real and serious challenges, including ensuring stability during the elections in October.  Haiti also faces economic and structural difficulties that affect the quality of life of its citizens.  Haitian authorities must determine the best way forward to strengthen the economy and attract foreign investment.  Combating corruption is also a priority as is ensuring rule of law.  He expressed support to the Secretary-General’s plan to establish a special political mission in Haiti.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said that the recent protests in Haiti not only exacerbate the humanitarian situation there, but also undermine prospects for the holding of peaceful elections in October.  “These events highlight the persistent need for reconciliation in Haiti,” he added.  A State which takes steps towards reconciliation not only unites its people and encourages a nationally owned process, but also creates environments that are conducive for more effective institutions.  The United Nations has played a critical role in Haiti by building the capacity of institutions like the Haitian National Police.  Underscoring the role of civil society, he said the Council must continue to play a stabilizing role in the country by closely monitoring the situation on the ground, particularly in the lead up to the October elections.

STEPHEN HICKEY (United Kingdom) said that States which violate human rights are less stable, less likely to meet the demands of their people and are more likely to pose a threat to international peace and security.  He stressed the need to improve services to survivors of gender-based violence and the importance of promoting women’s participation in public and political life.  “Surely, this will help secure access to justice and services for women,” he added.  Expressing concern about human rights abuses committed at protests, including allegations of summary executions, he also underscored that the death of those held in prisons has recently increased.  “If Haiti is to accelerate on its path to stability […] then human rights needs to come front and centre,” he stressed.  On the reconfiguration of the United Nations presence in Haiti, he welcomed creation of a special political mission with human rights and women’s empowerment at the centre of its work.  The transition from a peacekeeping presence to a special political mission must be smooth and peaceful.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) expressed deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Haiti and stressed the need to promptly address and alleviate the suffering of people there.  The Government of Haiti should take the lead and work together with all stakeholders to address the plight of its citizens, including poverty and hunger.  Rule of law remains critical in accelerating structural reforms, he added, urging the Government to take concrete measures to investigate high‑profile cases to gain public trust.  The political process on the upcoming election should make Haiti’s democracy strong.  Stability and security in Haiti need to be maintained in this critical moment.  He also expressed support to the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the deployment of a special political mission, mandated to advise the Government.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said the relationship between the United Nations and Haiti has come to a key moment of transition with the drawdown of MINUJUSTH.  This transition turns the page on the peacekeeping operation and opens a new chapter.  The United Nations must continue to make a positive difference in Haiti.  A quarter of the population there finds itself living in food insecurity.  Waves of violence are also a source of concern.  February’s demonstrations have had a devastating effect.  “A lot remains to be done to build solid institutions,” she said, expressing regret that out of the 12 seats on the Supreme Court, only 1 is occupied by a woman.  Progress has been made, with the help of the Mission, to reduce violence against women.  However, more remains to be done.  She called for credible investigations on high profile cases.  The fight against the cholera epidemic must continue.  She also called on political leaders to create conditions conducive to peace and development and stressed that civil society deserves the Council’s full support.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said it is disappointing that, despite the significant upgrade of the Haitian National Police forces’ capabilities, episodes of violence causing deaths and tensions remain high.  “It goes without saying that human rights and development are interconnected,” she stressed.  The October elections must be a significant milestone for the country’s stability.  Deep structural reforms will be expected from the new authorities to revive Haiti’s economy.  She expressed concern that the withdrawal of peacekeepers will leave a security vacuum, especially during the usually heated election period.  Further, expressing concern about the humanitarian situation, she said that the political mission to replace MINUJUTH should consistent of key components related to democracy, rule of law and human rights.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said the Secretary-General’s assessments that the Haitian National Police will be able to assume responsibilities indicate progress.  However, surges of violence and protest remain a concern.  Disagreements between Governments and society exist around the world, and only inclusive dialogue can work out differences.  Attempts by armed opposition groups to upset the political landscape are dangerous, he said, expressing hope that a national dialogue can resolve these tensions.  At this complicated moment, the international community must help Haiti to take a leadership role in post-conflict rebuilding.  As some have said that Haiti no longer threatens international peace and security, he explained that his delegation had abstained on a vote on a resolution in 2018 regarding a Chapter VII-based mandate and it holds the same view on the matter today.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said that, given recent improvements, support must be increased for the Mission and the Government to capitalize on gains and ensure they are not reversed.  The precarious situation, with more than 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, requires more attention and a significant increase in aid.  The United Nations presence is essential for rebuilding Haiti’s institutions through special political missions, and not peacekeeping operations.  A progressive approach must ensure a smooth transition.  However, gang violence and organized crime are ongoing concerns.  More broadly, he encouraged dialogue to resolve differences.

WU HAITAO (China) expressed hope that the Government can continue its efforts to strengthen the rule of law, conduct a constructive nationwide dialogue and resolve differences through consultations so the people of Haiti can live in peace.  Commending achievements in reform, he supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to complete the drawdown on schedule.  Regarding a new mission, all relevant issues must be considered.  Meanwhile, the Government and the United Nations should closely coordinate ahead of the transition.

CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany), Council President for April, spoke in his national capacity, saying human rights are key for security and sustainable development.  Amid a fragile political situation, he remained concerned about structural questions, including detention facilities, poor access to health care and immense humanitarian needs.  Calling on the Government to accelerate reform efforts, he underlined the importance of launching a constructive, inclusive national dialogue.  A rise in criminal gang activity also needs urgent attention.  Encouraging Haiti to continue discussions on how the Peacebuilding Fund can best be used, he said the country needs continued support from the international community, with a robust, targeted political United Nations presence.  A special political mission must include a human rights component, a focus on police development and strategic plans to tackle gang violence.  A seamless mission transition is key and an important test for the Secretary-General’s reforms.

BOCCHIT EDMOND, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti, said the Secretary-General’s report paints a “very objective picture” of developments in the country, as well as the support provided by the United Nations, efforts undertaken by national authorities and steps ahead in promoting human rights and democracy.  “History calls on us, my fellow countrymen, to work together selflessly guided by the tripartite model:  liberty, equality and fraternity,” he said.  Regarding the drawdown of MINUJUSTH, he noted that the progress made is allowing for a new presence in Haiti, one that is a not a peacekeeping mission.  The new role of the United Nations must remain in line with the changing context of the country.  Haiti is fully aware that it bears the responsibility for adopting the necessary strategies to respond to the needs of its population.

“The political will to achieve this should go hand in hand with mobilizing resources,” he said, emphasizing that support from the United Nations, as well as all other partners will be essential.  Turning to last month’s protests, he said the demonstrations were related to the drastic increase in the cost of living.  Unfortunately, the protests were marked by violence and death.  The protesters vandalized public and private property and attacked police officers.  Two police officers were burned alive.  The protests have also had a devastating impact on household income.  Women were disproportionately affected as it became unsafe for them to work in the markets.  On women’s rights, he noted his Government’s quota promoting the participation of women in public and political life.  Significant progress has been made in reducing community violence; improving security, justice and the rule of law; and preparing for the upcoming elections.  He said the Government is also carrying out an investigation into what happened in the La Saline area.

The recent mass protests have highlighted the crucial steps ahead and the urgent need to combat insecurity and corruption, and to improve the living conditions of all Haitians, he added.  Haiti’s President “has in no way underestimated the difficulties his administration has to overcome”, he said.  Promoting democracy, human rights, justice and reform of key national institutions should go hand in hand with sustainable, economic, social and economic development.  It is this spirit that should guide future cooperation between Haiti and the United Nations.  Haiti’s President has also reiterated the need for unconditional dialogue between all national stakeholders.  “The nation’s recovery is the full responsibility of all Haitians,” he stressed.

Developing a programme for weapons and ammunitions management and extending community police presence to high‑risk areas is essential to combating the proliferation of armed gangs, he continued.  This has been a pivotal year for Haiti, one that will be shaped by engagement of national authorities.  Organizing the upcoming elections and ensuring that they take place in a peaceful environment will be particularly crucial.  The elections must be conducted in a revitalized environment of constructive dialogue.  The United Nations and Haiti’s other key international partners cannot fail to provide their vital support to ensure security and stability in the country now and in the future.

MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) said his country will continue to support the development of Haiti to improve the quality of life for all Haitians.  “We also need to work in a more integrated way by using all the peacebuilding instruments at our disposal:  diplomacy, mediation, security support and development,” he added.  Haiti’s transition to a political mission must be carefully managed and based on objectives.  Aims that have not been achieved by MINUJUSTH should serve as a starting point for the special political mission.  Reducing the United Nations presence must also be gradual and carefully sequenced to minimize any negative impact and preserve hard-won gains since 2004.  He also emphasized the need for a strong gender advisory capacity in the new mission to strengthen the role of women inclusion in all aspects of the national dialogue and reform processes.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina) said progress in the socioeconomic arena remains fundamental to build long-term stability.  Supporting the idea of establishing a special political mission, he said the Council could then continue to keep abreast of the situation in Haiti.  A transition plan should avoid an early exit that could negatively impact the situation on the ground.  Despite remaining challenges, it is important to fulfil the Mission’s mandate, including to reduce violence and strengthen the professional development of police.  Highlighting progress made from collaborative work between the Government and the Mission, he said Argentina would continue to support bilateral and multilateral initiatives and to support Haiti on the path to peace and sustainable development.

JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of Delegation of the European Union, said Haiti has moved from a situation of latent weakness to a full-blown economic and political crisis, with riots over the high cost of living, a sharp devaluation of its currency and chronic gang violence.  President Moïse and the new Government must launch an inclusive dialogue to identify and implement political solutions to end the current crisis.  Elections are also essential, he said, emphasizing the importance of women participating in all areas of political life.  Trust must be built with the population and authorities must mobilize every effort to hold credible elections in October.  The European Union will continue to support Haiti at this critical time.  Commending the work of MINUJUSTH, he also shared concerns about the security situation and the fact that some benchmarks are not being met.  Also of concern is the Haitian National Police’s capacity to take full responsibility for security following the Mission’s departure, which is occurring at the same time as planned elections.

Mr. LACROIX, responding to several questions, first said strengthening bilateral support is critical.  With regard to ongoing investigations, he said national authorities have the responsibility to handle certain cases.  The United Nations own investigations will continue and should be finalized, with results to be submitted to the Council.  On the question of gender, he encouraged the Government to ensure the inclusion of women in all political processes.

Ms. BACHELET said the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) would continue to work with the Government on outstanding concerns.

For information media. Not an official record.