Close Collaboration with Government Key to Successful Transition, Top Official Says, as Security Council Considers Situation in Haiti
Permanent Representative Expresses Regret Over Falling Official Development Assistance, while Citing ‘Clear Success Stories’
Close collaboration with the Government of Haiti and its partners will be essential to the successful transition to a non-peacekeeping United Nations presence in that country, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) told the Security Council today.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Mission’s work (document S/2018/1059), Helen Meagher La Lime noted that despite the slow progress, “the dashboard before you shows the incremental, yet positive, impact the Mission has had on reinforcing rule-of-law institutions, increasing the capacity of the national police and promoting human rights.”
Noting the recent political crisis, the violent demonstrations in July and the country’s preparations for constitutionally mandated parliamentary and municipal elections, she said the Mission is working to increase the capacity of human rights actors. The Government’s establishment of a dedicated ministerial focal point for human rights indicated Haiti’s readiness to engage with international human rights bodies, she added.
She went on to emphasize that a “more assiduous and focused Parliament” will be required to pass essential legislation. At the same time MINUJUSTH will be reducing the footprint of its Formed Police Units from seven to five this month, she said, adding that whereas the totality of benchmarks will not be achieved by October 2019, options for reconfiguring the United Nations presence in Haiti are still feasible.
Haiti’s representative declared: “The entire world agrees that my nation has recently been sorely tested.” But despite the recent upheaval, there were also “clear success stories” in the fields of justice, security, correction and prison services, and protection of human rights. He expressed regret at the decline in official development assistance, calling the Council’s attention to the economic difficulties faced by the vast majority of Haiti’s people. While acknowledging delays in meeting the essential indicators for consolidating the rule of law, he said the Government is determined to redouble its efforts. The all-out war on corruption is bearing fruit, he emphasized, also citing efforts to reverse the persistent gaps pertaining to disruptions in the functioning of the justice system, and to address allegations of human rights abuses within State institutions.
Ethiopia’s delegate called for constructive dialogue, highlighting the importance of consensual solutions within the framework of the existing constitutional dispensation. The swift adoption of the electoral law will pave the way for credible, timely and inclusive elections, she added.
Other Council members also stressed the importance of elections, with the representative of the United States urging the Government to adhere to the electoral timetable. Spotlighting his country’s investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in Haiti, he noted the progress in the security sector while stressing that more must be done to consolidate the rule of law and judicial capacity in order to facilitate the necessary drawdown of the peacekeeping presence by October 2019.
Peru’s representative called for adequate electoral assistance, while expressing concern over the recent violent protests, the growth in the number of armed gangs and the unacceptable conditions in prisons. The transition must take the full range of factors affecting Haiti’s stability into account, he stressed, calling for coordination with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Also speaking today were representatives of Bolivia, Kuwait, France, Sweden, China, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Poland, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Côte d’Ivoire.
A representative of the European Union delegation also delivered a statement.