New Mission in Haiti preparing transition from peacekeeping to development role, Under-Secretary-General tells Security Council ahead of mandate renewal
With the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) fully operational, preparations have already begun for that follow-up peacekeeping operation to make way for a new United Nations presence by the end of 2019 that would focus on the Caribbean nation’s long-term sustainable development, the Organization’s top peacekeeping official told the Security Council.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Mission ahead of its decision on renewing its current mandate, which expires on 15 April. Included in that document was a list of 11 benchmarks for an exit strategy for MINUJUSTH, which the Council established through Resolution 2350 (2017) as a successor to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Briefing the Council, he reviewed the progress the Mission had made so far in fulfilling its mandate to assist the Government of Haiti to strengthen rule of law institutions, to support and develop the Haitian National Police, and to carry out human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis.
“While achieving results should remain our common priority, we have already started to prepare for a transition to a non-peacekeeping presence, based on lessons learned in Haiti and in other contexts,” he said, explaining that a transition strategy was being drawn up — in consultation with the Government — that would build on existing United Nations-wide instruments, such as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
Mr. Lacroix said he was strongly encouraged by the willingness of and efforts by Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and his Government to create a climate for change. In that regard, he welcomed the President’s priorities on State reform and the maintenance of political and social stability, adding that the United Nations stood ready to support the Government in devising a clear road map for reforms, taking into account the Mission’s capacities on the ground.
“We have many reasons to be optimistic that this path to progress is irreversible, while we need to jointly — Haiti, the United Nations, international and regional partners — continue investing in the success of the country and United Nations engagement in it,” he said.
In the ensuing discussion, Haiti’s representative said his was a country of peace, with democracy being consolidated, institutions established under the Constitution functioning in a regular manner and human rights being respected and upheld. He reported progress in such areas as security, good governance and respect for the rule of law, and underscored a significant drop in violent crime. That said, he acknowledged that the Government was fully aware of progress yet to be made, having inherited the consequences of decades of neglect, structural handicaps and bottlenecks that would have to be tackled over the long term.
He said his Government had taken note of the Secretary-General’s withdrawal strategy for the Mission, but emphasized that nothing would be possible without scrupulous adherence to reciprocal obligations and a genuine spirit of solidarity, mutual respect and trust. He added that Haiti welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative on cholera, although the $7.7 million raised so far for the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund was woefully insufficient, and called for goodwill and predictable funding to ensure just compensation to cholera victims, their loved ones and others.
Canada’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, said structural reforms must address such challenges as prolonged pretrial detention and prison overcrowding, sexual and gender-based violence, greater women’s participation in decision-making, reforming and strengthening of the justice sector and enhancing social services. The Group welcomed steps taken by the Haitian Government towards greater security, stability and prosperity, and recommended that the Council extend the Mission’s mandate for another year with no changes to its level of resources.
The representative of the United States said Haitians themselves were taking the lead when it came to security and law enforcement. When peacekeeping worked well, countries could develop their own capacities to protect their citizens and put in place their own political processes. Welcoming the benchmarked exit strategy for MINUJUSTH, she said the United States was a long-standing friend and partner of Haiti — one that would continue to support its security priorities as well as its political and democratic development.
Chile’s representative was among several non-Council members from Latin America to take the floor, saying the international community should not lose sight of what had been achieved. The Mission could only consolidate progress made by closely cooperating with all national actors and through the active involvement of the international community, she said. Welcoming a significant reduction in cholera transmissions and fatalities, she applauded consultations with civil society, local leaders and cholera victims with a view towards addressing the scourge.
Also speaking were representatives of Bolivia, Netherlands, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait, China, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, as well as the European Union.
Read the coverage in French.