8068th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Haiti

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SIX OFFICIAL 12-Oct-2017 02:49:40
Justice support operation to replace stabilization mission in Haiti on 15 October, Special Representative tells Security Council at 8068th meeting.
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The United Nations peacekeeping operation in Haiti would close on 15 October and be replaced the following day by a smaller successor mission to help the Government consolidate stability, implement institutional reforms and enhance the rule of law, human rights and governance, the United Nations top official in the country told the Security Council this morning.

Recalling the climate of lawlessness and impunity that had plagued the nation when the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established, Sandra Honoré, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of MINUSTAH, said that, today, 13 and a half years later, Haiti had a different outlook despite many challenges. There was greater security and stability. Armed gangs no longer held the population hostage. A 14,000 strong capable police force existed. All three branches of power were in place, with directly elected officials, denoting progress in the implementation of the Constitution. In four days, the new United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) would become operational.

“It is against this background that I am encouraged by the overall direction that the current Administration has adopted,” she said, stressing that there was no doubt that the achievements, while significant, were only first steps. Immediate improvements had yet to be felt in rural areas. Amid a climate of socioeconomic grievances, the maintenance of stability might depend on the Administration’s ability to move more swiftly to implement reforms based on dialogue with different sectors and under a unified national vision, she said. She also stressed the need for continued stability, with established rule of law and human rights for all Haitians.

The representative of Haiti said democracy, strengthening State institutions, promotion and protection of human rights, and bolstering national institutions to face challenges were the continuing focus of the Administration, as was the fight against corruption. In areas identified as having seen only limited progress — including the judiciary, human rights in the penal system and the adoption of needed legislative changes — he assured the Council that the Government was focused on finding solutions. National dialogue would be pursued to make national rebuilding a project of the entire population. Building a national army focused on development was part of that effort.

Welcoming the mandate of MINUJUSTH in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights, he maintained that such work should no longer be done under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, with respect to threats to international security, but under Chapter VI, and that that matter must be revisited. He stressed that cooperation with the United Nations, in the new era, must become more dynamic and allow the country to take ownership and move towards sustainable development.

In the ensuing debate, speakers welcomed advancements since the establishment of MINUSTAH, pointing to progress toward stability, security and democracy. Several speakers noted that the drawdown of the Mission’s military and police personnel had not impacted the security situation. The representative of the United States, echoed by other speakers, said the transition to MINUJUSTH in Haiti was a model example of how United Nations missions should adapt as realities on the ground changed. The United Kingdom’s representative pointed out in that regard that the two-year transition period could set precedence for future peacekeeping missions.

Peru’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti, recognized the MINUSTAH’s important role in strengthening the rule of law and improving socioeconomic conditions, which were essential to bring about greater prosperity and stability. More progress must be made in the judicial sphere, strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights, and empowering women. Haiti continued to face significant humanitarian challenges and was exposed to natural disasters. It was therefore essential to bring about lasting stability accompanied by sustainable development.

Brazil’s representative said MINUSTAH, under Brazil’s command, had shown the potential for innovative approaches that could serve as a model for other peacekeeping missions. The approach to create trust-building measures, the inclusion of women in all areas of the Mission, and quick impact projects, among other things, had been crucial for the consolidation of the rule of law. MINUSTAH had always been rigorous in dealing with the rare cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The success of the new Mission would depend on its ability to establish partnerships and mutual understanding with the Government.

Noting that the socioeconomic situation was still fragile and progress in the rule of law and human rights was slow, Uruguay’s representative said he shared the concern of many regarding the process of remobilizing Haiti’s armed forces. Noting that there was no risk of external aggression, he said all efforts should be concentrated on development and strengthening of institutional structures. Argentina’s representative said in that regard that the development of the armed forces should not negatively impact development of the National Police.

Echoing other speakers, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed the importance of national ownership. The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Haiti should be guided by the Mission’s mandate and by the principle of national ownership, he said, stressing that programmes in security, politics and development must be framed by the Government. All national stakeholders had a shared responsibility for maintaining peace. A strong Government and a cohesive society could help in overcoming the consequences of natural disasters.

Many speakers welcomed the new approach by the Organization to the cholera epidemic in Haiti and called for contributions to the United Nations Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund. The United Nations had a moral debt to Haiti regarding the cholera epidemic, Mexico’s representative said in that regard.

All speakers paid tribute to the men and women of MINUSTAH, to the troop- and police-contributing countries, and to those who had lost their lives in helping the country.

The representatives of Italy, Bolivia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Sweden, France, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community) also spoke, as did the European Union.

The meeting started at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 12:56 p.m.
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