8641st Security Council Meeting: Situation in Haiti

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15-Oct-2019 02:04:04
United Nations peacekeeping operation in Haiti closes amid growing political, security challenges, top peace official tells Security Council at 8641st meeting.

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The United Nations long‑standing peacekeeping presence in Haiti closed its doors today amid mounting political and security challenges, which risk eroding strides facilitated by a generation of blue helmets, said the Organization’s senior peace operations official in a briefing to the Security Council.

“The current context is not an ideal [end to] 15 years of peacekeeping,” said Jean-Pierre LaCroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. Presenting the Secretary-General’s final report on the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) — whose mandate expires today — he warned the 15-member Council that a political stalemate in Haiti is leading to deteriorating security, violent protests and disruptions in humanitarian support. Haitians remain largely dissatisfied with their leaders and at least 30 people were reported killed during protests between 15 September and 9 October.

Noting that President Jovenel Moïse’s Government has not yet received confirmation in the Parliament, he warned that legislative elections cannot take place amid the stalemate and the stage is now set for an institutional vacuum. Calling on all parties to reject violence, he said the many strides achieved in the past 15 years — especially in reducing community violence, strengthening human rights and fostering accountability for victims — should not mask Haiti’s significant ongoing challenges. Emphasizing that the closure of MINUJUSTH does not represent the Organization’s departure, he said the shift to the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) presents an opportunity to re‑centre the Organization’s priorities.

Mona Juul (Norway), President of the Economic and Social Council, outlined the work of that body’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, whose establishment was mandated by the Security Council to issue recommendations on the country’s long‑term development. Stressing that its recent report “should sound the alarm for the international community” regarding the situation on the ground, she said significant economic and social stress and persistent humanitarian needs underpin Haiti’s current political instability. Indeed, she said, about 60 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and 2.6 million people are food insecure, requiring humanitarian assistance — twice as many as in 2018.

As Council members took the floor, several noted the fact that on Wednesday, 16 October, Haitians will wake up for the first time in 15 years in full control of their own security. Many speakers voiced concern about the country’s bleak economic outlook and dire humanitarian situation, while calling on national actors to reject violence and commit to resolving political differences peacefully.

To that point, the representative of the Dominican Republic urged all stakeholders in Haiti to engage in sincere dialogue and unite to face challenges, with support from the international community. Calling for efforts to address Haiti’s economic situation, he expressed hope that today’s meeting will forge solid commitments to support the Government in its quest for the rule of law and human development. To contribute to civility in the country, BINUH must have the Council’s full support and must be provided with adequate resources, he added.

France’s representative said the relationship between the United Nations and Haiti is now undergoing an important shift. Welcoming the progress made under the watch of both MINUSTAH and MINUJUSTH, she nevertheless urged the Council to remain clear-sighted about remaining challenges. Pledging France’s support, she underlined the need to assist Haiti’s institutions, bolster its National Police and help combat corruption, thereby rebuilding the population’s trust in its leaders.

The representative of the United States joined other speakers in expressing gratitude to those who have served in Haiti’s two peacekeeping missions — MINUJUSTH and its predecessor, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Praising the reforms accomplished in the country’s security sector and in implementing the rule of law, she emphasized that the new BINUH mission should be resourced to continue supporting such improvements. Pointing out that the United States remains Haiti’s largest bilateral donor, she urged other partners to increase their investments in the country and called on stakeholders to push forward tangible improvements.

Haiti’s delegate, describing the current United Nations transition as a turning point for his country, said MINUJUSTH’s closure is taking place at a delicate moment. While much progress has been made over the last 15 years, Haiti remains far from achieving stability. Calling on the United Nations to redouble its efforts in line with the priorities defined by national authorities, he said the national security forces require ongoing training, appropriate equipment and adequate resources. The Haitian people expect that the United Nations will continue to provide responsible support through BINUH’s good offices, in full respect for the country’s sovereignty, he said.

Also speaking were the representatives of Peru, Indonesia, Poland, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, China, Russian Federation, Côte d’Ivoire, Belgium, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, as well as the European Union.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 12:11 p.m.

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