UN / HAITI

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19-Jun-2020 00:01:38
UN Special Representative for Haiti Helen La Lime said the COVID-19 pandemic was worsening the already dire economic and humanitarian situation in the country. She added, "In the absence of adequate resources to support Haiti's emergence from the recession in which it has plunged, the hard-won security and development gains achieved over the course of the past decade and a half risk coming undone.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / HAITI
TRT: 1:38
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 JUNE 2020, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

19 JUNE 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiple screens, participants
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
"It's also the result of the initial staunch opposition by local communities to seeing such centres open in their midst, a manifestation of the lingering climate of denial, stigma and discrimination that exists in the country."
4. Multiple screens, participants
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
"In the absence of adequate resources to support Haiti's emergence from the recession in which it has plunged, the hard-won security and development gains achieved over the course of the past decade and a half risk coming undone, and a primarily domestic problem could transform into a regional issue should an already alarming humanitarian situation continue to worsen and increasing numbers of Haitians be tempted to seek better fortunes abroad."
6. Multiple screens, participants
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
"The vicious circle of mistrust, recrimination, and ultimately violence, is once again starting to define the dynamics of Haitian politics, at a time when the entire society should be unified in its response to the pandemic and striving to lay more virtuous and lasting foundations on which to build its future."
8. Multiple screens, participants

STORYLINE:

UN Special Representative for Haiti Helen La Lime said the COVID-19 pandemic was worsening the already dire economic and humanitarian situation in the country. She added, "In the absence of adequate resources to support Haiti's emergence from the recession in which it has plunged, the hard-won security and development gains achieved over the course of the past decade and a half risk coming undone.”

Addressing a virtual meeting of the Security Council today (19 Jun), La Lime said the COVID-19 pandemic was stretching Haiti's already fragile healthcare system and testing its social safety net. She said three months after President Jovenel Moïse declared a health emergency in response to the pandemic, the country continues to struggle to open medical centres dedicated to combating COVID-19.

She said, despite having a population of 11 million, Haiti only has the capacity to treat a few hundred COVID-19 cases at a time. She explained that this situation is due in part to sub-optimal coordination at both the national and local levels and inadequate funding of the national response.

SOUNDBITE (English) Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
"It's also the result of the initial staunch opposition by local communities to seeing such centres open in their midst, a manifestation of the lingering climate of denial, stigma and discrimination that exists in the country."

The Special Representative said, so far, some 4,900 cases have been confirmed in the country resulting in 84 deaths, adding that the numbers are likely much higher. She said the effects of the pandemic were only starting to be felt by Haitian citizens, the majority of whom were already living in bleak socio-economic conditions.

La Lime reported that Haiti's economy contracted by 1.2 per cent in 2019 and is projected to shrink by another four per cent this year with unemployment on the rise, the local currency losing its value against the dollar and inflation consistently exceeding 20 per cent. She said, if Haiti’s economic woes are not addressed, “a primarily domestic problem could transform into a regional issue should an already alarming humanitarian situation continue to worsen and increasing numbers of Haitians be tempted to seek better fortunes abroad."

The Special Representative noted that part of the opposition called on Haitians to come together to combat pandemic which allowed newly appointed Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe to actually govern. However, early signs of the executive’s intentions to prepare for long overdue legislative and local elections have re-ignited passions, she said.

La Lime said the past few weeks have seen a marked by an increase in the frequency and intensity of clashes between rival armed gangs trying to control greater territory in Port au Prince likely to exert influence on the results of elections.

SOUNDBITE (English) Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH):
"The vicious circle of mistrust, recrimination, and ultimately violence, is once again starting to define the dynamics of Haitian politics, at a time when the entire society should be unified in its response to the pandemic and striving to lay more virtuous and lasting foundations on which to build its future."

The Special Representative said it is becoming increasingly evident that a reform of the Haitian constitution is required to break this circle and to create the conditions for institutional stability, good governance and the rule of law. She added that such reform could only be successful as a result of a nationally owned process.
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