Réunion du Conseil de Sécurité sur Haïti
Réunion du Conseil de Sécurité sur Haïti
Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti Sandra Honoré to the Security Council 11 October 2016
1. I would like to express my gratitude to the Russian Federation, in its capacity as President of the Security Council, for convening today’s session on Haiti and MINUSTAH.
2. Je profite également pour saluer la présence du Représentant permanent de la République d’Haïti. Distinguished members of the Council,
3. We are in solidarity, together with the people and Government of Haiti, as the country again faces loss of life and destruction caused by natural disaster. I am deeply saddened by the deaths and the suffering among Haitian families and the overall physical toll on the country inflicted by Hurricane Matthew. Avant de vous faire un exposé sur l’impact de l’ouragan Matthew, ainsi que sur les mesures immédiates déjà prises par les Nations Unies en Haïti, je voudrais transmettre encore mes plus sincères condoléances au peuple et au gouvernement d’Haïti.
4. The Category Four Hurricane made landfall on 4 October in south-western Haiti causing death, widespread damage, flooding and displacement, resulting in the largest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. The Government of Haiti estimates that more than 2.1 million persons have been affected, with more than 1.4 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The Ministry of the Interior has confirmed 372 deaths, a figure that is likely to rise, while more than 60,000 people have been evacuated and remain in temporary shelters.
5. Hurricane Matthew impacted the entire South of the country, with the departments of Grand’Anse, Nippes, South and South East bearing the brunt of the destruction. In the affected area, where small-scale farming is the main source of income, the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people have been lost, as up to 80 per cent of crops and livestock vanished. The hurricane inflicted major damage on Haiti’s public infrastructure, washing away roads and bridges, blowing away tin roofs, flooding schools, many identified to serve as voting centres, and leaving whole towns submerged and inaccessible for several days. A critical bridge connecting the southern Peninsula to the capital, Port-au-Prince, collapsed, cutting off essential supply lines and disrupting commercial food supply chains, further impeding access to the affected areas, which also lost telephone communication.
6. Though the full extent of the physical damage is still being assessed by the Government as access to the affected areas is gradually expanded, there can be no doubt: This is a humanitarian tragedy and an acute emergency situation, with 1,4 million persons in need of immediate assistance, from the Haitian Government, with support from its international partners. During two visits to the Southern Peninsula, I have myself witnessed how desperately this assistance is needed. And it is needed quickly as health conditions deteriorate and basic supplies are running out.
7. The health impact of this disaster cannot be overestimated. Water and sanitation infrastructure, already fragile, has been severely damaged; the absence of clean drinking water and the contamination by sewage of other water sources, is causing a very high level of infections from diarrheal disease, including but not exclusively, cholera. In response, we are providing water purification systems, and medicine to hard-to-reach areas. There are hundreds of suspected cholera cases, and we are already seeing the first deaths. Protecting vulnerable populations from cholera, and ensuring the restoration, and in some cases the installation, of water and sanitation systems, has to be one of the priorities for humanitarian action.
8. To address these needs and to provide other life-saving assistance to 750,000 persons for the next three months, the United Nations and humanitarian agencies yesterday launched a Flash Appeal for US $120 million. I express my sincere thanks to all of you for the prompt support you have provided and continue to provide, and call on all Member States to contribute urgently to the Appeal, in support of the response being led by the Government of Haiti. In this context, I wish to commend the Government for the leadership which it has so far demonstrated in setting the priorities and coordinating the immediate response, and I encourage all partners to align with this leadership and further strengthen the capacities of the Civil Protection Directorate and concerned Ministries. Dealing with recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of the hurricane will require, more than ever, a coordinated approach behind an agenda defined by the Government.
9. The United Nations, along with other governmental and non-governmental international and local partners, started supporting the Haitian authorities in addressing the immediate needs of the affected population in shelter, water, sanitation and food assistance during this emergency response phase and even before, through prepositioning stocks of lifesaving food and non-food items. MINUSTAH’s civilian and uniformed personnel and capacities are being put to full use in support of the humanitarian efforts, by opening up access to roads, providing airlift and supporting the Haitian National Police in securing humanitarian workers and stocks, among other tasks. Distinguished members of the Council,
10. Not only did Hurricane Matthew bring destruction to Haiti, it has also affected the country’s political outlook, rendering impossible the holding on 9 October of the Presidential elections repeated from last year, as well as the partial senatorial elections and legislative reruns. And this, despite the resolve shown by the Haitian Government, the Provisional Electoral Council, and the Haitian National Police in preparing for the elections and working to create a conducive environment.
11. In light of the considerable humanitarian challenges and the damage to critical infrastructure caused by the Hurricane, the Provisional Electoral Council postponed the elections, pending completion of an assessment of the impact of the hurricane on the electoral process, including of the Provisional Electoral Council’s capacities in the departments. Preliminary reports by the Council indicate that at least 70 per cent of voting centres may have been affected in the South department, and even more in Grand’Anse, where many areas are still inaccessible.
12. Prior to the disruption caused by the hurricane, technical preparations had largely been on track for the holding of the elections. Most political actors were committed to renewing the country’s key democratic institutions through elections as a crucial first step toward Haiti’s return to Constitutional order, following the extended period of transitional governance. No political party had boycotted the process, and the large number of registered candidates and parties reflected a broad participation of actors across the political spectrum, setting the stage for an inclusive electoral process.
13. L’engagement démontré par les autorités haïtiennes en ce qui concerne l’appropriation de tous les aspects du processus électoral, y compris les aspects financiers et opérationnels, est prometteur, notamment dans le contexte de la réduction éventuelle des effectifs de la MINUSTAH. Alors que le Conseil électoral provisoire s’apprête à annoncer un nouveau calendrier électoral, il est important de trouver le bon équilibre visant à maintenir l’élan généré pour les élections et à prendre en compte les considérations techniques et politiques, tout en faisant face à la plus grande crise humanitaire qu’Haïti ait connue depuis 2010.
14. In light of the simultaneous challenges of addressing the impact of the Hurricane and preparing for the holding of the much-anticipated elections, the Provisional Electoral Council and the Haitian National Police will need vigorous support, from the Government and its international partners, to build on the pre-Hurricane preparations and to ensure the credibility and the integrity of the process. Further, now more than ever, all necessary measures must be taken to ensure that the political process is managed in a manner that generates the consensus needed among the national actors to overcome the political and humanitarian challenges facing the country. I therefore call on all national actors to place the needs of the Haitian people above all and unite behind this goal, also with a view to preserving the relative stability which marked the security situation prior to the passage of Hurricane Matthew and throughout the electoral campaign. In this context, I condemn the random attacks on vehicles transporting food and other life-saving supplies and urge the country’s authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent such attacks from happening. Ladies and Gentlemen,
15. Despite the imperative need for all actors, including MINUSTAH, to focus on the emergency response, we cannot lose sight of the longer term challenges and priorities. In addition to facilitating and supporting a coordinated Government-led recovery and reconstruction agenda, no effort can be spared to continue strengthening the rule of law institutions and most notably the Haitian National Police. Despite progress in both strength and performance since my last briefing, the Haitian National Police is yet to become operationally independent and continues to require support both of the Government of Haiti and international partners to fully provide for security throughout the country.
16. Less than three months before the end of the 2012 – 2016 HNP Development Plan, work on the “HNP Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021” is reaching its final stages, determining objectives with respect to the required police to population ratio and identifying areas in which continuous specialized support is needed for further institutional and operational improvement of the national police. The new five-year strategy will also provide additional impetus for MINUSTAH’s security transition planning, thereby informing the Strategic Assessment expected to be conducted prior to the Mission’s mandate expiration. Distinguished members of the Council,
17. The impact of Hurricane Matthew on the political process and on stability in the country can only serve to reconfirm the recommendation of the Secretary-General for a six-month extension, at the current force and police strength, until 15 April 2017. This will allow MINUSTAH to support the Haitian authorities in their efforts to return to full Constitutional order amidst the humanitarian crisis created by Hurricane Matthew.
18. I thank all my colleagues in MINUSTAH and the UN Country Team for their dedication and commitment during this challenging period for Haiti, and express my sincere respect to all the humanitarian and civil protection workers, who are making tireless efforts under severe conditions. And I call on all of Haiti’s international partners to continue to lend your support to the country to rapidly overcome the new challenges occasioned by the hurricane so that focus of all can be returned to strengthening the country’s economic, physical and institutional infrastructure.