STATEMENT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, Sandra Honoré on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti
1. I would like to express my gratitude to the United States Presidency of the Security Council, for convening today’s session on Haiti.
2. Je saisis l’opportunité pour saluer la présence du Représentant permanent d’Haïti.
3. Me gustaría agradecer, de manera particular, a todos los países que contribuyen tropas y personal policial a la MINUSTAH y a todos los Estados miembros que colaboran con el proceso de consolidación de la estabilidad en Haití. Distinguished members of the Council,
4. Six months ago when I last briefed the Security Council, in the aftermath of the passage of the devastating Hurricane Matthew, we called for solidarity with the Government and people of Haiti as the country struggled to keep on track an electoral process, critical for the consolidation of its stability. Today, as a result of the successful holding of elections on 20 November 2016 and 29 January 2017, Haiti’s political outlook for 2017 and beyond has significantly improved, with the opening of a crucial window of opportunity to address the root causes of the political crisis that preceded the polls. The elections provided for the installation of all directly-elected officials at all levels of Haiti’s governance structure for the first time since 2006, including the peaceful transfer of power to the third democratically-elected President since MINUSTAH’s deployment to Haiti in 2004.
5. In contrast with the parliamentary dysfunction registered in 2015, all 119 Lower Chamber members have been elected and all but one of the 30 Senators have been seated; among those are four women; and the 50th Legislature has been functioning regularly since the opening of the second Legislative year on 9 January. Municipal authorities have been in place almost a year now and the publication of final results for local elections is imminent. Following the inauguration of Haiti’s 58th President Jovenel Moïse on 7 February, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant and his Cabinet assumed their functions after Parliament’s endorsement on 22 March. Haiti’s return to Constitutional order and the full functioning of the Executive, the Legislature and local government has now set the stage to address the many pressing challenges facing the country. Distinguished Representatives,
6. A relatively stable security situation prevails, despite continuous signs of fragility. The Haitian National Police (HNP), now 14,000 strong, has demonstrated increased capacity in the planning and execution of complex operations, including the securing of the elections, while simultaneously performing routine tasks in combating crime and more effectively maintaining public order. Further development of the national police, including in the areas of internal management and oversight, the police-to-population ratio and the geographic coverage will have to occur within the framework of the new five-year strategic development plan 2017- 2021 to ensure the sustainability of the law enforcement body.
7. To this end, international support, including from the UN, will be needed to enable the HNP to eventually provide security for all Haitian citizens. I have called on the Government to continue prioritizing the further professionalization and the provision of financial and material resources to the HNP, despite its stated intention to reconstitute a national defense force. The preservation, by the Government, of the apolitical character of the police will be particularly critical to the credibility of the institution and its ability to serve all Haitian citizens. Ladies and gentlemen,
8. Political challenges remain the primary impediment to consistent progress in the administration of justice and human rights to truly anchor the rule of law and render police work more effective whilst creating conditions conducive for foreign and domestic investment and job creation.
9. The justice and human rights system continues to suffer from multiple deficiencies, including a lack of popular confidence, accountability, limited institutional capacity, high rates of prolonged pre-trial detention and inhumane conditions of detention. These deficiencies call for a renewed engagement of the Executive and the Legislative alike to devise a comprehensive reform package that can finally tackle these long-standing hurdles to stability and development. In this context, the discontinuation of the mandate of the United Nations’ Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti is regrettable, and I continue to call on the Government to nominate a ministerial-level focal point for human rights and to expedite the transparent and merit-based appointment of the National Ombudsperson, even as the United Nations’ monitoring role of the human rights situation continues.
10. Equally, the outcome of the recent action taken to fill key appointments in the Supreme Court and the Superior Council of the Judiciary is eagerly awaited as important steps to fully restore the judiciary and underpin its independence from the Executive and Legislative powers. Ladies and Gentlemen,
11. The resolution of Haiti’s protracted politico-electoral crisis has established the political space and institutional stability needed for Haiti’s democratic institutions to develop a constructive and forward-looking agenda to deliver tangible results that respond to the diverse expectations of the Haitian people, in the wake of post-hurricane reconstruction and a difficult economic situation, while addressing the root causes of weak governance and recurring political crisis.
This will be critical in order to establish conditions conducive to lasting stability and sustainable development, also in view of MINUSTAH’s transition.
12. In this regard, I am encouraged by the President’s calls and those of Haitian political, civil society and private sector leaders in support of a genuine dialogue on a concrete roadmap for progress in key areas, including the identification of clear development priorities and the consolidation of the rule of law. It will be important that this roadmap be driven by the desire to enhance delivery of the State and the confidence among Haitian citizens in the democratic institutions. The United Nations in Haiti look forward to intensifying our cooperation with all Haitian stakeholders as they identify and implement those national priorities. I am also encouraged by the calls from a broad cross-section of Haitian society for constitutional reform to, among other things, simplify the electoral cycle and strengthen legal oversight bodies with a view to stabilizing the country’s democratic institutions and reforming its governance. Honorable Members of the Council,
13. The progress achieved during the past 13 years in Haiti’s stabilization process is notable. It is therefore timely to reshape the partnership among the international community, the United Nations and Haiti with a view to ensuring the sustainability of this progress. It is with this in mind, that the Secretary-General has recommended the closure of MINUSTAH in six months from now and the establishment of a smaller peacekeeping operation with concentrated focus on the rule of law and police development, with strong good offices and human rights monitoring roles. With your support, the transition from MINUSTAH to a new and smaller Mission would be guided by a Joint Transition Plan that underpins the gradual transfer of tasks to the Government, international partners and the UN Country Team. 14. Government leadership and ownership will be as crucial for a sustainable transition process that underpins the implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendation for the future of the United Nations’ presence in the country as will be a shift in focus of the international community’s support, away from stabilization to institutional strengthening. 15. J’encourage le Président de la République, ainsi que le nouveau gouvernement et le Parlement, à mettre en œuvre un programme de réformes institutionnelles visant à renforcer la gouvernance à tous les niveaux et à régler les problèmes politiques et socio-économiques les plus urgents. In the same vein, I call on Haiti’s international partners to forge a renewed partnership with the Haitian authorities and the Haitian people and to lend their support to assist the authorities in implementing reforms in a coordinated manner that helps to consolidate the gains already achieved. 16. I thank all my colleagues in MINUSTAH and the UN Country Team for their dedication and commitment during this critical period for Haiti. And I thank all of Haiti’s international partners for your continuous support in assisting the country to fully seize this exceptional opportunity to begin a new chapter in Haiti’s history as the Mission transitions. Thank you.