Delegates Voice Grave Concern over Gang Violence, ongoing Political Deadlock
Progress along a sustainable democratic path in Haiti hinges on rebuilding crumbling institutions and forging an inclusive dialogue to foster stability and peace alongside a time-bound electoral calendar, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country told the Security Council today.
“Now is not the time to let Haiti fall off the [Security Council] agenda,” Helen La Lime, who also serves as Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), said via videoconference. Providing political and security updates related to the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2022/117), she said Haiti “remains fraught and highly polarized despite some signs of progress”. To date there has been no progress in establishing accountability for the 2020 assassination of Monferrier Dorval or the 2018 massacre in La Saine, while the national investigation into the assassination of President Jovenal Moïse has stalled. At the same time, gang violence continues to terrorize communities across Haiti, and a new layer of complexity was added by the effects of the August 2021 earthquake, with 4.9 million people — 43 per cent of the population — needing assistance in 2022.
Highlighting positive developments and ways to trigger more of them, she noted the continued efforts of Prime Minister Ariel Henry to meet with all actors to reach a consensus and move the political process forward. Success, however, will be determined by the collective willingness to cooperate, with stakeholders putting national goals over their own. Ending impunity and supporting the Haitian National Police to boost its anti-gang operations are essential. Indeed, for Haiti to emerge from the multiple crises it faces, she said all Haitian leaders must work constructively towards holding elections and ensure urgent structural reforms are implemented to combat gang violence, build institutions and to transform the economy.
Council members echoed grave concerns about the persistent political deadlock, gang violence and dire humanitarian conditions. Some called for expeditious investigations into the 7 July assassination of President Moïse and sweeping justice-sector reform to end impunity and combat corruption.
“It is too early to talk about progress here,” the Russian Federation’s representative said, citing such challenges as the flareup of criminal gangs, civil unrest, a power vacuum at all levels, ineffective law enforcement and a flood of firearms onto the island. As such, the United Nations mission should do more than simply help while making effective national dialogue its top priority, he said.
Kenya’s representative, speaking also for Gabon and Ghana, said Haiti continues to pay a steep price for its victory over slavery two centuries ago — blockades, forced prosperity-destroying reparations and colonization. The Haitian people have seemed to be punished from the day their forefathers announced their freedom until recently, he said, adding that the task today is to engage in the Security Council to restore Haiti’s shared prosperity, through Haitian-owned and led strategies.
Mexico’s representative said: “The time has come for political differences in Haiti […] to be settled at the ballot box.” Calling for comprehensive attention to the deep-rooted causes of violence, he noted Mexico’s efforts in Haiti to fight organized crime, strengthen the community fabric and train Haitian police officers. He expressed hope that the assessment called for in resolution 2600 (2021) will help inform the Council on how to render the United Nations presence in Haiti even more effective.
France’s delegate, noting her country’s €6.5 million contribution to Haiti and a shared history with the Caribbean nation, echoed calls to enhance progress through such actions as inclusive national dialogue and improved crime-fighting capacities for police. As BINUH is undergoing an evaluation, she said maintaining a United Nations presence is essential.
In the same vein, the United States delegate said: “Haiti does not stand alone.” The current situation continues to demonstrate how vital the United Nations support is, she said, adding that the upcoming renewal of BINUH’s mandate will be another milestone on the heels of recent conferences that have garnered international support for Haiti.
Also speaking were representatives of China, Ireland, Norway, India, Albania, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, United Kingdom and Haiti.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:27 a.m.