Security Council

Haiti - Security Council, 8871st meeting

The question concerning Haiti.
Haiti’s Foreign Minister today called upon the Security Council to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations special political mission in that country in supporting Government efforts in the areas of security and protection of civilians. “These are the legitimate expectations of the people who have suffered enough from gang violence, kidnapping and widespread crime,” said Claude Joseph, Minister for Foreign Affairs, demanding that the Council consider the new realities facing the country and adjust the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) accordingly. While recognizing the limitations of BINUH given its advisory role, he stressed the need to help strengthen the operational capacities of the rule of law institutions, particularly the Haitian National Police. His request came as the 15‑member Council heard briefings by Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Haiti and Head of BINUH as well as Emmanuela Douyon, Executive Director of POLICITÉ, a civil society organization. Presenting the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Haiti (document S/2021/828), issued ahead of the expiration of BINUH’s current mandate on 15 October, Ms. La Lime described the country as currently undergoing “one of the most fraught periods of its recent history”, referring to the 7 July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the 14 August earthquake, which affected more than 800,000 people in its southwestern peninsula. These two events have led long‑awaited national and local elections to be further postponed, she added. Since assuming office on 20 July, the acting Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, has spared no effort to reach a political agreement with the various factions of the Haitian polity, she reported. Mr. Henry has sought to create minimal conditions for the holding of legislative, local and presidential elections, while actors from across the political spectrum and civil society organizations, including former opposition and ruling coalition groups, adhered to the 11 September political agreement, she added. Despite the bleak situation in Haiti, she declared: “There exist encouraging signs that only reinforce my conviction that, through urgent, determined and concerted action, Haiti’s citizens can address the deep structural challenges, as well as the governance and development deficits, which feed their country’s instability, insecurity and ever‑growing humanitarian needs.” Ms. Douyon, outlining several recommendations, called for elections to be held only when they can be fair, and stressed the need to avoid arbitrary timelines. She also urged the “controversial” and divisive constitutional referendum to be abandoned. Over the past six months, a grassroots movement encompassing 500 civil society groups and more than 50 political parties has sought to ensure a return to constitutional order and the rule of law, she said, emphasizing that peace must be restored without resorting to the dispatch of troops or peace missions. Noting the need to strengthen the police, she asked the United Nations to support the judiciary, put an end to the illicit transfer of money, and bring the corrupt to justice. BINUH must not be seen “as picking political winners”, she said, urging the Integrate Office to work with civil society to promote dialogue, reforms, accountability and reduce gang violence. Turning to development assistance, she said Haiti needs adequate aid, “not crumbs of humanitarian aid that only acts as a Band‑Aid”. These funds can be directed to capable local civil society groups to ensure efficiency and accountability. In the ensuing debate, Council members concurred on the need for Haiti to hold free, fair and inclusive elections towards a democratic future. They also exchanged views on the role of BUNUH in supporting a new Government. The representative of the United States said that for Haiti to chart a path to democracy, free and fair elections must be held as soon as conditions permit. All must work together to return the country to democratic governance and build up viable institutions, including a just and fair judiciary, she said. The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, also speaking for Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, voiced support for the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) offer of its good offices to facilitate a Haitian-led and Haitian-owned solution to the current situation. Norway’s delegate urged the Council to renew BINUH’s mandate without delay, saying that given the complexities and challenges that face Haiti and the Integrated Office, now is not the time for Council support to falter. China’s representative said that the United Nations presence in Haiti must be improved and adjusted to meet its pressing needs in a renewed mandate to help it overcome the current crisis. Also speaking were representatives of Mexico, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, India, Russian Federation, Ireland, Estonia and France. The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:47 a.m.