I join you in thanking the Secretary-General, President Clinton and President Preval for their briefings this morning. We welcome this debate, not just on the strengthening of democracy in Haiti, but also on the role of United Nations peacekeeping. And in that latter context I would like to take this opportunity to express the condolences of the British Government to the Secretary-General for the deaths of United Nations Peacekeepers and civilians staff in recent days in Afghanistan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Cote D’Ivoire. Their suffering, their fate, was an important and a sobering reminder to us of the dangers which United Nations personnel face every week worldwide as they go about their work on behalf of all of us.
The United Kingdom welcomes the preliminary results of the second round of the Presidential elections in Haiti, and we are encouraged by the initial positive assessment by the OAS/CARICOM observation mission. We look forward to the announcement of the final result on 16 April and urge the authorities to meet that deadline. As Haiti enters the final stage of this electoral process, we call upon on all parties and all candidates to continue to demonstrate their commitment to democracy and to the rule of law.
We believe that the new elected President - in partnership with the new Parliament - should push forward with an agenda to rebuild the administrative capacity of the government of Haiti and to provide the necessary platform for international investment and for job creation. We want to see the highest priority given to a continued commitment by the new authorities in Haiti to inclusiveness, to accountability and impartiality, and a demonstrable willingness to engage constructively with the international community.
The humanitarian situation is improving, but Haiti continues to face very serious challenges in meeting basic needs, principally permanent shelter, clean water and sanitation, as President Clinton said to us this morning, as well as fighting cholera. And the new Haitian President will need to demonstrate strong leadership in order to address those challenges.
The lack of capacity of the Haitian National Police continues to have a worrying impact on the safety and security of vulnerable Haitians, including women and children. The Haitian government must reach a position where MINUSTAH’s troops are no longer the main providers of security in Haiti. And MINUSTAH, for its part, should continue to do its utmost to support the development of local policing capabilities. Building the capacity of Haiti’s own police is the only sustainable solution in the long-term as MINUSTAH cannot stay in Haiti forever. We therefore look forward to the next police Reform Plan, which will map out this essential capacity-building work for 2012 and beyond.
My government also believes that it is vital that Haiti’s state institutions are afforded the same attention and priority. A fully functioning judiciary and other rule of law institutions with, as President Preval pointedly reminded us, no room for impunity, are paramount. The rehabilitation of the Haitian corrections system is another key element in the recovery process, and donors including the United Kingdom have channelled their efforts into making valuable progress in this important area.
We continue to underline the importance of the role of the international donor community has to play in helping to re-establish Haiti’s institutions and to invigorate its economy. And we would like to join with other Member States in calling for all outstanding pledges to be fulfilled without delay.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the British government to thank President Clinton and his colleagues for their work on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. We urge the Commission to redouble its efforts to achieve efficiencies in the donor co-ordination process, and to increase the pace at which donor assistance is able to get to those places where it is most desperately needed.
MINUSTAH continues to play a fundamental role in maintaining peace and security in Haiti and is a crucial deterrent in the fight against violent crime and civil disorder. As we reach the end of 2011 we hope to see the conclusion of MINUSTAH’s two-year ‘surge’ period. We hope that political stability and improved security will enable a drawdown of the additional military personnel that were deployed to MINUSTAH early last year as part of the United Nation’s immediate disaster response. This improved stability and security should create space for the private sector to play a more prominent role in the efforts to create employment and rebuild the country. Now of course, this has to be an effort that is led by the government and the people of Haiti themselves, but private enterprises from across the international community, including from the United Kingdom, stand ready to assist and to invest.
My government’s view is that the United Nations must now begin to reassess the nature of our longer term support to Haiti. We need to explore how the development role of donors and the United Nations agencies and programmes can best supplement and complement the peacekeeping role of MINUSTAH.
And finally, Mr President
I would like to place on record our thanks to the men and women of MINUSTAH for their ongoing efforts in Haiti. And in particular, I want to pay tribute to Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Edmond Mulet, for his outstanding contribution, including driving that United Nations response to the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Thank you very much.
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