Thank you Mr President.
I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sandra Honoré, for her briefing today.
The United Kingdom welcomes the Secretary-General’s latest report and appreciate the valuable contribution that the UN stabilisation mission has made to stability and progress in Haiti, as seen during this Council’s visit in January. I will focus my statement today on three key points: the 2015 elections, the security situation and the future of MINSUTAH.
In January this Council had the opportunity to see firsthand the contribution of MINUSTAH. It was also a chance to see the positive steps that Haiti is taking to ensure its own development and security. A further step is the recent confirmation that elections will be held this year.
The failure to hold elections in 2014, together with the dissolution of Haiti’s Parliament in January, led to uncertainty and insecurity among Haiti’s people. So we welcome the formation of an Electoral Council, the publication of the electoral Decree and the announcement of the electoral calendar. We commend the efforts of President Martelly and the political parties in finding the consensus needed to agree this.
As the Secretary-General acknowledges, there will be more challenges to the electoral process ahead, but this is a positive step. We call on all actors to play an active part in preparations to ensure the integrity and credibility of the elections.
We are pleased that the Secretary General reports that the security situation remains generally stable, particularly in parts of the country where MINUSTAH is no longer present.
The development and reach of the justice sector, including through corrections institutions, will support this stability and will ensure that the rule of law is justly applied in Haiti. As the Secretary-General reports, this is undermined by the recent prison escapes and resulting criminality. However, we commend the response of the Haitian National Police, which led to the recapture of escapees, including through collaboration with law enforcement agencies in the Dominican Republic. The report also highlights improvements to the Rule of Law, which are to be applauded, but there is clearly more to be done to end impunity and ensure accountability and transparency.
The role of MINUSTAH is to help Haiti take back responsibility for its security. And while MINUSTAH undoubtedly still has a stabilisation role to play in Haiti we are encouraged to read in the Secretary-General’s report of the increasing capacity and professionalism of the Haitian National Police. This is illustrated by the way they have dealt with recent political demonstrations, mostly without the need for overt logistical support from the military element of MINUSTAH.
We recognise that Haiti faces challenges in 2015 including elections, a weak economy and tensions across its border with the Dominican Republic. But we judge that a leaner, more flexible MINUSTAH, working in support of a growing and more professional Haitian National Police Force will be able to maintain stability and counter any threats to security. Our support for the drawdown of some of the military element of MINUSTAH is evidence of our confidence in the Haitian National Police and in a leaner MINUSTAH force to ensure stability while elections take place.
We are encouraged by the work already done by MINUSTAH, alongside the UN Country Team, to reconfigure and consolidate their resources. We particularly welcome the decision to develop, with the Government of Haiti, a roadmap to guide the transition of functions from the mission to other actors. We look forward to receiving an update on this process in the Secretary-General’s next report.
Together with political progress, we see development, rather than peacekeeping actors, are the key to securing Haiti’s future and we hope that Member States will support the UN Country Team and Government of Haiti to find the right people and resources for this crucial work.
Haiti faces a difficult period, not least due to economic pressures and tensions with its neighbour. Despite some progress, Haiti still faces challenges. However, we are confident with the right level of support Haiti will continue to progress and take increasing responsibility for its own security and development. Maintaining the reform of the justice sector, the police and corrections facilities and ensuring that the delayed elections take place will be vital to building stability and safeguarding Haiti’s future.
Thank you Mr President.