“The future of Haiti is in the hands of the national authorities”
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Statement by Ambassador Tatham of the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council debate on MINUSTAH
Thank you, Madam President.
I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sandra Honoré, for her briefing today. We recognise MINUSTAH’s continued contribution to stability and progress in Haiti and would like to thank the departing Force Commander, Lieutenant General Edson Leal Pujol, for his service in MINUSTAH. And, we would now like to welcome Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandy Jr. as the new Force Commander.
Haiti stands in a stronger position today than for some time in recent history. As we see from the Secretary-General’s report, notable progress has been made in areas such as re-housing internally displaced persons, building the capacity of the Haitian National Police – who are taking greater responsibility for security throughout the country – and in the striking downward trend in major crimes. We also welcome the economic growth reported by the SRSG and the building block this provides for sustainable development.
But gains can be threatened by a lack of political progress in holding elections. For Haiti’s future development and stability long-overdue local, municipal and partial senatorial elections must be held.
Dialogue between the Executive and Parliamentary branches of Government and the political parties in Haiti is essential to resolve the political impasse. We urge all parties to address democratic governance, elections and constitutional amendments through the national dialogue process. As the SRSG said, a path has been prepared towards inclusive and transparent elections. It is essential that this path is followed in 2014 leading to a clear destination in the form of the holding of elections.
We are pleased to see that the benchmarks laid out in the Consolidation Plan are on track and we welcome the SRSG’s assessment that these could be accelerated given the progress in Haiti to date. The Haitian National Police are more visible, more proactive and more in the lead of security operations across Haiti. We applaud the advances made in recruitment, training and operational responsibility.
At the same time, in order to complement improvements in the Haitian National Police, the judicial and prison sectors must make similar advances. More work is necessary, in particular by the Government of Haiti, to develop justice and accountability institutions. Today these institutions provide limited access to justice, are weak and open to influence and maintain pre-trial detention periods that are unacceptable. And this must change.
We agree with the report of the Secretary-General that the functions likely to remain relevant beyond 2016 will be continued support for the development of the Haitian National Police; consolidation of political stabilization gains through good offices; continued strengthening of the rule of law through security sector and legislative reforms; and, the promotion and protection of human rights.
With these tasks in mind, we agree with the report’s assessment that the future United Nations presence in Haiti will need to have a more tailored mandate and a lighter footprint to ensure the UN presence is appropriate to Haiti’s needs today. We now await the outcomes of the Strategic Assessment and urge this to be conducted as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing the outcomes of this assessment in the next report of the Secretary-General. We welcome the fact that the Secretary-General’s recent report sets out a broad range of options, particularly given what we have just heard about political progress and continued improvement in the performance of the Haitian National Police, and if this welcome trends are sustained, we believe we should be ready to consider ambitious options for the UN presence post-2016, which prioritise Haitian ownership.
The future of Haiti is in the hands of the national authorities. Only they can build on MINUSTAH’s efforts and consolidate the gains of the last few years. As the Council begins to consider how best to support the Haitian authorities after the end of the Consolidation Plan, now is the time for them to assume the responsibilities conferred on them by the Haitian people. The government cannot rely on MINUSTAH to be in Haiti forever and cannot shirk their obligations in the hope that the international community will fill the gap.
Lastly Madam President,
We echo the Secretary-General’s view that it has become imperative for the national authorities to assume greater responsibility in establishing the rule of law and in preparations for the next elections. Doing so will provide the political stability for economic investment, and we urge the Haitian authorities to fulfil these responsibilities to safeguard Haiti’s future.
Published: 24 March 2014