Report of the Security Council mission to Haiti, 11 to 14 Mar 2009 (S/2009/175)

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I. Introduction

1. In a letter dated 3 February 2009, the President of the Security Council informed the Secretary-General that the members of the Council had decided to send a mission to Haiti from 11 to 14 March, which would be led by Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica. Following consultations among the members of the Council, it was agreed that the composition of the mission should be as follows (see S/2009/139):

Costa Rica (Jorge Urbina, Permanent Representative, Head of Mission)
Austria (Thomas Mayr-Harting, Permanent Representative)
Burkina Faso (Bonaventure Koudougou, Minister Counsellor)
China (Zhang Yesui, Permanent Representative)
Croatia (Vice Skra?i?, Minister Counsellor)
France (Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Deputy Permanent Representative)
Japan (Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Esam Ganbour, Counsellor)
Mexico (Claude Heller, Permanent Representative)
Russian Federation (Konstantin Dolgov, Deputy Permanent Representative)
Turkey (Fazli Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative)
Uganda (Ruhakana Rugunda, Permanent Representative)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Nicholas Williams, First Secretary)
United States of America (Susan Rice, Permanent Representative)
Viet Nam (Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative)

2. The terms of reference of the mission, which were agreed on 20 February 2009 and its programme of work are contained in the annexes to the present report.

3. The mission constituted a clear demonstration of the commitment of the Security Council to the stability of Haiti and an opportunity to call for immediate responses and long-term solutions to the challenges facing Haiti. The challenges include the following areas: security, political dialogue and elections, extension of State authority, rule of law and human rights, humanitarian relief and socio-economic development.

4. The mission left New York on 11 March and returned on 14 March. This was the second visit of the Security Council to Haiti, the previous one having been in 2005. The mission met with the President of Haiti, René García Préval; Prime Minister Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis and a number of her ministers; the coordinator of the presidential commissions and the Chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Constitution; the President of the Senate and the President of the Chamber of Deputies; the President, the Treasurer and the Director-General of the Provisional Electoral Council, the Minister of Justice and Public Security, the Secretaries of State for Public Security and Justice and the Director-General of the Haitian National Police; leaders of the political parties; and representatives of the private sector and civil society. The mission also met with senior officials of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH); the United Nations country team; and members of the Core Group established by the Security Council pursuant to resolution 1542 (2004). The mission attended the inauguration of the School for Magistrates, visited the Cité Soleil area of Port-au-Prince, Fort Liberté, the town of Ouanaminthe, on the border with the Dominican Republic, and the city of Gonaïves. The mission also visited various MINUSTAH military and police installations, including the military base at Camp Charlie, the maritime base in Fort Liberté and the Chinese formed police unit in Cité Soleil.

5. The mission expressed its gratitude for the hospitality and openness of the Haitian authorities. It was also grateful to the Permanent Representative of Haiti, Léo Mérorès, for having accompanied the mission and for his contribution to its success. The mission recognized the impeccable organization and close coordination in preparation for the visit carried out by the Secretariat, especially the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hédi Annabi, MINUSTAH and the United Nations country team. The mission also expressed its gratitude to the United Nations Department of Safety and Security for its professionalism in safeguarding the mission.

II. Key issues

Overall security situation

6. The mission found that significant progress has been made on the security front due to the role played by MINUSTAH and the gradual strengthening of the Haitian National Police. The Security Council found solid progress in establishing a healthy police/population ratio of 1.366 police officers per 1,000 inhabitants. The original number of Haitian National Police serving at the time of the deployment of MINUSTAH, 3,000 members, has now tripled. In addition, recruitment and vetting are being carried out successfully. MINUSTAH has made a decisive contribution, together with the Haitian National Police, to the dismantling of armed gangs responsible for much of the violence in the country. This has led to a significant decline in criminal activities, in particular kidnappings, which had previously undermined public confidence.

7. Several developments have affected the overall security situation, which remains fragile in Haiti. The country has suffered serious setbacks due to the combined effects of the food crisis, the global financial and economic crisis and the devastating impact of the 2008 hurricane season, which has had an adverse effect on the socio-economic situation, undermining the sustainability of security in Haiti. Persistent poverty and youth unemployment in urban areas have created an environment that is vulnerable to civil unrest and, possibly, renewed gang activity. Instances of civil unrest involving violence have increased since December 2008, with 64 demonstrations reported in February 2009, two thirds of which were motivated by socio-economic concerns. In addition, the upcoming elections for the renewal of one third of the Senate, the first round of which is slated for 19 April 2009, could provide a context for tension and potential protest.