7530th Meeting (AM)
Haiti’s success in conducting the first round of long-awaited legislative elections, reforming its criminal code and maintaining a generally stable security environment was evidence of “a new order” that was paving the way for the United Nations to rethink the size and strength of its future presence on the island nation, agreed speakers in the Security Council today.
In her semi-annual briefing, Sandra Honoré, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), said the country had taken an “all-important step” to renew its democratic institutions, with the 9 August holding of executive, legislative and local elections, which in turn, was crucial for consolidating democracy and stability.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2015/667, Ms. Honoré said that for the first time, the Electoral Council had taken punitive action against instigators of violence, sending a clear signal that such acts were no longer tolerated. The security environment had remained generally stable compared with previous electoral cycles, and any violent election-related protests should be carefully monitored. The Haitian National Police, supported by the United Nations, was adjusting logistics and security plans for the coming rounds.
To allow for an orderly transfer of MINUSTAH activities, she said the Secretary-General had recommended the extension by one, possibly final, year of the Mission’s mandate at current troop and police levels. A strategic assessment mission would be deployed after the electoral cycle was completed to formulate recommendations on the United Nations’ future presence. In the meantime, MINUSTAH would focus on good offices, police development and the rule of law and human rights, among other areas.
When the floor was opened for debate, Haiti’s representative welcomed that the Provisional Electoral Council had shown its ability to handle a complex process. It would do its utmost to remedy shortcomings that had occurred in the first round. On 25 October, the second legislative round and first presidential round would be held. “The success of these elections is crucial for the success of the political transition in 2016,” he said, adding that prison reform and the implementation of a new criminal code were under way.
For its part, MINUSTAH was adapting to a new context, he said. The President had opted for a reconfiguration that encouraged a “gradual and orderly” drawdown, with the transfer of responsibilities to Haitian institutions taking place according to an agreed timetable, as premature disengagement would create a security void. In that regard, he favoured maximum flexibility in drawdown modalities.
Other speakers welcomed Haiti’s ability to assume greater responsibility for its democratic processes. Many agreed that if current trends continued, the United Nations presence would evolve significantly, including in its security posture. The continued strengthening of the National Police was vital, some said, especially in meeting the goal of training 15,000 people by the end of next year.
Speakers, especially from the region, expressed support for the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate for another year. Hasty decisions should be avoided, stated Jamaica’s delegate, speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as he urged the Council to “act with prudence” to ensure that services were not abruptly curtailed.
Along similar lines, Uruguay’s representative, speaking for the Group of Friends of Haiti, said the strategic assessment should be carried out within 90 days after the inauguration of the new President, and ideally after the formation of a new Government, in order to present the Council with recommendations on the future presence and role of the United Nations in Haiti. Similar comments were echoed by the representatives of Guatemala and Brazil.
Peru’s representative said decisions on MINUSTAH’s future must be based exclusively on ground conditions. The security situation was complex, amid a rise in protests, food insecurity and political tensions. While training for the National Police had advanced, agreed goals still had not been met.
With that in mind, the representative of the European Union said the security situation remained paramount. It would maintain its €11.6 million humanitarian aid to help displaced persons, control cholera and help rural populations suffering from food insecurity. It also had agreed with Haiti on a €420 million programme for the 2014-2020 period, which supported socioeconomic recovery.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Chile, France, China, Angola, Jordan, United States, Nigeria, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Chad, Lithuania, Malaysia, Spain, Colombia, Canada, Mexico and Argentina.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 1:11 p.m.
SANDRA HONORÉ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), said that on 9 August, Haiti had taken the “all-important step” of holding the first round of elections to renew the executive, legislative and local leadership of the country. Results had been published on 27 September, resulting in the requirement for several re-runs for the Senate and Lower Chambers. She expressed confidence that Haiti was now moving resolutely towards the renewal of its democratic institutions, which was crucial for the consolidation of democracy and stability.
She said, however, severe acts of violence and some technical irregularities had invalidated the vote in 13 per cent of the voting centres. For the first time in electoral history, the Electoral Council had taken punitive action against instigators of elector violence, which had sent a clear signal that the use of force and electoral violence was no longer tolerated. She urged the judiciary sector to follow suit and take appropriate legal action where needed.
She noted that the security environment had remained generally stable compared with previous electoral cycles. However, violent election-related protests remained to be carefully monitored. The Haitian National Police, supported by the United Nations, was working to adjust logistics and security plans for the coming rounds. Work continued towards the implementation of the Haitian National Police 2012-2016 Development Plan. The engagement of the United Nations system continued to be required in support of operations, logistics and security and financial contributions of international partners continued to be critical for the completion of the electoral cycle.
To allow for an orderly and sustainable transfer of MINUSTAH activities, the Secretary-General had recommended the extension by one, possible final, year of the Mission’s mandate and the current troop and police levels, she said. An integrated Strategic Assessment Mission would be deployed after completion of the electoral cycle to formulate recommendation for the future presence of the United Nations. In the meantime, MINUSTAH would concentrate on specific areas including good offices, police development and the rule of law and human rights. A one-year extension would also afford the new Administration continued support to allow for the consolidation of State authority.
She underlined the importance of completing the electoral cycle, saying that an equitable, transparent and inclusive electoral process was a condition sine qua non for Haiti to continue towards stabilization, democratic governance and strengthening the rule of law and socioeconomic development. She urged all to continue making their contribution to ensure elections in an environment of calm and with mutual trust. She called on all voters to exercise their right to vote in order to contribute to the consolidation of Haiti.
CHRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile), associating with the Group of Friends of Haiti, welcomed the 9 August start of the electoral process, acknowledging work done by Haitian authorities, the Provisional Electoral Council and police. He expressed concern, however, at the end of financing for internally displaced persons, which would impact food, security and health situations. International support must be strengthened to finance Haiti’s transition. MINUSTAH’s configuration must meet the needs of peace. He welcomed the proposal for a strategic assessment on the Mission’s future presence, which must not prejudge results and be carried out with Haitian authorities. Police training was crucial. He welcomed the proposal to maintain MINUSTAH’s authorized police and military personnel for the next year, urging continued international support under the principle of national ownership.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), aligning himself with the European Union and Group of Friends of Haiti, said that poverty, insecurity and the impact of natural disasters called for a sustained international commitment to Haiti. Towards that end, the President of France had announced a €50 million commitment for education over the next five years. While condemning incidents of violence during the first senatorial and legislative electoral rounds, he stressed: “these incidents have been contained”. The Provisional Electoral Council had announced organization of a new vote in one quarter of polling stations and the removal of candidates involved in irregularities. Future elections must be free, transparent and inclusive. MINUSTAH’s configuration was no longer aligned with the ground situation. Haiti could count on a national police whose professionalism should allow it to shortly maintain law and order throughout the country. It was time to transition from a peacekeeping to a peacebuilding mode. The United Nations presence must be recalibrated around capacity-building for institutions in security, rule of law and human rights. He welcomed the proposal for a strategic assessment, which he hoped would yield recommendations for the Council.
LIU JIEYI (China) said the security situation in Haiti was stable and the economy continued to grow, paving the way for smooth elections. Yet, the situation was fragile amid increasing cholera cases and enormous needs for humanitarian relief for internally displaced persons. International assistance should focus on advancing the electoral process. The success of 25 October polls would impact the country’s future and he urged refraining from violence. The international community and regional organizations should continue to provide monitoring and coordination, on the basis of respect for Haiti’s leadership role. Another focus should be on development. Haiti should scale up infrastructure building, as well as capacities for health and disease prevention, and disaster risk reduction. The international community should deliver on pledges to support Haiti’s accelerated economic and social development, while MINUSTAH should continue to coordinate with the Government, in stepping up training for Haitian police and improving the country’s capacity to deliver security.
JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola), welcoming Haiti’s ability to comply with a tight electoral calendar, said such efforts had created a climate conducive to the holding of a second electoral round on 25 October, and later, for municipal and presidential polls. He noted the work of the Haitian police, as well as the creation of a rapid intervention force and buffer zones between communities previously run by gangs. The renewal of Justice Council members and completion of an assessment of judges’ performance marked progress in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Regarding the repatriation of refugees, he encouraged Haiti and the Dominican Republic to resume dialogue and improve border management. He looked forward to the results of the Organization of American States’ fact-finding mission. Despite efforts to improve living conditions, reduced funds for refugees had reduced the Organization’s ability to respond to the country’s development challenges, including the cholera outbreak. He expressed support for the extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate until October 2016, with current military and police strength.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said that thanks to the determination of its people, Haiti had been able to move towards democracy through the holding of elections, which she hoped would conclude peacefully and transparently. There was a need to bolster trust in the electoral process through investigation into occurrences of violence. She welcomed the role played by the Electoral Council, which had run a complex electoral process and, in that regard, called for assistance by the international community. Peace and stability required consolidation of the rule of law and enhancement of the judicial system. Enhanced training was necessary to strengthen the National Police and enhance the security sector in Haiti. The cholera epidemic and drought had undermined economic recovery, and assistance should be provided to prevent malnutrition. Haiti, with the assistance of the United Nations, had made historic progress that must be built on. She, therefore, supported the renewal of the Mission’s mandate.
MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said the upcoming elections were a milestone in the progress made in Haiti, even though the process had had its challenges. However, she voiced concern about acts of violence and misconduct, which should be investigated. Perpetrators should be brought to justice. She encouraged all actors to participate fully in the electoral process, noting that strengthened confidence could help attract investments and jobs. She also acknowledged the success of a continued drawdown of the Mission and the enhancement of the National Police. The role of the National Police in providing security for the upcoming election round was key. While she supported maintaining the current force size and configuration, she said that the terms of mandate renewal must be conditions based. Haiti was making a transition of economic recovery after the earthquake to economic development. There was, however, chronic poverty and high unemployment. Thus, there was a need for investments, among other things, in infrastructure.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said the first electoral round had shown Haiti’s commitment to democratic governance. All political parties had a pivotal role to play in the success of that process. Successful polls required robust international support and she welcomed assistance in the area of good governance. Election observer missions would inspire the confidence of political parties and voters alike in the electoral process, while anti-fraud measures would also show an assurance of credible elections. Welcoming efforts by the Haitian National Police to secure a peaceful electoral environment, she expressed hope that the integrated security plan would eliminate electoral violence. The National Police must continue to grow in size and capability with a view to training 15,000 officers by 2016. Noting Haiti’s work with MINUSTAH to strengthen the judicial and legal framework, a significant step, she said the renewal of the Superior Council of the judiciary had improved the justice sector’s capacity. Consultations on a draft penal code marked a significant legislative reform. As the situation evolved, so must the United Nations.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand), commending the positive trends in Haiti’s stabilization, said the holding of the 9 August legislative elections was a significant step in the renewal of country’s democratic institutions. It was vital for Haitian authorities to lead the next phase of the electoral process. Although MINUSTAH had a role to play in supporting a secure and stable environment conducive to free and fair elections, it could not stay in the country indefinitely. Therefore, a strategic assessment of the situation in Haiti by the Secretary-General after the current electoral cycle was welcomed. Without prejudging the outcome of the assessment, should the “positive trajectory in Haiti’s stabilization continue”, a discussion of the Organization’s footprint in Haiti should occur, particularly in regard to the future of MINUSTAH. The capacity of the National Police to manage the security challenges in the country would be central to that discussion. In considering the future presence of the United Nations in the country it would be important to take into account concerning aspects of the humanitarian situation such as cholera and internally displaced persons.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) commended MINUSTAH for having achieved its objectives, noting that the holding of the first round of legislative elections and scheduling of presidential elections were signs of a positive path. He encouraged all levels of government to continue on that path over the next six months, welcoming the formation of the Provisional Electoral Council and announcement of an electoral calendar. The recent polls had been “notably calmer” than those in the past, with no increase in violence in areas from which the military component had withdrawn. While statistics on the Haitian National Police were impressive, there was more to do to enhance police numbers and expertise. MINUSTAH’s final success would be to plan a smooth transition to a successor United Nations presence. While the Mission had a stabilization role to play during the electoral period, it was right that it continue to consolidate and focus on areas which could offer the most effective assistance. Transition planning must start early.
PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said recent elections had seen “fairly good organization” and he trusted that the presidential polls would also run smoothly. The Haitian National Police had shown their ability to control the situation, despite a few outbreaks of violence, he said, citing the April death of a Chilean peacekeeper in the line of duty. The most pressing issues were being resolved, including building national enforcement and the judicial system, reducing the number of internally displaced persons and holding of elections. He expressed hope that next year, presidential, legislative and local authorities would take responsibility in Haiti, marking “a new milestone”. While Port-au-Prince still required international assistance, the main political forces had been able to lay aside their personal ambitions for the good of all Haitians. In the drawdown, the Mission should draw on existing resources and gradually transfer its functions to Haitian authorities. Expressing concern at the rise in cholera, he said his Government was ready to study the Secretary-General’s strategic review of the Organization’s presence in Haiti, once prepared. Such moves should be in line with Haitian national priorities.
WILMER MENDEZ (Venezuela) said that during the electoral process, the Haitians had shown political maturity and the process had been of crucial importance towards the consolidation of the country’s institutions. The United Nations system and the international community should continue support by providing logistical, financial and technical support for the elections. It was vital that all factions work together to promote greater turnout and bolster citizen’s trust in the institutions. He welcomed the strategic assessment of the Mission which should take into account stability and security. Hasty decisions should be avoided and any decision should take the security situation in the country into account. Bolstering the capacity of the National Police was a priority. Reconfiguration of MINUSTAH should be in line with the wishes of the new Government. He also said he was troubled by the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the reduction in financial support. The health authorities needed support in combating cholera.
MAHAMET ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said the successful holding of the elections progress had been the result of intensive efforts to establish trust between the Government and the opposition parties. He welcomed the improvement in the political climate and security situation and expressed hope that violence during the first round would not recur. MINUSTAH had supported training the police and the health sector. Yet despite progress made, there were still challenges in the judicial, health and humanitarian fields. There were delays in trials and the prison population was growing. The health situation and the cholera epidemic were disturbing, as was the fate of the internally displace persons. He stated his support for the proposed drawdown in two stages, taking into account the situation on the ground, as well as for the extension of the Mission’s mandate for 12 months.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said the situation in Haiti required sustained attention, noting that the electoral calendar must be respected and parties must adopt responsible behaviour. She emphasized that the Government and the courts were expected to take “serious” measures to end impunity for those responsible for abuse and human rights violations, including police and prison guards. She also urged consultations on a new criminal code and expansion of legal aid services, expressing concern at the human rights situation. She encouraged the creation of a 2015-2018 plan that would aim to strengthen institutional capabilities for human rights protections and in which all stakeholders in society must take part. Haiti had seen a significant decrease in the number of internally displaced persons. However, drought and cholera had increased humanitarian needs and had slowed development. International support was crucial. The Haitian National Police had assumed greater responsibility for security and she hoped the goal to train 15,000 officers by 2016 could be reached. Acknowledging MINUSTAH’s crucial role in enhancing security and the rule of law, she supported its mandate extension in its current composition. She supported the idea for a strategic assessment.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) noted that Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council had discharged its role in a professional and even-handed manner in preparing for upcoming elections in the country. Such efforts were crucial towards cementing its credibility. He commended Haiti’s Inspectorate General for its oversight of the Haitian National Police and urged the Haitian authorities to continue working towards the holding of “inclusive, transparent” elections. Turning to the dire humanitarian situation, he said the Government should consider stepping up its responsiveness to possible emergencies such as cholera, drought and the upcoming hurricane season. Ongoing efforts in the country on administrative and legislative reform and the positive steps taken to address prolonged pre-trial detention and prison overcrowding were encouraging. Also welcomed were the Government’s plans to stabilize the economy, despite serious ongoing challenges such as food insecurity. Turning to the consolidation of MINUSTAH, he commended the gains made under police development and electoral capacity-building while calling for improvements in the rule of law, human rights and key governance issues.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), speaking in his national capacity and aligning himself with the European Union, said that Haiti had faced great challenges but hoped that the upcoming round of elections would be peaceful. Recounting the ways his country had supported Haiti, he noted that it was the main beneficiary of Spain’s official development assistance (ODA). The elections had been more peaceful than previous ones, but there had still been violent incidents. He was convinced, he stated, that without the Mission’s assistance, there would have been many more incidents. Therefore, he supported renewing the Mission’s mandate for one year, maintaining the current troop level. He also welcomed deployment of the assessment mission proposed by the Secretary-General but pointed out that such assessment must be carried out in close cooperation with the new Government. Decisions on MINSUTAH should be taken in a flexible manner as stability was not ensured.
DENIS RÉGIS (Haiti) said the Secretary-General’s report coincided with a crucial period for Haiti, with the organization of free, inclusive and transparent general elections on one hand, and on the other, work to ensure that gains achieved over 11 years were sustained. From a political point of view, the Secretary-General’s report had painted a “fair and balanced” picture of Haiti, correctly stressing that long-awaited elections were a test for both Haitian institutions and MINUSTAH. Haiti was committed to creating conditions necessary for organizing democratic elections.
As such, he welcomed the report’s assessment that the Provisional Electoral Council had shown its ability to handle a complex electoral process, and that Haitian institutions could assume ownership. While the first electoral round marked a key stage, the presidential campaign had been launched on 9 September, and the second legislative round and first presidential round would be held on 25 October. The Electoral Council would do its utmost to remedy shortcomings — seen by national and international observers — in the first round. “The success of these elections is crucial for the success of the political transition in 2016,” he said, welcoming the $1 million contribution by Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) trust fund for Haitian elections. Prison reform was under way and the implementation of a new criminal code would complement those efforts.
He went on to say that he had taken note of the report’s reference to a significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation, citing an upsurge in cholera cases. Addressing the tensions in Haitian-Dominican relations on the return of migrants, he voiced support for a resumed dialogue with the Dominican Republic to ensure that all migrants’ rights were protected. He looked forward to a calm political transition, stressing that MINUSTAH’s objective to help Haiti achieve stability had been achieved. “A new order is currently emerging in Haiti,” he said. “The country is calm” and focused on modernizing economic and social structures, reducing poverty and unemployment, and promoting human rights.
Indeed, he said, MINUSTAH was adapting to a new context. The President had opted for a reconfiguration plan that would encourage a “gradual and orderly” drawdown, with the transfer of responsibilities to Haitian institutions taking place according to an agreed timetable, as a premature disengagement would create a security void. In that regard, he favoured maximum flexibility in drawdown modalities. He also welcomed the Special Representative’s work in difficult circumstances.
ANA CRISTINA RODRÍGUEZ PINEDA (Guatemala) said Haiti enjoyed a situation of general stability which presented a window of opportunity for the country to move towards economic development. Progress achieved had been possible through support of MINUSTAH. The country has shown that it could administer a complex electoral process. There was a need to establish a standing electoral council to consolidate progress made. However, that progress achieved would mark a difference only if the standard of living for the whole population would rise equitably. She noted with concern the deterioration in the food situation and the increase of malnutrition. Strengthening of the National Police was vital for security and stability in the country, but there was a need to promote protection of human rights and accountability. The proposed strategic assessment should be carried out after the new Government had taken office in order to give it an opportunity to decide on how the international community could give support. She also expressed support to extend MINUSTAH’s mandate for another year.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) welcomed the “relatively stable” holding of the first round of legislative elections in Haiti on 9 August. In collaboration with the international community, Brazil continued to support the Haitian Government’s efforts to hold, in turn, local, legislative and presidential elections. However, there were still reasons for concern with respect to security, including in the context of the ongoing electoral process. He voiced support for the recommended extension of the mandate of MINUSTAH for an additional year, and concurred with the recommendation of the Secretary-General to send a new strategic assessment mission. However, it was important for that mission to undertake its assessment after the formation of a new Government and for the reconfiguration process to be solely guided by the conditions on the ground. The humanitarian situation in the country, with an increase in the number of new cholera cases, continued to raise concern. The challenge henceforth was to ensure the sustainability of gains made in recent years. Brazil, he stated, would maintain its engagement for a stable, democratic Haiti and for durable development.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of Delegation of the European Union, noting Haiti’s commitment to a democratic process of renewal, said grave inequalities persisted. Efforts to ensure security were paramount and the European Union would act with others to support the country’s delicate phase. After the 2010 earthquake, the European Union had stepped up its assistance for infrastructure, administration and the economy. It would maintain its €11.6 million humanitarian aid to help displaced persons, control cholera and help rural populations suffering from food insecurity. It also had agreed with Haiti on a €420 million programme for the 2014-2020 period which supported development and socioeconomic recovery.
The European Union would also increase assistance to promote administrative reform, improve finances, a national education policy, infrastructure and urban development, he continued. It was open to maintaining dialogue with concerned United Nations agencies to consider specific cooperation opportunities. He welcomed the start of the electoral process which, despite some violence irregularities, marked a step in the right direction. The next round must avoid such problems. To that end, the European Union had contributed €5 million to the UNDP electoral fund and deployed an 80-person electoral observer mission. The political climate must become more inclusive. MINUSTAH’s participation in policing would be vital during the upcoming elections.
MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA (Colombia), aligning herself with the Group of Friends of Haiti, said that security, stability and dignified living conditions, as well as the consolidation of Haiti’s democratic institutions must be the main focus of the international community. She welcomed the results of the first round of elections despite a few outbreaks of violence and low turnout, underlining, in that respect, the importance of the Electoral Council and the National Police. Progress had been achieved in reducing violence, economic growth and relocation of internally displaced persons but challenges remained huge. To that end, Colombia would expand its support with 58 police officers to the Mission. Any decision on MINSUTAH should be taken exclusively based on the conditions on the ground and after the conclusion of the assessment mission. However, before any action was taken the new Government should have a reasonable period to establish stability. She also stated her support for the extension of the mandate at the same troop and police levels.
GONZALO KONCKE (Uruguay), speaking for the Group of Friends of Haiti, welcomed the organization of the first round of legislative elections in a “relatively peaceful environment”. He noted the importance of the Government of Haiti, the Electoral Council and the political parties ensuring that the upcoming rounds of elections were conducted in a free, fair, peaceful and democratic manner and in accordance with electoral law. Recognizing the increase in the capacity of the Haitian National Police, the Group maintained that the presence of MINUSTAH remained important to ensuring security and stability in Haiti.
The Secretary-General should conduct a strategic assessment mission to Haiti preferably within 90 days after the inauguration of the new President, and ideally after the formation of a new Government, in order to present to the Council recommendations on the future presence and role of the United Nations in Haiti, he said. Capacity-building of the police should remain a critical task for MINUSTAH. While acknowledging progress in the judicial sector, he noted that it was “urgently necessary” to reduce prolonged pre-trial detentions and eliminate inhumane detention conditions. The limited national capacity for human rights protection remained a concern. There could be no genuine stability or sustainable development in Haiti without strengthening democratic institutions and credible democratic processes.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA VELASQUEZ (Peru), aligning himself with the Group of Friends, welcomed the recent elections and expressed hope that that the electoral timetable would be met without problems. The elections were a milestone in the democratic consolidation. Decisions on the future of MINSUTAH must be based exclusively on the basis of conditions on the ground. While the security situation continued to be stable, the situation remained complex, giving increase in protests, food insecurity and the rise of political tensions. Although progress had been made in training the National Police, the goals set out had still not been met. Therefore, the Mission’s mandate should be extended at authorized levels for another year. Furthermore, a strategic analysis should be done in order to define the future configuration of the United Nations presence in the country after the new Government had taken office. The new Government should have the opportunity to decide in a sovereign manner the nature of support to be received in the future. Nonetheless, the work of the Organization in the country was not finished and the United Nations should avoid its past error of leaving prematurely from Haiti.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada), aligning himself with the Group of Friends on Haiti, said that Haiti was at a “critical point” in its democratic development. The current electoral process was an opportunity to advance long-term stability and democracy in Haiti. It was crucial that Haitian authorities and all political actors worked together for the completion of transparent, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections, in keeping with the established calendar. Recognizing the efforts of MINUSTAH in providing logistical and other support to the elections, the importance of strengthening the capacity of Haitian institutions was underlined. Canada’s future engagement would be strongly anchored in mutual accountability and greater aid coordination to ensure concrete and sustainable results for the Haitian people. He stated his support to maintain the Mission at its current levels for a further year, and for an assessment mission to be conducted once the new Haitian President was inaugurated and a new Government was in place. Mission drawdown scenarios that could jeopardize the results achieved to date must be avoided. To ensure that MINUSTAH was the last United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country, the international community could not be too hasty in encouraging the departure of the Mission.
RICARDO ALDAY GONZÁLEZ (Mexico) said that this year, his country had deployed military personnel to the Mission in Haiti and had contributed to training the National Police. The legislative elections had taken place in a relatively peaceful environment and the elections showed the growing capacity of Haiti’s national institutions. He called on all actors to support the upcoming round of elections in the same spirit. Strengthening the country’s institutions, especially the National Police, would remain the cornerstone for reconfiguring the Organization’s presence in the country. The Mission’s mandate should also be extended. Furthermore, the drawdown should be cautious and not hasty and be based on a transitional plan coordinated between MINUSTAH, troop-contributing countries and the Haitian Government. The strategic assessment should occur once the new Government had taken office. Future relationship with the United Nations and the Peacebuilding Commission could be the structure in which to enhance that effort. Any decision taken by Haiti and the international community and the Council would continue to take appropriate decisions.
MARIO OYARZÁBAL (Argentina) encouraged the Haitian people to continue on their path to democracy. The Electoral Council had been able to manage the process in a transparent fashion. However, despite a relative calm, there had been an increase in incidents recently as the upcoming elections grew near. In line with the Secretary-General’s recommendations, he supported a renewal of the mandate which maintained the current levels of troops. That extension would allow time to assess security conditions on the ground and to listen to the new Government about recommendations for a renewed presence. Deciding such matters before the ending of the electoral cycle would be risky and dangerous. Therefore, such decisions should be based on conditions on the ground. The consequence of a hasty withdrawal had eliminated vital progress made in the past.
COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), welcomed Haiti’s recent conduct of elections, which augured well for future rounds, as well as efforts by the Electoral Council in administering them. However, that council was challenged by the availability of adequate financing, and in that context, he thanked States that had contributed to the UNDP fund for Haiti’s electoral process, including Trinidad and Tobago, which had contributed $1 million today. He commended MINUSTAH for having assisted in the conduct of elections, strengthening of the rule of law, promotion of justice and training of national police. CARICOM was mindful of the need to renew MINUSTAH’s mandate with requisite resources to enable it to engage less in peacekeeping and more in development. He requested the Council to “act with prudence” to ensure that MINUSTAH’s services were not abruptly curtailed.
Taking the floor again, Ms. HONORÉ thanked Council members and other speakers for their observations on the situation in Haiti and MINUSTAH’s work. She had noted emphasis that the Mission continue to focus on key areas, including the rule of law, human rights, police development and State institutions, as well as work by United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development. She also had noted comments on the Mission’s transition and would work with Haitian authorities and the United Nations country team in such planning.