11 September 2014 - Security Council - Haïti - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, Ms. Sandra Honoré, for her briefing and her work.
I also associate myself with the statements to be made by the observer of the European Union and by the representative of Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti.
The situation in Haiti contrasts markedly with that of most of the topics covered by the Council. Not everything has been resolved in Haiti and many obstacles remain, which are risk factors in the country’s progress. However, opportunities also exist. I have in mind the proposals to address social inequalities and human rights violations that were drawn up in Geneva in February by the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Mr. Gustavo Gallón, who was appointed by the Human Rights Council.
We are therefore pleased to see the country slowly emerge from the acute crisis that led the Council to deploy a peacekeeping operation there 10 years ago. On the occasion of that anniversary, we are beginning to see the success of our collective action, through the Mission and the various Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, and how it is paying off. I will therefore limit my comments to two aspects that lie at the heart of the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH): support for political dialogue and the stabilization of the security situation.
We are concerned by the growing delays in the organization of the electoral process. None of the elections scheduled for 2014 have been held, and despite the agreement reached in June between the President and opposition, it does not seem likely that the date of 26 October, on which the general elections had been scheduled, will be respected. We know that democracy thrives on elections. Their regularity is the hallmark of a healthy democracy. Local, legislative and partial senatorial elections have been postponed for too long, while the major election — the presidential election of late 2015 — is already on the horizon. It is therefore essential that the organization of the electoral process be resumed quickly, without any impediments and in a spirit of democratic responsibility demonstrated by all actors.
We note with satisfaction the elements of the Secretary-General’s report (S/2014/617) referring to the gradual strengthening of the Haitian National Police. The decrease in certain forms of crimes and the police’s growing territorial control are also positive signs. The Haitian National Police, as we know, still needs MINUSTAН’s support in conducting its operations. However, we also note that it is now showing itself to be more capable of dealing with public disturbances. It may not yet operate completely independently, but it has learned how to better control crowds and prevent demonstrations from degenerating into violent confrontations. For us, the strengthening of the Haitian National Police must, of course, remain central to MINUSTAH’s activities.
We also should not question the quality of the Mission’s contact with the population, which depends in particular on the ability of its staff members to speak French. With that in mind, it seems clear that MINUSTAH’s reconfiguration should continue. Not to change anything or to change things only on the margins of the Mission’s current scope would be to disregard the tangible signs of progress, which have just been noted. Similarly, to prevent MINUSTAH from adapting to the changing circumstances would be tantamount to underestimating the political risks and would also reward those who reject democracy. By maintaining the status quo, the international community would deny to Haiti the opportunity to emerge from the crisis.
The Mission must evolve in size and nature. We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation to renew the Mission’s mandate by continuing to reduce its military presence by three battalions. The police component should remain at the strength it is now. That scenario is the result of lengthy evaluations and exchanges. MINUSTAH’s evolution has not been taboo for almost a year, and, in his previous report (S/2014/162) issued in March, the Secretary-General already provided a number of reconfiguration options.
The Secretary-General has today fine-tuned his analysis, thanks to the findings of the strategic assessment mission that was conducted on the ground in June. According to the Force Commander, who briefed us yesterday ina closed meeting, the reduction recommended by the Secretary-General is a prudent reconfiguration of MINUSTAH that would allow it to retain its capacity to act in military terms.
Significant work lies ahead, in particular that of satisfactorily defining MINUSTAH’s mandate within the allocated resources. MINUSTAH’s transformation should be a catalyst for our reflection on the international community’s commitment in Haiti. The conditions for its success are now known and they lie within a credible time frame. We must also consider the United Nations presence after the elections to consolidate our work.