MINUJUSTH’s contribution to Haiti’s stability has been crucial [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 12 December 2018
I, too, would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, Ms. Helen Meagher La Lime, for her briefing on the situation in Haiti and the work of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH).We are now approaching the transition period at the end of which the United Nations and Haiti will open a new chapter in their history, one that will be written outside the peacekeeping framework. In that regard, France welcomes the progress made in the training of the Haitian National Police. A total of more than 15,000 officers have been trained, demonstrating their professionalism during the frequently violent demonstrations of recent months.
MINUJUSTH’s contribution to the country’s stability since it was established, a little over a year ago, has been crucial, including its support for strengthening the rule of law, police training and the good offices provided by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. However, the volatility in recent months also highlights how fragile the situation in Haiti remains. In that context, and in the run-up to the withdrawal of MINUJUSTH, I would like to focus today on three points.
First, all political actors must fully commit themselves, as appropriate and in conjunction with the Special Representative’s good offices, to strengthening the rule of law in Haiti and responsibly defending the interests of the Haitian people. The adoption of the legal aid law and Haiti’s accession to the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons should be welcomed as encouraging steps. However, much remains to be done to strengthen the legislative framework necessary to protect the rights of Haitian citizens and ensure an independent and impartial judiciary. An inclusive political dialogue is needed to reach agreement and ease tensions. France supports the efforts made to that end by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Head of State.
While the efforts of the authorities and the mobilization of the population in favour of the development of a State governed by the rule of law are real, we nevertheless condemn in the strongest terms the use or threat of the use of violence. In its press release issued of 2 November, the core group on Haiti recalled“ the democratic legitimacy of the Government of Haiti and that in a democracy, change must be through the ballot box and not through violence. ”We deplore the loss of human lives caused by that violence.
My second point focuses on the essential reforms needed to move towards sustainable prosperity and entrench democracy in Haiti. At times we hear voices that defend the idea that economic goals should take priority over the legitimate demands of the people, including when they fight for their fundamental rights and against impunity. That is a false dichotomy. In the current context, stability in Haiti and, by extension, its prosperity, now depends more than ever on strengthening its judicial institutions, providing greater access to social services and improving detention conditions in prison facilities, where there is still work to be done. Dealing with corruption, which is an issue often condemned at the highest level, must be a major part of the various reforms that are crucial to the country’s recovery. France encourages the Haitian authorities to ensure that the management of public funds is entirely transparent and do their utmost to see that justice is served, particularly where the PetroCaribe affair is concerned. The sense of impunity must be addressed with determination in the courts.
Thirdly and lastly, France attaches tremendous importance to the vibrancy of Haitian democracy, and in that regard welcomes the commitments made in preparation for the holding of legislative and senate elections in October 2019, in particular the request for election assistance from the United Nations. Haiti’s ability to ensure that its elections are held in accordance with its published calendar will increase the Government’s credibility. We therefore hope that the elections will be held as scheduled, and that the preparations for them will be conducted in the best conditions possible and with the support of the international community. All the relevant political actors must take advantage of the elections to launch a dialogue with civil society that takes into account the aspirations of the people.
It is our collective responsibility to help the Haitian authorities prepare for MINUJUSTH’s withdrawal next October in order to ensure a smooth transition. That is why we must meanwhile redouble our efforts to strengthen the rule of law and democracy in Haiti. Haiti can depend on France’s support. My country rejects in the strongest terms any violence aimed at destabilizing the country. It is up to Haiti’s leaders from its three branches of Government and across the political spectrum to meet the crucial challenges faced by Haitian society, particularly its young people, and to strengthen democracy and the rule of law so as to ensure stability and a decent standard of living for all.