MINUSTAH : a new approach to the UN presence in Haiti [fr]
MINUSTAH - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - April 11th 2017
I too would like to begin by extending sympathy on behalf of my country, France, to Egypt and Sweden, which have both suffered reprehensible terrorist attacks in recent days, and reiterate my Government’s full support.
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Honoré, for her briefing.
I align myself with the statements that will be delivered by the observer of the European Union and by the representative of Peru, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti.
I would like to address two points in my statement. First, I should like to express our satisfaction about the recently concluded election process in Haiti, which heralds the restoration of constitutional order and provides new opportunities for meeting the challenges that the country faces. I would also like to convey our support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations with regard to the dynamic nature of the United Nations presence in Haiti, which gives us the opportunity to evaluate the achievements of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and move towards the establishment of another peacekeeping mission that is more lightweight and better suited to the country’s needs.
France welcomes the recent conclusion of the electoral cycle that began several years ago in Haiti, and the subsequent restoration of constitutional order on 7 February. We believe that that was a major development in the process of stabilizing the country.
Such developments are particularly noteworthy because the elections took place in a generally peaceful environment. Their success can be attributed primarily to the Haitian Government and, in particular, to the Provisional Electoral Council and the Haitian National Police, which all played a key role in organizing the elections and in providing security. We would like to take the opportunity to welcome the spirit of accountability demonstrated by former provisional President Jocelerme Privert, who kept his promise to do all in his power to conclude the electoral cycle as soon as possible.
Once again, France warmly congratulates Mr. Jovenel Moïse on his election as President of Haiti, following a transparent, inclusive and credible election process, as well as on the swift inauguration by Parliament of Jack Guy Lafontant as Prime Minister.
Haiti has turned over a new leaf following several months of uncertainty caused by successive election delays, and once again now has strong institutions that are fully vested with democratic legitimacy, which can effectively meet the daily challenges that its people face. The Haitian population and the international community have every reason to welcome that outcome. Haiti and its leaders can count on France’s ongoing support during this new phase, which will allow for deepening relations and enhanced cooperation between our countries.
France welcomes the recommendations contained in the most recent report of the Secretary-General, which addresses the outcome of the strategic assessment review conducted in Haiti early this year.
More than 13 years after the establishment of MINUSTAH, we fully support the idea that it is now time to evaluate the Mission’s achievements in stabilizing Haiti and move towards developing a new approach to the United Nations presence in Haiti that is more suited to the country’s needs and conditions on the ground, which have changed dramatically.
The work of MINUSTAH, which continues to be supported by the Security Council, as well as by the troop-contributing countries — whose efforts we commend here today — has enabled Haiti to emerge from the emergency situation it faced until recently by restoring a relatively safe environment, taking part in the rebuilding efforts after the 2010 earthquake and providing considerable support to the Haitian National Police, whose growing authority is an indicator of stability in Haiti. I would also like to point out that it is important for the Haitian National Police to remain a professional, apolitical and independent institution, as underscored by the Special Representative, and the backbone of Haiti’s security chain.
In spite of the gains made, France remains convinced that the United Nations has not yet completed its work in Haiti. That is why we support the establishment, on the day after MINUSTAH’s termination, of a new peacekeeping operation that is more lightweight and focused on strengthening Haiti’s institutions in a few key areas, with a mandate and specific exit timeline, in keeping with the good practices we encourage in the area of peacekeeping.
The new operation will have to consolidate the progress achieved in the past few years, particularly by ensuring that the Haitian National Police can function independently, but also by working on some major new projects in the area of the rule of law, such as combating impunity, strengthening the judiciary’s professionalism and independence and establishing a prison system that is compatible with the country’s needs and respects the rights of prisoners. The human rights situation, various aspects of which continue to be a cause for concern, will also have to be carefully monitored and accompanied by regular recommendations. We expect to see the Haitian authorities cooperating fully in that regard, and we are willing to continue our bilateral dialogue on that subject.
Lastly, the new operation will have to work closely on the ground with the United Nations country team, which from now on will be the actor in the forefront in dealing with the country’s other challenges, especially where the Secretary-General’s new approach to combating cholera is concerned. France is supporting its first phase in particular, including through a voluntary contribution of €600,000. We encourage all of Haiti’s partners and friends to translate their words into deeds and to contribute to that collective effort to benefit the Haitian people.
For a long time now France has been urging the Council to shoulder its responsibilities towards Haiti by taking the decisions needed to ensure that the United Nations engagement on the ground can continue to be as appropriate and effective as possible.
The Secretary-General’s recommendations for closing MINUSTAH as soon as possible, and establishing a successor mission focused on issues related to the police, the rule of law and human rights, give us the opportunity to do that. They combine the execution of a responsible transition designed to maintain the results achieved in the past few years with a demonstration of the Council’s ability to make sure that the United Nations modalities of action on the ground continue to evolve and that their chief goal is finding the best response to the needs of the populations involved.
France fully supports that approach.