Relationship between the UN and Haiti is a pivotal moment [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 3 April 2019
I would first like to congratulate you, Sir, on the start of Germany’s presidency, following that of France and linked to it in a twin relationship that illustrates the special partnership between our two countries, which have put together a shared programme and spirit for these two months aimed at improving not just our customs and methods but also our results on the ground. France will be at your side throughout this month. I would also like to join previous speakers in expressing my pleasure at the opportunity to hear from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and I hope we will be having regular interactions with her in the future. And I welcome the presence here today of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti.
We are all agreed that this is a pivotal moment of transition in the relationship between the United Nations and Haiti, as we near the end of the term of the United Nations Mission in Support of Justice in Haiti (MINUJUSТН). As the briefers emphasized, Haiti still faces many challenges, to which I will return, that require not only the ongoing commitment of the Haitian authorities but also the robust support of Haiti’s international partners, beginning with the Security Council. It is in that context that France fully supports the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a special political mission. That transition, which has now been in preparation for two years, will turn the page on peacekeeping operations and open a new chapter in the cooperation between the United Nations and Haiti. In that context, we should focus on two points in particular in order to enable the United Nations to continue helping to make a positive difference in Haiti.
First, the country’s political and economic instability continues to be central to our concerns. More than a quarter of the population is currently food insecure. Economic and social hardships continue. Haitians are being hit hard by the deteriorating economic situation and are demanding better access to basic services. The resurgence of violence produced by those problems is worrying. We have seen unacceptable acts of violence, particularly on the fringes of the February demonstrations, which paralysed the country yet again and had a disastrous impact on Haitians’ daily lives. Violence can only aggravate the problems, and we call on all Haitian political stakeholders to firmly condemn the use of violence and take a constructive approach, including within the framework of the good-offices mission led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
There is still much to be done to build the solid institutions and legislative framework that are essential to establishing the rule of law. France urges the Haitian authorities to carry out the reforms that will ensure a justice system for Haitian society that is more accessible, efficient and representative. We also deplore the fact that only one of the 12 seats on the Supreme Court is held by a woman. The fight against corruption and impunity, which is at the heart of the protesters’ demands, must also be given top priority. It is leading that fight that will enable Haitian politicians to rebuild a relationship of trust with the population. While some programmes have been implemented, primarily by МINUJUSТН, especially those aimed at reducing community violence against women, human rights violations persist, as Ms. Bachelet pointed out. We are particularly concerned about the links mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2019/198) between political actors and criminal organizations. There must be credible investigations and prosecutions of this problem where appropriate.
Secondly, considering these challenges, France urges that we stay on the path established by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and MINUJUSTH and supports a transition to a special political mission. The special political mission that will succeed MINUJUSTH will provide an opportunity to focus United Nations efforts on the three areas where the added value of the United Nations has been proven — first, the Council of the Haitian National Police, which is already autonomous in most Haitian regions; next, building the rule of law, including the prison system; and lastly, monitoring the human rights situation and reducing violence within communities. The High Commissioner’s recommendations on that will be valuable. As the Secretary-General has suggested, the provision of good offices should also be a focus of the future mission’s mandate.
Besides the special political mission, it is the United Nations system as a whole, particularly the country team, that will have to adapt to meet Haiti’s needs. In that regard, we welcome the Haitian Government’s decision to call on the Peacebuilding Fund. The projects it finances will provide the Haitian population with valuable assistance. The fight against the cholera epidemic, which is on the verge of being eradicated, will not stop.
Finally, France encourages Haiti’s political leaders to do everything possible to create the conditions for the country’s sustainable and stable development. Among the projects for which the Haitian authorities are responsible, I would like to mention the interministerial action plan on human rights, which must now be finalized. As Ms. Viaud’s briefing showed us, civil society is already overflowing with initiatives and talents and deserves our full and complete support. Ms. Viaud’s compelling appeal for the protection of women and the promotion of their rights and participation must be fully heard.
In conclusion, I simply want to point to the motto on Haiti’s coat of arms, “Unity is Strength”, which reminds us how vital national unity is if Haiti is to be able to build its future, particularly in view of the upcoming elections.