The current crisis in Haiti is first and foremost a political crisis [fr]
Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 20 February 2020
I, too, thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, Ms. Helen La Lime, for her briefing. I also welcome to today’s meeting Ms. Marie Yolène Gilles, Executive Director of Fondasyon Je Klеrе, in her capacity as civil society representative. I also thank her for her useful insight on the situation in Haiti, in particular the gravity and extent of human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence.
The current crisis in Haiti is, first and foremost, a political crisis, and France welcomes the efforts of the Special Representative to help resolve it. We deplore the fact that, despite the involvement of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), the political conference for a solution to the crisis, held from 29 to 31 January, in which the country’s political forces, the private sector and civil society took part, was unable to reach an agreement that would allow a return to a regular constitutional and democratic framework. I recall that the legislative elections that had been scheduled for 2019 did not take place and that Haiti now lacks any parliamentary representation, which, given Haiti’s political history, cannot be sustained. France again calls on President Jovenel Moïse, and all the country’s political forces, in particular the opposition, as well as civil society and the private sector, to engage with determination in a genuine national dialogue that places Haiti’s interests above political interests and allows for the holding of free and democratic legislative elections.
Certain root causes have led to the current stalemate in Haiti. I will mention three of them.
The first is corruption. For several months, Haitian civil society has clamoured for transparency to combat corruption, which destroys the trust of citizens in their institutions. The fight against corruption and impunity must be an absolute priority for Haitian politicians in order to rebuild the trust of the people.
The second structural challenge is economic hardship. The stalemate in the fall of 2019 had an even greater impact on the country’s economic and social situation, which was already very fragile. The growing financial insecurity of millions of Haitians makes it challenging for the various social forces to find a solution to the political crisis. Haiti’s international partners should continue to mobilize in order to provide humanitarian aid to meet the most urgent needs.
The third root cause of the stalemate is insecurity. The Haitian society currently lives in a state of extreme insecurity, in particular as a result of gang activity, as Ms. Gilles so vividly explained. The need for security goes hand in hand with the fight against impunity. I recall, in particular, the La Saline and Bel Air massacres, which gave rise to damning reports by the United Nations. Those responsible must be found, prosecuted and punished in legal proceedings, in line with international human rights standards. All human rights abuses observed during the fall demonstrations must be investigated, whoever the perpetrators might be. The same goes for the perpetrators of sexual violence, as Ms. Gilles mentioned.
We all know that the multidimensional nature of the crisis in Haiti makes its resolution particularly complex. BINUH’s mission, as outlined by the Security Council, remains relevant, namely, providing support for political dialogue and governance and strengthening the rule of law, including in the areas of law enforcement, justice and human rights. France commends the work conducted by BINUH, since its establishment four months ago, together with the entire United Nations country team. The Council should therefore remain on high alert and take appropriate measures, especially if the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate.