Statement by Stephen Hickey, UK Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council Briefing on Haiti
Thank you Mr President. Let me begin by thanking SRSG La Lime for her briefing and in particular for the MINUJUSTH benchmarks mandate implementation dashboard which is very useful, very helpful and I hope we can see similar implementation dashboards for other UN Peacekeeping Missions in future.
Mr President, it’s now roughly 18 months since we as a Council visited Haiti under the leadership of the Permanent Representative of Bolivia and it is encouraging to hear that there has been progress on a number of areas.
The United Kingdom continues to appreciate the work of MINUJUSTH and its support to the Government of Haiti to strengthen the rule of law and further develop the capacities of the Haitian National Police.
I also want to recognise the efforts of President Moise to find a constructive resolution to the recent tensions. It is clear that the situation on the ground remains fragile.
Mr President, I will limit my intervention to three main points:
First, with regard to the progress made against the benchmarks, I want specifically to acknowledge some of the important milestones reached. The UK has been greatly encouraged by progress ranging from the passage and rollout of the legal aid law to the recent graduation of 692 police cadets, and the increase in the numbers of women police – which is now close to the benchmarked target. Both MINUJUSTH and the Government of Haiti can justly celebrate these successes.
However, progress is still needed in critical areas. With legislative elections on the horizon, passage of the draft electoral law by parliament, already highlighted today by France and Sweden, remains vital, as does the reconstitution of the Permanent Electoral Council and updating of the electoral role. If professionalization of the Haitian National Police is to be sustained, its oversight and accountability mechanisms need to be properly functional. This is paramount for increasing the trust between the State and the Haitian people in order to cement the social contract.
And if Haitian rule of law institutions as a whole are to stand up effectively and turn new laws into reality, budgets and implementation plans need to be finalised.
Second, if political and security efforts to build peace are to succeed, they will need to be accompanied by efforts to address the structural issues that have exacerbated or sustained the grievances of the Haitian people, including with regard to economic opportunity and access to basic services.
Dialogue at all levels is essential. The UK encourages the Haitian government, together with its international partners, to intensify dialogue among all stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, to reach greater consensus on shared peacebuilding priorities, including the adoption of measures that can respond to the immediate needs of people and minimise the risk of destabilisation or relapse into violence.
Third and finally, regarding the MINUJUSTH transition, I want to say quite simply that it is critical that we all get this right. We now have little more than nine months before MINUJUSTH is expected to leave Haiti to be succeeded by a non-peacekeeping UN presence.
As others today have already said, Haitian ownership and delivery of critical reforms is essential for the transition is to be a success, and I was encouraged to note in the report the establishment of a joint commission by the Prime Minister and the SRSG. It is vital that all parties now intensify their efforts to ensure that these benchmarks are met.
I was encouraged also to learn that efforts are being stepped up with regard to the MINUJUSTH-UNDP joint rule of law programme and its sustainability in a post-peacekeeping phase. And the United Kingdom would welcome similar efforts to ensure the sustainability of MINUJUSTH’s community violence reduction programme.
With the UN Strategic Assessment process now underway, we look forward to engaging closely with all stakeholders on how to make this transition a success. We continue to urge the Secretary-General to be realistic and clear about the division of responsibilities across the UN system and to support the UN to fill the gaps identified in capacity and capabilities of the UN Country Team, which is a key to a successful transition.
Thank you Mr President.