Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations, at a Security Council Session on Haiti

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
United States Ambassador and Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
September 16, 2011




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to begin by thanking SRSG Mariano Fernandez for his informative remarks on the situation in Haiti.

Mr. President, the United States supports renewal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) mandate for another year under broadly the same terms as the 2010 mandate. MINUSTAH has been working tirelessly in Haiti to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, and to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights.

MINUSTAH has provided vital security and logistical support during presidential and legislative elections, supported programs designed to strengthen the rule of law, and conducted capacity building work with the Haitian National Police (HNP) through the 2006 HNP Reform Plan. The United States commends the UN role in previous elections, and underscores the importance of UN assistance with the next round of partial national and local elections in Haiti.

The United States supports the Secretary-General’s recommended reduction of two infantry battalions (1600 personnel) and the reduction in authorized strength of 1150 formed police unit (FPU) personnel, but notes that strong rules of engagement for the remaining MINUSTAH forces will be important to deal with a stable but fragile security situation in Haiti. The United States believes that any determination of the future size of MINUSTAH forces must be based on security conditions on the ground. We commend the work of the UN security assessment team, which lead to these recommendations, and express our hope for continued progress in Haiti.

Mr. President, the United States agrees with the Secretary-General’s finding that the Haitian National Police has improved in some respects, but is not yet in a position to assume full responsibility for the provision of internal security. The UN and the HNP jointly need to develop a new iteration of the HNP Reform Plan of 2006 and encourage Haitian ownership and leadership of the reform effort.

We urge the authorities in Haiti to reach agreement to appoint women and men of demonstrated integrity and competence to cabinet positions.

The United States urges the authorities in Haiti to fulfill their pledge to fill all the six vacancies at the Cour de Cassation (the Supreme Court) by October 3, 2011. This pledge by the Haitian President must be fulfilled in order to enable the judiciary in Haiti to function.

Mr. President, we urge the authorities in Haiti to commit sufficient and lasting budgetary resources from their domestic budget to the HNP’s institutions – especially to build up the systems that will allow it to function on its own.

The United States urges the HNP to fully support HNP’s office of the Inspector General and give it the resources to help investigate allegations of wrongdoing at all levels of the police. The United States urges the Government of Haiti to prosecute impunity and abuses of power. We believe that Haitian officials who are brave enough to investigate and marshal evidence against those acting with impunity must be allowed to do their jobs under the law without political interference in the due process of law.

We are disappointed with the halt in the vetting process for cadets at the HNP noted in the Secretary-General’s Report. The United States urges the UN and the HNP to redouble their vetting efforts. We believe that vetting cannot simply occur when a cadet begins his or her career, but needs to occur throughout their career – at least at every promotion in rank – to be a truly effective prevention tool with respect to impunity.

The United States continues to play a leading role in international efforts to ensure that UN peacekeepers—military, police and civilian—neither exploit nor abuse the vulnerable people they have been sent to protect. The UN has taken several critical steps in recent years to establish and implement a zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel, including by establishing a well-publicized code of conduct and creating Conduct and Discipline Units in the field to perform training, carry out initial investigations, and support victims. In that light, we are deeply concerned regarding the recent allegations of severe misconduct by some MINUSTAH personnel. We welcome the public commitment of Uruguay to conduct a full investigation, in cooperation with the United Nations, into the incident.

Mr. President, the Secretary-General recommended retaining the MINUSTAH engineering units that the Council authorized after the earthquake. The United States supports these recommendations. We applaud the military engineering battalions for working within the plans of the Government of Haiti and the civilian development agencies.

We note with appreciation the creative collaborations between the civilian experts at the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and the MINUSTAH military component’s tasking team. We note with appreciation the contribution this makes to stability.

Mr. President, lasting stability of course will come not only through the political and security arrangements, but also through the work that major donors are doing to support Haiti’s long term plans for economic development. To this end, the United States applauds the recent vote by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to approve the Government of Haiti’s “16 neighborhood – 6 camps” project to help IDPs find housing. The use of the neighborhood returns approach, instead of mere camp evictions, is the type of humane approach the United States fully supports. The United States has adjusted its housing assistance programs to be fully in line with this Government of Haiti initiative, and we have backed the same neighborhoods return approach in our $65 million housing program disbursement to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund managed by the World Bank. We applaud the work of UN Habitat and the UN Country Team in Haiti, to provide experts that helped the Government of Haiti design the program in a manner that respects human rights.

I thank you.

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PRN: 2011/178