Remarks At the Security Council Debate on Haiti

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
New York, NY
August 28, 2013




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mister President. And thank you, Special Representative Honoré, for your briefing, which, together with the Secretary General’s report show that real progress is occurring in Haiti, but that more work remains to ensure it lasts.

The United States reaffirms its support for the Secretary-General's conditions-based consolidation plan for MINUSTAH and his recommendation for withdrawal of additional military elements, provided that conditions on the ground allow for it and that MINUSTAH maintains a robust quick-reaction capability.

Political stability, in particular, is crucial to continued progress in Haiti. The establishment of the transitional electoral council was an important step, but the ongoing delay in scheduling of local, municipal, and senatorial elections is worrying. The elections must be held as soon as possible and need to be credible, free, fair, and inclusive. To this end, we welcome submission to the parliament of the draft electoral law and urge Haiti’s political leaders to work together now to publish a new electoral law that fully accords with Haiti’s constitution. In this regard, the United States very much appreciates Special Representative Honoré’s efforts to promote dialogue among Haiti’s political actors.

Political stability requires security, and so sustaining recent security gains, such as the improved performance of the Haitian National Police and reinvigorated police recruitment efforts, is critical for Haiti’s future. We encourage MINUSTAH to maintain capacity-building of the Haitian National Police as its highest priority. This should include strong recruitment and retention efforts to ensure the force reaches its goal of 15,000 officers by 2016, with an emphasis on recruiting women and expert personnel capable of addressing the needs the Secretary-General identified in his report. The United States would like to see MINUSTAH’s community violence reduction programs sustained, as they increase public safety by offering at-risk youth productive employment and reducing their vulnerability to gang recruitment.

For the sake of long-term security, better policing cannot happen in isolation, but must be accompanied by improvements in the rule of law. The United States, therefore, strongly supports MINUSTAH assisting Haitian institutions responsible for ensuring the rule of law. We also welcome the new UN Rule of Law Working Group, which should coordinate closely with civil society, donors and the Government of Haiti to identify priorities for the justice sector and set concrete, realistic benchmarks for Haiti’s rule of law priorities, including the protection of human rights for all Haitians. In this vein, the government’s formation of an inter-ministerial human rights commission to promote and protect human rights is a positive step. The government’s statement in July calling for tolerance and rejecting violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was another welcome development.

Indeed, protecting Haiti’s most vulnerable citizens must also remain a priority for the Haitian government and for MINUSTAH. Sexual and gender-based violence tragically persists in Haiti. It is a significant problem and one MINUSTAH must continue to address, including by training police to prevent and respond to such crimes. Meanwhile, the voluntary resettlement of displaced persons should continue in a manner that fully respects the rights of the displaced, while those in the camps must have adequate services and security.

The health and well-being of the Haitian people is important to the United States. As part of our broad assistance program in Haiti and in coordination with the UN and other donors, we continue to support the Haitian Government’s efforts to treat and prevent cholera.

Before concluding, I want to reinforce our support for MINUSTAH’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Such incidents are unacceptable stains on MINUSTAH and the United Nations, and I encourage continuing and determined efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse as well as other misconduct by peacekeepers.

And finally, let me reiterate the deep gratitude of the United States to those serving in MINUSTAH who work tirelessly every day to improve the lives of the Haitian people. As MINUSTAH moves forward with the conditions-based consolidation plan, the U.S. welcomes the Secretary General’s forthcoming examination of how the UN can best continue to contribute to Haiti’s stabilization and development.

Mister President, though key challenges remain, Haiti is becoming more stable. The United States remains committed to working with the government and people of Haiti as well as the UN and international partners to build a more secure and prosperous future for the country.

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PRN: 2013/146