Thank you, Special Representative Honoré for your briefing today. We commend Haiti for its recent peaceful transition of power. It was an important step toward stability and democracy in Haiti.
Peacekeeping has made a great contribution to Haiti. Its support of the government has been essential in ensuring a secure and stable environment. It has also provided invaluable assistance in aiding the Haitian people in recovering from a number of natural disasters, including the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew.
But as I have said before in this Council, the real measure of progress in Haiti or any country where we have a peacekeeping mission is not dollars spent, but our impact on the lives of the people we seek to help. Have we lifted them up, both as individuals and as a nation? Have we fostered independence? Have we made their lives better?
It is in this spirit that we welcome the results of the Strategic Assessment Mission, which recommended that the Haiti mission close in its current form by October 15, 2017. The military component of the mission will withdraw, and what will follow will be a more focused, police-only mission.
The Haiti mission has never been a traditional peacekeeping effort. There is no civil conflict or peace agreement to monitor. The new UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti will devote its efforts to where they are most needed: in support of the rule of law, developing the Haitian police force, and protecting human rights.
At our Peacekeeping Operations Review Debate last Thursday, we asked Council members to focus on the political foundations necessary for the success of peacekeeping missions, including whether the mandated tasks and overall concept of the mission are consistent with political realities on the ground.
We regard the transformation of the Haiti mission, including the withdrawal of the military, as a strong example for how peacekeeping missions can and should change as a country’s political situation changes. We believe the new Haiti embodies the core principles of success we have developed as part of our peacekeeping review.
Thanks to the recent elections in Haiti, the political context is right for this mission, and the Haitian authorities are working hard to improve their capabilities.
This new mission will foster the independence and self-sufficiency of the Haitian people and will continue to support the Haitian National Police.
And this mission also has defined the exit strategy established from the very beginning. This will help ensure a smooth transition of tasks and responsibilities in the future.
Looking beyond the transition of the mission, the government of Haiti must focus on strengthening its judicial system and human rights institutions to help ensure long-term stability. It bears the primary responsibility for following through on this, but it can count on support from the United Nations, international community, and the United States.
As the mission in Haiti undergoes this transition, we thank the men and women of MINUSTAH for their service and the Haitian government for their cooperation. We also thank the troop and police contributors to the mission, and the Group of Friends of Haiti for their work to promote stability and development.
The United States is a long-standing friend and partner of Haiti. We remain committed to working with the Haitian government to ensure the country’s long term security, democratic development, and economic growth. We look forward to a new chapter of growth and independence in the unfolding story of the Haitian people.