Open Debate on the situation of Haiti
(New York, September 16 2011)
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Mariano Fernandez, his presentation of the report on the situation in Haiti which is very useful for our debate; I also thank the Secretary General for the report contained in the document S/2011/540. Let this be the occasion to welcome the new Special Representative of the Secretary General and to offer him our firm support on his work, as well as to acknowledge the work done by the outgoing Special Representative, Mr. Edmond Mullet, who held office at a critical time for Haiti and for MINUSTAH. His dedication, experience and effort were fundamental in handling the complex challenges that the Mission had to deal with due to the earthquake that devastated this country.
Mr. President: Today we meet again to assess the progress on Haiti and to recommend actions that must be deepened in order to achieve stability, prosperity and development. Firstly, we want to express our satisfaction with the democratic process held seven months ago which led His Excellency Michel Joseph Martelly to the Presidency. This was a historic step for Haiti's democracy. It will surely help this nation to strengthen its institutions, look for national unity and to advance towards the implementation of social and economic programs in accordance with plans and programs adopted by its authorities to secure the physical reconstruction in the aftermath of the earthquake of 2010.
The election of President Martelly and his arrival to the government made us realize the contribution made by MINUSTAH in the maintenance of a secure and stable environment, becoming a critical element for Haitians to confront in a better way the many political, economic and social challenges. However, there are still major difficulties in different fields, including recent security incidents reported by the Special Representative of the Secretary General that need to be faced.
We believe that the consolidation of peace in Haiti still needs the support of MINUSTAH and in particular essential components of its mandate such as achieve security conditions, welfare and stability necessary for its development which will enable them to gradually become less dependent on cooperation. In that sense, the observation of the Secretary General in his report about the existing conditions to start reducing the number of troops to pre-earthquake levels makes us reflect about the opportunity to consolidate security and to take action to strengthen central aspects of social and economic development in Haiti.
We consider that on the eventual drawdown of troops the ongoing reconstruction efforts must be continued. In particular, it is important to maintain contributions granted by donors in the field of military engineering in support of recovery and reconstruction. In this regard we believe that security is reinforced with a physical environment that allows greater protection to citizens, including electricity, access roads, hospitals, water canalization that prevent its overflow, among others aspects. As indicated by the Secretary General in his report, a total of 125 projects have been received in this field. Therefore it is essential that we continue providing support to Haiti for its reconstruction, in order to enable the State to continue performing its duties.
We are convinced that it is necessary to retake the evaluation lines undertaken by MINUSTAH prior to the earthquake, in connection with military and police presence. This will help to define, beyond the return to the troop levels maintained before 2010, force adjustments based on field needs. It is very important to act gradually according to the criteria established by the United Nations and in close consultation with the Haitian authorities, in order to avoid gaps on this area. The future configuration of the Mission, as well as the required level of troops should be determined by the type of operations required. In this sense we take note of the observations made by the Secretary General in his report regarding the manifestations of crime and violence in Haiti, and in particular the increased demands on the police force. From an institutional point of view this reinforces the need to develop the Haitian National Police. We could reduce the number of troops if the agents become more specialized in fighting specific areas of criminality and in performing their assigned duties.
With that same spirit and commitment Colombia has accompanied the evolution of the situation on the field in Haiti, which includes among other aspects, police cooperation, and most recently the cooperation in the fight against trafficking on illicit drugs. We must also recognize the participation in the mission of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense of South American countries with participation in the MINUSTAH that visited Haiti from June 26 to July 1st 2011, and their participation on the assessment mission to coordinate cooperation projects in which Colombia is involved.
Shortly, a decision will be made on the future of MINUSTAH, which we believe has accomplished important tasks. We reaffirm the conclusions reached by the Security Council contained in the Statement of the Presidency, S/PRST/2011/7 during the open debate of April under the direction of the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos. There, the Council emphasized that in the case of Haiti; the security must be accompanied by social and economic development, and reaffirmed the responsibility of MINUSTAH in supporting the Haitian State in the areas of rule of law, good governance, the strengthening of State authority and the promotion and protection of human rights.
A fundamental aspect established on this Statement was the importance of constant coordination and joint work between the Government of Haiti, the United Nations Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti and other stakeholders to achieve sustainable results. This coordination between donors, the Government of Haiti and the United Nations should be guided by coherent frameworks to pursue sustainable and long term results. We believe that the later element should guide our future work, thereby ensuring that MINUSTAH will be the last Peacekeeping Operation to Haiti.
Mr. President: We reassert the appeal for the achievement of political consensus in Haiti that was made by the Council when it first established MINUSTAH. The political forces in Haiti have the task to build their future based on the progress made thereby paving the road for a better fate. No contribution is effective in the absence of such political will and no one other than the Haitians themselves can help in this task.
I conclude my statement by expressing the gratitude of my Government to the work developed by the many countries, organizations, institutions and individuals in Haiti. Firstly, I would like to emphasize the Haitian people that have learned with their experience to overcome the adversity and the designs of nature. To keep alive the world's message of solidarity to Haiti is an obligation as well as it is the spirit and desire of Latin American and Caribbean countries to embrace as brothers a nation with which we have historical and geographical links and also, a moral debt. This commitment reconciles us with the philosophy and spirit of the United Nations Charter which reaffirms the dignity of the human person under the equal rights of men and women from both large and small nations. Haiti, great nation on values expects from the international community not to falter in this effort.
Thank you very much.