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Remarks by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Security Council VTC Meeting on BINUH, June 19, 2020

19.06.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery


I want to make six points. First that we are confronted with a situation where we already are faced with a number of challenges for the country. And to these challenges now is added COVID-19. Among the challenges are the humanitarian situation and food shortages. But also when you look at the island, there is deforestation in Haiti and consequences of climate change also in Haiti. So it's a number of challenges. I will come to the political challenges a bit later on. On top of this is COVID-19.

Haiti cannot cope with this by itself, it needs international support. And I add my voice to those, and in particular to the Secretary General's voice, who have called for international for the international community to increase financial, technical and political support to Haiti. Germany is doing its part in support to all the funds that have been established.

 

But the COVID-19 crisis must not be an excuse not to look at the long term problems that the country is facing. In this regard, I want to make my second point which is to thank everything that the Special Representative has done and thank the 19 United Nations agencies, funds and programs that are delivering in Haiti as one UN. I think it's very important also what Helen La Lime said with regard to the very serious work of the operation there. It is necessary that all the actions that you undertake to look at the immediate challenges are part of the overall policy to address the root causes of violence and instability with an eye on implementing the 2030 agenda.

The international community stands ready to contribute and help Haitians in their efforts to renew the social contract between the Haitian state and its citizens. There we call again for a renewal of the social contract between the Haitian state  and its citizens.

This leads me to my third point, and this is the point about the political, structural problems the country has. We regret, as others, that it was not possible in February to reach a consensus on the political agreement that would have paved the way to the structural reforms that are necessary. We encourage all stakeholders to get an agreement that can build on that consensus within the society on the revision of the Constitution, implementation of reforms and realistic electoral framework for credible and transparent elections which are key in the country. I can only repeat what was said before by the briefer's about the need for good governance and to respect the rule of law.

This leads me to the fourth point: the resurgence of gang activities. And we see this in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. We just see that the level of violence there is just incredible. We also see that certain business actors, political actors have close ties with criminal gangs. We strongly condemn all actions that undermine democratic processes and the rule of law. And we deplore the fact that from the massacres, the events in La Saline, Bel Air and Grand Ravine, there has been hardly  any accountability for all the human rights violations. We heard about the murders. We heard about the rapes and the brutality. Something has to be has to be done. The role of the civil society to push for this accountability is very important. Also, the push of civil society to fight corruption, which is endemic in Haiti.

This brings me to my fifth point, and this is police. We have been concentrating also as the UN on police reform. There has been some progress: more regular payments, welfare, healthcare is better, but we are very much concerned about the persistence of human rights violations and as well as by recent acts of violence. Acts of violence by police, police who demonstrated and in their demonstrating actually committed acts of violence. So this is exactly what you don't expect police to do. From our perspective, it's important that all members of the Haitian National Police must act and behave professionally and improve their relationship to the population, which is key. And we remain concerned that the budget that is allocated to the HNP is insufficient to sustain basic operation.

This brings me to my sixth and last point: the justice system, where we still have huge problems. There are prisons still filled and in the prisons where each prisoner has about one square meter. Seventy five percent are prisoners who are in pre-trial detention without a court sentence and they should be freed in particular after seeing what COVID 19 potentially has a repercussion in prison. So this illustrates the major deficiencies that continue to plague the Haitian justice system, which requires urgent reform.

 

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