Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the UN Security Council VTC Meeting on BINUH, October 5, 2020

05.10.2020 - Speech

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I would like to make four points. One is on the political crisis, one on gang-related violence, one police and justice sectors and the last point on the work of BINUH.

I will start with the political crisis. Let me say, first of all, we are disappointed that Haitian stakeholders have still not reached a minimum consensus over a political agenda addressing the root causes of the problems that Haiti has been facing for a long time.We encourage all stakeholders to reach an agreement on the revision of the Constitution, on the implementation of reforms and on a realistic electoral framework for credible and transparent elections.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the assassination on the 28th of August of Monferrier Dorval. This has been a major setback and we join the Secretary General's call to Haitian authorities to spare no effort to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

On gang related violence, we remain highly alarmed by the resurgence of this kind of gang activity, which has a long and terrible tradition in Haiti. We are particularly  concerned to learn that certain political actors and businessmen have close ties with criminal gangs. We strongly condemn all actions that undermine democratic processes and the rule of law, and we call on all stakeholders to refrain from acts that could contribute to instability.

It is important that the government continue to support the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission. We deplore, once again in this context, the scant progress made in pursuing accountability for human rights violations, such as the events in La Saline, Bel Air, and Grand Ravine  and the same goes for corruption scandals. We encourage the government to support the establishment of a standalone OHCHR office in Haiti, to safeguard continued collaboration with state authorities on human rights issues.

My third point is on police and justice. Here we see some hopeful developments. We hope that these positive signs of continued professionalization of the Haitian national police, in an environment that becomes even more challenging, will gain momentum. In this context, accountability of members of the police forces for their actions is of utmost importance as it will make confidence grow in the police as an institution.

At the same time, we remain worried that the limited amount of resources provided to the Haitian National Police over the last several years is beginning to erode not only the organization's operational capacity, but also public confidence in the country's sole functioning nationwide public safety institution. We are also concerned about the growing trend of polarization within the police forces, especially a violent group of mostly former, but also active policemen named “Fantom509”. We are also worried about support for a group called “G9 ad Fanmi”.

Major challenges also persist in the justice and corrections sectors. It is most illustrative of this that the occupancy rate in prisons has risen 338%, mainly due to rising numbers of pre-trial detainees stemming from bottlenecks in the judicial sector. We welcome the support provided by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund in order to achieve a reduction in prison and detention center inmates in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My last point is on the work of BINUH. We reaffirm our continued support to the work of a mission and the 19 United Nations agencies, funds and programs in Haiti that are working and delivering as One United Nations. We are in favor of an extension of the mandate of BINUH, which will be negotiated over the next couple of days. All components of the mandate still remain relevant to us, and we, of course, continue to fully support the important work of you, SRSG Helen La Lime and your entire team on Haiti.


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