Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 26, 2022
Thank you, Madam President. SRSG La Lime, UNODC Executive Director Waly, and WFP Deputy Executive Director Guarnieri, thank you for your briefings. The United States shares the Secretary-General’s deep concern about the instability in Haiti and is working to help address civil unrest to ensure the security of all Haitians.
I would also like to thank the Foreign Ministers of Haiti and Dominican Republic, as well as the Permanent Representative of Canada for their participation in today’s briefing. Foreign Minister Geneus, Foreign Minister Alvarez, and Ambassador Rae — the perspective and partnership of your countries are invaluable as the Council addresses how the international community can support Haiti-led solutions to these ongoing challenges.
Colleagues, as you heard President Biden say in his address to the General Assembly last week, “we continue to stand with our neighbor in Haiti … and we call on the world to do the same. We have more to do.”
The United States certainly recognizes the ability to gather and protest is fundamental in any democracy. That said, we strongly condemn acts of violence, looting, and destruction that have recently occurred in Haiti. We were dismayed by the looting that took place at a WFP warehouse in Gonaives on September 15, resulting in the loss of over $1 million of food supplies, and the looting of WFP and IOM supplies from a UNOPS warehouse in Les Cayes last week.
We call on all Haitians to express their views in a peaceful manner, one that protects humanitarian actors, respects law enforcement, and allows unfettered access to food, water, and medical care for Haitians.
We all know that security in Haiti has worsened over the past year as criminal gangs continue to ravage parts of the country, leading to many killings and kidnappings. We are concerned with the significant deterioration in the independence and operational ability of the judiciary and the apparent evidence of widespread impunity reserved for elite members of the Haitian population.
We are also seeing troubling reports of sexual assault by gangs against women and girls, as well as the increased recruitment and use of minors in gang activities, including arming minors to take direct part in violent conflict.
These struggles continue to remind us of the importance of providing support to the Haitian National Police. We are firmly committed to efforts to strengthen the HNP’s capacity to counter gangs, including community-based efforts to deter gang recruitment, the deployment of additional anti-gang subject matter experts, and support to build the HNP’s anti-gang strategic planning, organizational, and operational capacities. And we will procure more equipment for the HNP, like protective gear and new vehicles.
Over the past 18 months, the United States has provided more than $80 million in assistance to the HNP. Just last week, we provided emergency supplies to help the HNP maintain its operations in the face of violent unrest.
The HNP continues to need further support. On the margins of the General Assembly High-Level Week, we co-hosted with Canada and UNDP a side event on security in Haiti at which we announced the provision of $3 million to the UN Security Basket Fund. The Basket Fund presents an outstanding opportunity for all nations to contribute to the restoration of security in Haiti.
Given the seriousness of the situation, we will continue to expedite our security assistance to Haiti. We are about to start vetting the first 100 candidates of our SWAT training program. We expect training will be well underway by later this fall. We see this as a key component of our joint efforts – of the efforts of all of us – to support Haiti-led solutions. The international community must continue its support to turn the tide of Haiti’s extremely serious security environment before it is too late. Because the people of Haiti need security before they can make political progress. They need security before they can make economic progress. And they need security so they can receive humanitarian aid.
As we know, gang elements and those who fund them are creating a deeply destabilizing environment in Haiti. The international community must help Haiti respond and this Council must act. To that end, building on UN Security Council Resolution 2645, we are working with our close partner and co-penholder Mexico on a draft resolution proposing specific measures to enable the Security Council to address the many challenges facing the people of Haiti. We are aiming to circulate a draft in the coming days.
Madam President, we have a duty, right now, to redouble our efforts to help Haiti. With our efforts combined, we can send a clear and powerful message to those who seek to undermine the security of everyday Haitians: you will not succeed. Let us ensure that Haiti can provide its citizens with the security and political stability they deserve.
Thank you, Madam President.