Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
December 21, 2022
Thank you, Madam President, and thank you to the briefers for their participation. Before I give my remarks, I would like to welcome Foreign Minister Geneus and Foreign Minister Alvarez for being with us with today and look forward to hearing their perspectives on the current situation in Haiti.
The United States continues to work to address Haiti’s insecurity and worsening humanitarian crisis and to support Haitian-led efforts to facilitate a political accord that would benefit all Haitians. We understand Prime Minister Henry is hoping for an agreement on a broad-based political accord before the end of the year. We are cautiously optimistic following a December 8 statement from influential members of Haiti’s private sector that expressed support for a consensus-based accord. This is the first time Haiti’s private sector leaders have united to this extent in support of a political accord and democratic institutional reforms.
Ambassador Biang, we appreciate your update on the activities of the Haiti Sanctions Committee covering the first 60 days following the October 21 adoption of the resolution establishing the sanctions regime. We are pleased that four highly qualified candidates have been selected to fill critical Panel of Experts vacancies covering finance, humanitarian affairs, armed groups and criminal networks, and arms. We are also grateful for the progress Gabon has made to draft working guidelines for the Sanctions Committee.
Together with our partner and co-penholder Mexico, we introduced the resolution establishing a sanctions regime as an important step to help the Haitian people. The United States has also placed visa restrictions on parties known to have colluded with criminal gangs in Haiti.
These steps have already begun to have a chilling effect on gang leaders and political and economic elites causing and financing the ongoing crises in Haiti, but we do not plan to stop there. We will continue to target violent gang leaders and their financiers. We are identifying additional targets to nominate at the United Nations in order to halt funding to those involved in the unrest in Haiti.
We are encouraged that the Haitian National Police were able to reestablish control over the Varreux fuel terminal. Despite this positive development, violence and insecurity remains an everyday concern for Haitians. Ongoing kidnappings, use of sexual violence and raping by gangs, clashes between gangs, and the blockage of the country’s main roads remain significant challenges. For this reason, we continue to advocate for international security support, including a non-UN multinational force as requested by the Haitian government.
The United States has provided more than $90 million in security support to Haiti in the past 18 months and will continue to provide critical support bilaterally. We also continue to provide lifesaving aid as Haitian people struggle to cope with a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation that includes famine-like conditions in parts of Port-au-Prince and the country-wide spread of cholera.
For our part, the United States has always been the largest humanitarian donor to the historically underfunded UN appeal for Haiti. In response to heightened humanitarian needs, including in response to the August 2021 earthquake, the United States has provided more than $171 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance and early recovery, risk reduction, and resilience programming since fiscal year 2021.
We are also expanding our emergency assistance to respond to growing protection concerns, help stem the cholera outbreak, and deliver essential food and other commodities to the most vulnerable communities in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country. We call on other donors to increase support during this critical period for Haiti.
We recognize that any security gains must also be tied to a political accord among Haiti’s various actors, and we call on the Haitian people to find a way to achieve an inclusive, broad-based consensus on moving forward with a political accord. We recognize the need to support institutional reforms in addition to addressing Haiti’s immediate security and humanitarian needs. Through the 10-year Global Fragility Act plan, the United States seeks to address root causes of instability, building on justice sector reform while addressing civic engagement and economic opportunity.
We also urge partner nations to contribute to the UN Basket Fund given the dire need to change the security situation in Haiti. Without improved security, progress on the political, economic, or humanitarian fronts will be impossible. We encourage the international community to continue focusing on Haiti and to work to address all of these needs.
Thank you, Madam President.