Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Haiti

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 6, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank SRSG Maria Isabel Salvador for her briefing, as well as that of Ambassador Biang in his capacity as chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to Resolution 2653. I would also like to thank Ms. Marie Yolene Gilles for her important account and perspective on behalf of civil society as someone who has tirelessly promoted women’s rights, advanced the cause of human rights, and supported victims of gang violence.  

I would also like to acknowledge with gratitude the participation of the Foreign Minister of Haiti, the Prime Minister of Jamaica on behalf of CARICOM, the Permanent Representative of Barbados on behalf of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, and the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic.

At the outset, let me say the United States would like to express its solidarity with the people of Haiti. As Vice President Harris noted at the U.S.-Caribbean Leaders Meeting, our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and all who have been impacted last month by flooding, an earthquake, and of course, the spiraling violence.

The security situation in Haiti continues to remain a great concern. The UN Sanctions Panel of Experts reported increased levels of armed violence and gang encroachment into new territories. Gangs’ influence – as we’ve already heard – now extends to 80 percent of Port-au-Prince, and increasingly, beyond the capital.

Criminal gangs continue to commit increasingly flagrant and violent human rights abuses to exert control and intimidate the public. The deliberate use of gender-based violence, especially rape and other forms of sexual violence, is just one horrifying tactic. The United States strongly condemns this systematic use of sexual violence and recognizes the disproportionate impact this crisis has on women and girls.

As we also heard today, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Haiti continues to fuel further violence, induces displacement, and often occurs alongside other abuses against civilians. Survivors lack access to support services and risk reprisals for reporting abuses. The rampant gang violence has also reduced access to livelihoods and health care services, kept children out of school, and created a food security emergency.

We welcome the recent visits to Haiti not only by Secretary-General Guterres, but also WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain, UNICEF Executive Director Cathy Russell, and the new independent expert on human rights in Haiti, William O’Neill, which have brought much-needed attention to the worsening humanitarian crisis.

The United States has provided more than $110 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti this year, and we continue to work closely with partner organizations to meet urgent needs. However, without improved security, the humanitarian situation in Haiti will continue to deteriorate.

The illicit flow of firearms enables gangs to carry out their crimes and to stockpile weapons that can surpass the firepower of the Haitian National Police. We also know that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons can be linked to conflict-related sexual violence.

The United States’ determination to address firearms trafficking led to the creation of a new position in our Department of Justice, Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions, which will maximize information-sharing among countries in the region to support the prosecution of traffickers.

The United States also stood up a Haiti Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit in collaboration with the Haitian National Police to facilitate investigation and prosecution of crimes with a U.S. nexus, particularly firearms and human trafficking.

The Security Council will also need to do its part in assisting Haiti, including by advancing additional sanctions against those who finance and foment violence and instability in the country.

Mr. President, the Haitian government and its people have asked for international support, for our help. The United States continues to work with a growing number of international partners to support the urgent security needs in Haiti. For these reasons, and as Secretary-General Guterres requested most recently during his trip to Haiti on July 1 – and reiterated today – the United States supports the deployment of a multinational force to Haiti to help its police restore security.

I will close by reiterating the important work of the special political mission under the leadership of SRSG Salvador. BINUH’s support of the national political forum, recruitment support to the HNP, and legal assistance to judicial authorities are examples of its invaluable work. Together with our co-penholder Ecuador, we are addressing ways to strengthen BINUH’s capacities as the Security Council discusses its mandate renewal.

Thank you, Mr. President.