Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 5, 2020
I am pleased to welcome Foreign Minister Gil, today, from the Dominican Republic. And Helen, thank you for your continued, comprehensive update on the situation in Haiti, both today and during our meeting on Friday with Sancho and Laura. Thank you as well for the work you and the BINUH team have undertaken in support of stability and reform in Haiti. The United States – and I personally – remain committed to working closely with all stakeholders in the service of a secure and prosperous Haiti.
During my conversation on Saturday with President Moïse, I urged him and the government of Haiti to hold legislative elections as soon as technically feasible in order to re-establish Haiti’s parliament. The United States continues to encourage the government of Haiti to take the necessary steps to organize these overdue legislative elections and to exit the current period of rule by decree.
While the Haitian government’s announcement of the members of the Provisional Electoral Council was a necessary step in that direction, there is much more work to be done, including the approval of an electoral law, an electoral budget, and an electoral calendar. The people of Haiti deserve peace, prosperity, and stability, which can only come through partnership between a government responsive to its citizens and a functioning legislature.
We are deeply concerned, as is President Moïse, that armed gangs continue to violate the human rights of residents of vulnerable communities throughout Haiti, and have displaced hundreds of families. We urge the Haitian government to protect its most vulnerable citizens by implementing a comprehensive anti-gang strategy to undermine support for gangs and hold the perpetrators of violence and their accomplices accountable.
Haiti’s justice system has taken no concrete action to prosecute human rights abuses in recent months, and the lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses reinforces an environment of impunity. The assassination of Dorval on August 28 was an attack on civil society and on all of those working for a better future in Haiti. We call for the Government of Haiti to investigate and prosecute those responsible, and we will continue to advocate for the strengthening of the rule of law in Haiti.
I conveyed to President Moïse that the United States remains committed to working with the Haitian National Police to strengthen its capacity to disrupt armed gangs and violence, and to provide citizen security. We recently reprogrammed $5 million in assistance toward anti-gang efforts, and will provide additional advisors to the HNP to help address human rights and police conduct concerns. However, the Haitian National Police continues to face budgetary constraints and increasing operational pressures. Without timely and sufficient funding, and a long-term commitment from the government of Haiti, the HNP cannot effectively fulfill its public safety mandate.
Haiti continues to face the threat of COVID-19, as we all do. But as the Secretary-General’s report notes, the government of Haiti’s performance in limiting the impact of the crisis has been laudable. We commend the Moïse government for its implementation of the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, and we pledge to continue assisting the Haitian people to fight this pandemic.
To date, the United States has committed over $16 million in combined assistance to support Haitian efforts to fight COVID-19 and transferred ownership of 37 ventilators to the Haitian government to assist in its efforts.
As we approach the end of BINUH’s first year, we affirm the essential role of the good offices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and BINUH’s vital work in the service of good governance and reform. We also note the enhanced cooperation between BINUH and the UN Country Team over the past year. It is essential to continue these coordinated efforts, and the Country Team’s distinct areas of expertise and responsibilities, to ensure the most effective UN support for Haiti.
Just a year ago, I met with President Moise and a cross-section of Haiti’s political and economic leaders to discuss a path forward. And I must tell you that, on Saturday, I felt cautiously optimistic during my conversation.
And, just to be very transparent, if you don’t know, the presidents father passed away on Sunday. And due to the death of his beloved father, the meetings will be delayed with the opposition parties for four or five days.
It is long past time for Haiti’s stakeholders to resolve their prolonged political impasse, build strong institutions, and enact necessary reforms. The United States will continue to stand with Haiti, as it works to build a secure and prosperous future. And again, our thoughts and prayers are with the president at this time, President Moïse.