Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 19, 2020
Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, SRSG La Lime and Jacques for shedding the light on the situation in Haiti.
As we all know, COVID-19 has placed significant stress on Haiti’s already fragile healthcare system. Reports of attacks on COVID-19 patients, and on medical facilities treating them, are deeply concerning, as fear and distrust will only worsen the situation. In this challenging time, the United States stands with Haiti: to date, we have committed over $16 million in assistance to support Haitian efforts to fight COVID-19.
Because the peak for COVID-19 infections in Haiti may be yet to come, it is essential that all Haitians work together to limit the spread of the virus.
We note with concern the spread of COVID-19 within Haiti’s overcrowded prisons, and call on the Government of Haiti to fully follow through on its March 27 decision to release pretrial detainees accused of minor crimes, as well as medically vulnerable prisoners nearing completion of their sentences. This is a time for action, not for talk.
It is equally important that the government continue its work on needed political, economic, and social reforms. President Moise’s May 18 speech stressing his commitment to hold elections is a positive step, and we encourage the Haitian government and all political actors to reach a political accord to find a way forward, most importantly for the best interest of the Haitian people.
We note the gains made by the Haitian National Police, as it continues its efforts across community and gang violence, and to reduce kidnappings. The HNP’s General Inspectorate has taken positive actions to improve human rights accountability, a welcome step toward increased transparency. However, as we have previously noted, the continuing failure to provide the HNP with required adequate resources places its hard-won gains at risk. Once again, this is a time for action, not just talk.
We must also express our concerns regarding the lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses, including in La Saline and Bel Air. Steps must be taken to avoid reinforcing an environment of impunity.
Finally, as Haiti responds to the pandemic and to the underlying drivers of instability, it is essential to strengthen the rule of law and to end the scourge of corruption. Jacques, we are listening to you and we are reinforcing your concerns and supporting the citizens of Haiti. And I must say to President Moise and to all of Haiti’s political leaders: it is time to set aside your differences, and to come together to build the strong institutions that will deliver a more prosperous and secure future for all Haitians.