Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City, NY
October 15, 2019
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Special Representative, Lacroix, and thank you for your briefing. And welcome back to our friend Foreign Minister Meza-Cuadra.
Mr. President, this is a historic day for Haiti and for the United Nations. In so many complex circumstances, the status quo prevails. But today is different. Today marks the transition – after 15 years of commitment and sacrifice – of a peacekeeping mission to a special political mission. Our gratitude for the brave men and women who served in both MINUJUSTH and MINUSTAH is very deep. Their contributions have been instrumental in helping lay Haiti’s path toward security and stability. We also acknowledge and welcome the leadership of Helen La Lime.
The transition of MINUJUSTH to a Special Political Mission demonstrates that the UN can and should adapt its peacekeeping presence to reflect evolving circumstances, and in support of its own evaluations. Given the current state of Haiti’s political landscape, a successful transition between the Mission and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti is more important than ever.
The United States is ready to support Haiti, BINUH, and Mrs. La Lime – a sentiment I am confident is shared by the entire Council. We commend the progress made during the Mission’s work in Haiti, including expanded protection of Haitian citizens by the country’s human rights institution, and increased capacity of civil society organizations to promote human dignity. We are particularly pleased with the development of the Haitian National Police, which is now ready to shoulder Haiti’s domestic security burden. The professionalism it has shown in the face of a volatile security environment is both commendable and heartening. As part of this development, we encourage accountability through timely investigations and prosecutions in any case where excessive force is used.
We also recognize the serious resource constraints the Haitian National Police faces, and we call on the Government of Haiti to provide this essential institution with the support it needs for effective work. Beyond law enforcement, as the Secretary-General’s report indicates, Haiti will require continued assistance in several key areas, including these five domains: the organization of free and fair elections; the continued professionalism of the Haitian National Police; the protection of human rights; the strengthening of the justice sector; and the reduction of violence, with particular emphasis on gang-related violence. We expect both the government and BINUH will continue working toward these goals. More broadly, we encourage the government of Haiti to continue a peaceful dialogue that results in a parliamentary government that strengthens the rule of law and anti-corruption institutions.
Likewise, we urge Haiti’s political, economic, and civil society stakeholders to work peacefully to address the most pressing economic and social challenges facing the country. We must be clear, however, that the government of Haiti is ultimately responsible for the success of this new mission. This represents not merely a new challenge, but an opportunity to bring long-awaited peace and prosperity to the Haitian people. We encourage the government to take full advantage of this opportunity and to engage comprehensively with BINUH to that end.
Finally, it is vital for the international community as a whole—and member states bilaterally—to support Haiti through investments and active engagement. As we partner with other countries all over the world, the United States is investing significant economic and political resources in a better future for Haiti. We remain its largest bilateral donor, with $5.2 billion committed for humanitarian relief, reconstruction, and development assistance since 2010, and we urge all members to increase support via foreign direct investment and other means.
Fellow Council Members, together, we have done the important work of seeing this peacekeeping mission transition into something new. May we not tire in our efforts as we – and the government of Haiti – now strive to convert this new political mission into tangible human advancement for all Haitians.