Thank you, Mr. President, and good morning, Ambassador Regis and Special Representative Honoré.
Back in April, the Security Council voted unanimously to withdraw the military component of the UN’s MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti – a mission that had been deployed since 2004. And that vote reflected recognition of the progress Haiti had made towards stabilization and return to democratic order. This week marks a turning point – MINUSTAH winds down in just a few days, and the new UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti, MINUJUSTH, will launch. The new mission will devote its efforts to where they are most needed: supporting the rule of law, contributing to the continuing development of the Haitian National Police, and protecting human rights.
We believe this transition sets a strong example of how UN peacekeeping missions can and should change as a political situation evolves. The new MINUJUSTH mission embodies the core principles of success we have developed as part of our peacekeeping review, including making sure the mandated tasks and overall concept of the mission are consistent with the political realities on the ground.
We believe that the new MINUJUSTH mission’s staffing – including Formed Police Units, Individual Police Officers, and Corrections Officers, as well as civilian experts in the rule of law, human rights, political affairs, gender, conduct and discipline, and other key areas – will contribute significantly to the justice sector priorities the international community and the Government of Haiti have identified. The UN’s mentoring and advising of the Haitian National Police has been and will continue to be a key factor in the Haitian National Police’s ability to ensure public order and provide security for the Haitian people.
The new MINUJUSTH mission’s focus on addressing pre-trial detention and other corrections-related issues will also be important.
Now when peacekeeping works well, we see countries develop their own capacities to protect their citizens, and we see countries re-establish domestic political processes. MINUSTAH contributed to both these goals in Haiti, and for that we salute the leadership of Special Representative Sandra Honoré, who has served in Port-au-Prince since 2013.
We know the Secretary-General’s next Special Representative will be just as committed to working closely with the Government of Haiti and the Haitian people to achieve the important mandate of the MINUJUSTH successor mission.
I would also like to take a moment to recognize the troop- and police- contributing countries, as well as the thousands of men and women who have served in MINUSTAH over the years, for their commitment to the mission.
Finally, the support of MINUSTAH to the government and people of Haiti has resulted in the strengthening and, in some cases, the establishment of state institutions key to ensuring the conduct of Haiti’s constitutional and political processes.
Haiti’s security, political, and development agenda can only be shaped by Haitians themselves. So, it will thus be critical that Haiti take this window of opportunity to advance dialogue on the additional measures and reforms required to consolidate the security and stabilization gains of the past few years in order to strengthen Haiti’s institutions so that these bodies can continue to meet the needs of the Haitian people.
Together with the international community, the United States looks forward to maintaining our close partnership with the Haitian government and the Haitian people to ensure the country’s continued stability, democratic development, and future prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. President.