United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Statement by HE Ms Philippa King, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you, Mr President, and we welcome your presence here today. We also welcome the new Permanent Representative of China.
We congratulate SRSG Sandra Honoré for her appointment and thank her for her first briefing on the situation in Haiti.
We commend MINUSTAH personnel who have worked tirelessly on the ground with the Government and people of Haiti to rebuild their country. Much of this work has been done in the face of natural disasters and an ongoing cholera epidemic. While there is still much work to be done, there is much to be encouraged by in the Secretary-General's latest report.
Since the Council last discussed Haiti in March, some much needed steps towards the holding of long overdue elections have been taken. The submission by the President to Parliament for the draft electoral law yesterday is the latest of these and it is very welcome. It remains, however, a matter of great concern that elections continue to be delayed. It is critical to Haiti's recovery, reconstruction and development that free, fair, inclusive and credible elections are held as soon as possible. We urge all political actors to work towards building the political consensus required to establish the legislation necessary for elections to be held, and for MINUSTAH to continue to provide the electoral assistance and logistical support for those elections.
Political stability and economic development in Haiti are also closely linked. We welcome President Martelly's emphasis on institutional strengthening to facilitate foreign investment in support of socio-economic development, and note the efforts to attract foreign investment have resulted in a significant increase in economic partnerships.
Integration into the Caribbean region should also assist in Haiti's development. President Martelly's engagement with the region is welcome. For the first time, Haiti assumed the six-month rotating chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and hosted the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.
While these are all welcome developments, real change, however, requires such development, growth and regional cooperation to be sustained, and consistent efforts to ensure the ongoing risks of political instability, as outlined by SRSG Honoré, do not jeopardise progress.
MINUSTAH's emphasis on building the capacity of the Haitian National Police continues to show results, as demonstrated by the increased responsibility in policing assumed by local authorities. Close cooperation between MINUSTAH and the HNP has produced results in combating violence and crime.
On this basis and conditioned by the realities on the ground, we agree with the Secretary-General's proposal for a further reduction to the military component of MINUSTAH.
We commend the Secretary-General's ongoing efforts to eliminate cholera in Haiti. Funding and coordinated handling between stakeholders, however, is still a key challenge. To eradicate this disease, coordination among Haitian national agencies, multilateral organisations and other partners is crucial.
We remain deeply concerned by sexual and gender-based violence, including against minors. We are also deeply concerned by the recent increase in homophobic violence in Haiti. We commend MINUSTAH for its swift response in issuing its press release of 16 August calling for tolerance amongst all Haitians. We urge the Haitian government to continue to work with MINUSTAH to increase efforts to support the prevention of further incidents, inspire a respect for rights and strengthen the judicial process.
We appreciate the inclusion in the Secretary-General's report of a progress report against MINUSTAH's consolidation plan, and note the establishment of the joint government-MINUSTAH working group to monitor the gradual and orderly transfer of responsibilities to the Government. In this regard, we welcome the Secretary-General's intention to present options for the UN's involvement in Haiti beyond 2016 in his next report.
We look forward to engaging with Haiti and other member states on the best way for Haiti to transition from UN support, to strengthen institutions and governance which provide security, justice and jobs–and to break the cycle of poverty and violence.