8 March 2012 - Security Council - MINUSTAH - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations
At the outset, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Mariano Fernández, for his briefing. I align myself with the statement to be made by the observer of the European Union and the representative of Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Friends.
This biannual debate comes just a few weeks after the Security Council visit to Haiti. That visit allowed us to reaffirm our collective support to the Haitian population and its representatives. That support is combined with recognition of the progress made since the earthquake, be it in terms of the 119,000 Haitian refugees who have been able to leave camps since June 2011, or as it pertains to the removal of debris. I bear in mind the numerous humanitarian challenges that the country continues to face, which were mentioned by the Secretary-General in his report (S/2012/128). For its part, France is determined to deliver on the commitments undertaken by its President, which now total €326 million, including our share of European aid.
However, the challenges facing Haiti today require the mobilization of the international community and of all the Haitian leaders. In Port-au-Prince we saw how the current level of tensions — aggravated since the Council’s return by the resignation of Prime Minister Garry Conille — is such that it is impeding the regular functioning of institutions and risking generating unrest within the population. That situation is all the more unfortunate since, on the other hand, certain progress has been made at the institutional level. The police are increasingly visible and respected. The President and Vice-President of the Superior Council of the Judiciary have finally been nominated. An encouraging sign in the struggle against impunity is that those responsible for the massacre that took place in Les Cayes prison in January 2010 have been brought to justice.
Finally, as the Secretary-General’s report notes, the security situation is relatively stable, although still fragile. To continue its stabilization and reconstruction efforts, the international community needs political stability. It needs an established Government. It also needs coordination on the part of donors, as such coordination is no longer carried out by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission since October 2011. The foreign investment requested by President Martelly also requires political stability.
We would therefore remind the Haitian authorities of their responsibilities to the people who elected them. We expect them to set a date for interim local and legislative elections, adopt a budget, swiftly promulgate the constitutional amendments with guarantees for the President, establish a permanent electoral council, appoint a Prime Minister and respect a truce between the executive and the legislature. We also call on President Martelly to take all the steps necessary to halt the grouping of armed men claiming to be former members of the Haitian armed forces.
MINUSTAH has been deployed in Haiti for eight years. It is responsible for maintaining order and stability and support to the Haitian police. It has gradually strengthened the capacities of the Haitian National Police, which today numbers 10,000 men. It has several highly professional civilian and military staff that have been provided by troop-contributing countries. And we provide it with significant resources every year for it to carry out its mission. At the same time, however, it is well known that the task of the peacekeeping operation is not to remain indefinitely in Haiti to maintain order or to carry out reconstruction and development. It is therefore important to have a clear idea of what we want to achieve and by when.
During the years of presence in Haiti, the Missions that have accumulated via mandates, the inexcusable conduct of certain elements deployed in Haiti and the tragedy of the cholera outbreak have tainted our image in the eyes of Haitians. We can regret that but certainly not ignore it; just as we cannot ignore the will expressed by some Haitians to see the departure of MINUSTAH one day. After the tragedy of the earthquake, we decided urgently to increase the MINUSTAH contingent.
Today, what we must do is to pursue the dual movement of drawdown and adaptation set out in resolution 2012 (2011), taking into account, of course, the conditions on the ground. We must refocus MINUSTAH’s efforts on police training and improving the rule of law. To do that, we need to improve the balance within the Mission among troops, police and civilians. Although outbreaks of violence are still possible, the basic tendency is towards an improved security situation that will enable a significant reduction in MINUSTAH’s overall strength.
The status quo and the current drawdown are both fraught with instability and tension. Because the United Nations presence in Haiti is viewed in the long term and we want MINUSTAH to be the last peacekeeping operation deployed in Haiti, we want the Mission to evolve in a gradual, responsible manner towards a withdrawal in good conditions.