At this difficult time, France stands with Haiti [fr]
Haiti/MINUSTAH - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 11 October 2016
At the outset, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Sandra Honoré, for her comprehensive briefing. I again wish to assure her of the full support of France for the activities on the ground under the particularly difficult conditions in Haiti during the past few days. She has our full support. I would also like, through her, to express our support for all staff of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
I endorse the statements to be delivered by the observer of the European Union and the representative of Peru on behalf of the Group of Friends of Haiti.
At a time when Haiti continues to assess the terrible human and property toll of the recent passing of Hurricane Matthew, we would like to express our condolences to all Haitians for the recent victims. At this difficult time, France stands with Haiti. My country decided to respond immediately to the call of the Haitian authorities for humanitarian assistance.
The President of the Republic stated that all available resources would be mobilized to implement emergency assistance as quickly as possible in coordination with our European partners and the international community. That mobilization has already begun. On 5 October, at the request of the Haitian authorities, a French military aircraft flew reconnaissance flights to assess the damage done to the infrastructure and to determine what was needed to be delivered by way of humanitarian assistance. With 60 French military/civilian security personnel and 90 tons of equipment, including 2 water purification plants, 6 sanitation units, medical kits and humanitarian first aid, are currently being transported or are about to be routed locally. Moreover, the French food-aid credits to Haiti have been refilled.
Finally, two helicopters have been made available by the Airbus Foundation for the purposes of medical transport and first-aid delivery to the most isolated areas. Of course, all of that is being carried out within the framework set by the Haitian Government and its representatives in the regions impacted by the disaster. Furthermore, France, together with the international community, calls for heeding the urgent appeal launched by the United Nations in the aftermath of the disaster.
This terrible tragedy reminds us once again of the scope of the humanitarian challenges facing Haiti and its people. We are particularly concerned, in the current context, by the resurgence of cholera cases. France fully supports the efforts undertaken by the Haitian authorities with the support of the United Nations. We have contributed to several quick-impact projects on the ground since 2010. We have relayed the call of the Secretary-General to bolster that mobilization and will carefully examine the proposals to be made to the General Assembly to intensify efforts to combat cholera in Haiti, as well as to provide assistance and financial support to the Haitians most directly affected by the disease. More needs to be done by the international community to finally eradicate cholera in Haiti.
France hopes that the electoral process under way will be concluded as quickly as possible so that Haiti can finally put an end to the uncertainties surrounding that issue. More than ever, Haiti needs stable institutions with democratic legitimacy that will enable it to tackle the various economic, social and humanitarian challenges that the country faces.
France has taken note of the revised electoral timetable announced by the Provisional Electoral Council and the postponement of the elections, originally scheduled for 9 October, because of the consequences of the passing of Hurricane Matthew. We urge all Haitian political stakeholders, including the provisional President, to do their utmost to ensure that the elections are held in the near future and that constitutional order is established as quickly as possible. Each individual must show responsibility and restraint in that regard. It is important that the forthcoming elections be led by the Haitians themselves and conducted in a transparent, open, inclusive and credible manner. France will contribute to that goal by participating in the electoral monitoring mission, established by the Organization of American States.
More than 12 years after the deployment of MINUSTAH, the conditions on the ground have profoundly changed, as have the country’s needs. We have gradually moved from a peacekeeping situation to a context where the United Nations is called upon to assist in development and the construction of a State under a robust rule of law. Attending to that changing reality will help us to provide the most effective assistance to the Haitian people. The security and stabilization of Haiti in the long term depend first and foremost on the Haitian authorities shouldering their responsibility, as well as on the sustainable development of the island.
France is pleased to see that the security situation is generally stable. While it remains tenuous, owing to political tensions related to the successive postponements of the electoral cycle, it has nonetheless been competently managed by the Haitian security forces. In that regard, we welcome the growing authority of the Haitian National Police, demonstrated by its increasing ability to act largely independently.
It is now important that the ongoing discussions on the future of MINUSTAH be conducted as speedily as possible. France fully supports the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2016/753), particularly with regard to the limitation of the extension of the next mandate to only six months, as well as the implementation, at the end of the current six-month mandate, of a strategic review that will allow us to consider whether the context is ripe for the drawdown of MINUSTAH and for its replacement by a new form of United Nations presence. Indeed, we believe it important that the relaunch of the Mission’s reconfiguration not be indefinitely delayed on account of the political stalemate, as there is a risk of jeopardizing the United Nations capacity to best meet the needs of the Haitian population.
The situation in Haiti concerns us all even more today. The support of the international community and the engagement of the United Nations remain even more necessary than ever, but our responsibility in the Council is to do all we can to ensure that that engagement is as appropriate and as effective as possible. The challenges facing Haiti and the expectations of its people commit us to taking the decisions necessary. Haitian political stakeholders today must be fully aware of that.