“We turn the page of peacekeeping in Haiti" – Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations

“We turn the page of peacekeeping in Haiti" - Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations
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UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said on the last day of MINUJUSTH’s mandate, “we turn the page of peacekeeping in Haiti, but we are not closing the book on United Nations support” to the country.

Speaking to the Security Council today (15 Oct), Lacroix reiterated that the end of peacekeeping in Haiti marks the beginning of a new partnership between the country and the United Nations. He said it is an opportunity to ensure that the UN is providing the right support, at the right time, for the Haitian people.

However, Lacroix added that the people of Haiti are faced with a vicious cycle they have seen one too many times. Without a confirmed government, key tasks, such as the submission of the budget, and the organization of the legislative elections, remain stalled.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations:
“The scenes of political violence in the Senate were deplorable, and the absence of a follow-up session did not allow for a democratic vote to determine the Senate’s position. Without a confirmed government, key tasks of the executive, such as the submission of the budget for the current year, remain stalled. As legislative elections cannot take place in the current political stalemate, the stage is set for an institutional vacuum at the beginning of next year, when the mandate of the Members of the Lower Chamber and at least one third of the Senate comes to an end.”

The Under-Secretary-General said the President’s call for national dialogue and the formation of a unity government has been viewed by the opposition as quote ‘too little, too late’. But he pointed out that making the departure of the President as a precondition for dialogue leaves little room for negotiation. Yet, the formation of such a government may well be providing a way forward to lasting political solutions that are desperately needed.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations:
“The capacity and responsibility to emerge from this crisis, which risks undermining progress made over the last few years, is the responsibility of Haitians all political persuasions. Only their commitment to political dialogue good faith, their rejection of violence, and their willingness to seek out compromises can pave the way for finding solutions to address, through reforms, the deepest political and institutional roots of recurring instability in Haiti.”

Lacroix SAID The unfolding crisis, in all its dimensions, is also a powerful reminder of the interlinkages between peace, security and development. He said, “Lasting stability must be anchored in sustainable development. Turning that principle into practice has proved to be challenging in Haiti.”

Turning to progress achieved in the past 15 years, Lacroix mentioned – among other things – the UN’s support to the justice system and the development of the Haitian National Police, which has led to an almost 50 per cent reduction in the homicide rate. Today, all of Haiti’s communes have full time national police presence. The number of officers has grown from 2,500 in 2004 to 15,400 today.

Haitian ambassador Patrick Saint-Hilaire said his country was facing a multidimensional crisis, adding that some would consider that the closing of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country was taking place at the height of the crisis and amid increasing uncertainty. He said the UN must continue to comprehensively the main factors creating the Haitian crisis in order to contribute to lasting solutions.

SOUNDBITE (French) Patrick Saint-Hilaire, Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Haiti to the United Nations:
“The resources put in place have not yet raised to the level of the challenges. It is important that the global organization, inspired by development agenda for 2030, redouble its efforts in Haiti within the framework of the priorities defined by the national authorities, and that action must be based on three pillars: peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.”

Saint-Hilaire said Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was fully aware of the delicate political situation in the country and its adverse consequences on all aspects of life. He said that the country could only overcome the current crisis through a real dialogue.