Saturday, January 31, 2015
UN Security Council Keeps an Eye on Haiti
Members of the Security Council heard briefings this week from the co-leads of a trip taken by the body to Haiti, where they saw first-hand the critical work being done by the United Nations Mission there in support of a better future for the country’s people.
Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States, said the visit, which Council members carried out from 23 to 25 January, included meetings with political leaders, civil society and United Nations representatives, and had shed important light on the situation as the country headed towards elections.
“Checks and balances are key,” Ms. Power said, as she described how encouraged she was by President Michel Martelly’s efforts in leading a multi-party Government and noted that Council members had been impressed by the newly-formed provisional electoral council’s commitment to independence.
She said she remained concerned about the loss of the check on presidential power and called on all sides to redouble their efforts for constructive dialogue with an aim to ensure free and fair elections.
Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet, Permanent Representative of Chile, which holds the Council presidency for January, echoed Ms. Powers’ views on the contribution made by the UN stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) through its various projects to the prospect of a brighter future for Haitians.
He said the “fundamental goal” of the Council’s trip was to underscore the importance of an inclusive atmosphere for stability and to promote the prevention of conflict. Council members urged the various actors to work together to hold legislative elections that were free, fair, inclusive, transparent and in the interests of the people of Haiti.
Members also had the chance to assess initiatives undertaken to strengthen the national police of Haiti and to promote more responsibility in the State and national authorities. They had recognised progress achieved while also stressing that it remains one of main areas where challenges remain, with particular significance as elections approach.
The visit to a women’s prison in Pétionville showed Council members how clear the need for progress in guaranteeing the rule of law, including access to justice, was for Haitians, Mr. Barros Melet said, noting that the trip had also given members a chance to evaluate the implementation of resolution 2180 (2014).
Both briefers discussed the visit to the country’s national memorial for all those who lost their lives during the 2010 earthquake, with Ms. Powers noting how moving the tribute – “a large piece of rubble which stands as a stark symbol of all that was destroyed” – was, and Mr. Barros Melet stressing how the Haitian people had shown resilience in the five years since the devastation of the earthquake.