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Noticias | Por Redacción Espacinsular

Madame President, Distinguished Members of the Council, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Haiti remains plagued by a mounting scale of violence due to an unprecedented surge in kidnappings, rapes and other crimes committed by armed gangs that increasingly affect the livelihoods of people and undermine humanitarian activities. I cannot overstress the severity of the situation in Haiti, where multiple protracted crises have reached a critical point.

Last year, BINUH documented over 8,400 direct victims of gang violence, including people killed, injured and kidnapped, an increase of 122 per cent as compared to 2022. The capital accounted for 83 per cent of killings and injuries, and violence also spread to the countryside, specifically to Artibonite. South of the capital, gangs conducted large-scale attacks to control key zones and continue to systematically employ sexual violence in their areas of control, putting women and girls as young as 12 at risk.  Since my last briefing, at least 75 people were reported killed by civilian vigilante movements that have emerged as a self-defense against gangs. Violence, displacement, and loss of livelihood have left thousands of children vulnerable to gang recruitment.

BINUH has continued working towards enhancing the capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP) with a special focus on intelligence-led performance and training. High attrition rates, however, have continued, further diminishing the HNP’s ability to counter gang violence and maintain security. Although 795 new recruits will join the HNP once the 33rd Class of the Police Academy graduates in March, the staffing gap remains concerning given that 1,665 police officers left the Force in 2023, according to data gathered by BINUH.

Madame la Présidente,

Au cours des derniers mois, le gouvernement et la communauté internationale ont déployé des efforts louables pour augmenter leur soutien à la Police Nationale d’Haïti. Cela comprend une augmentation de 13 pour cent du budget de l’Etat 2023/24 alloue a la PNH, ainsi que la fourniture d'équipements de protection individuelle, de véhicules blindés et d'armes. Grâce aux bailleurs multilatéraux et aux conseils techniques du BINUH, des moyens de transport, du matériel de bureau, du matériel d'enquête et des formations de renforcement des capacités ont été fournis à plus de 400 agents de la PNH. Et depuis octobre 2023, avec la livraison de 20 véhicules de patrouille et 250 motos achetés par le biais du Programme conjoint (Basket Fund) géré par le PNUD, la mobilité de la Police nationale d’Haïti a été accrue.

Le BINUH est étroitement engagé dans des consultations avec les autorités nationales haïtiennes pour mieux comprendre leurs attentes quant à l'impact potentiel que pourrait avoir le déploiement de la Mission Multinationale de Soutien à la Sécurité autorisée par ce Conseil. De plus, avec le soutien du BINUH, les institutions nationales, y compris le Groupe de travail interministériel sur le désarmement, le démantèlement, la réintégration et la réduction de la violence communautaire, se sont engagées dans des discussions sur les synergies potentielles entre l'assistance internationale et les efforts en cours afin de réduire cette violence.

Madame President,

I will continue encouraging Haitian stakeholders to effectively prepare for the deployment of the Multinational Security Support mission (MSS) creating the necessary coordination mechanisms towards its success.  Of utmost importance is that the MSS adheres to the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and that it establishes strong mechanisms to prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. The MSS must participate with experts in the liaison unit created by the Humanitarian Country Team, aiming to ensure aligned actions, advocating humanitarian principles and the protection of civilians.

While improvement to the security situation is essential to break the cycle of crises in Haiti, long-term stability can only be achieved through a nationally owned and inclusive political process. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the CARICOM Eminent Persons’ Group to help bridge different political stances. As indicated by the Group following their last visit to Haiti, government, political and civil society stakeholders continue to seek agreement through political talks on a governance framework that could pave the road for credible elections. Although inter-Haitian dialogue and consultations continue, divergences remain on governance arrangements, hampering progress on the political front.

I echo the sentiments expressed by the Secretary-General in his 7 December statement calling on every political actor and stakeholder in and for Haiti to come together in good faith and in unity and determination, prioritizing and upholding the interests of the Haitian people above all.

Regrettably, since my last briefing to this Council, new violent actors have been gaining prominence. The actual scope of these developments is yet to become clear. However, there are concerns of the potential destabilizing role to further erode Haitian institutions and divide the Haitian population. I call on stakeholders from across the spectrum to refrain from violence and engage peacefully and constructively in the political process. 

The Sanctions Regime is vital in curbing impunity and disrupting the financial resources and operational streams associated with criminal gangs. I place my trust in the continued efforts of the Panel of Experts, through their renewed mandate by this Council, towards encompassing all individuals associated with belonging, supporting and backing gangs.

Madame President,

I am encouraged by efforts of national authorities to improve the justice system and fight corruption. An urgent national program aimed to reduce the severe overcrowding in Haitian prisons (where, alarmingly, 84 per cent of those in prison are on provisional detention) has enabled to expedite processing of nearly 400 criminal cases to date. Haitian authorities have intensified the vetting of judges and public prosecutors. The Anti-Corruption Unit continues to push for accountability for high-ranking civil servants allegedly involved in corruption.

Nevertheless, so much more needs to be done and BINUH continues to be deeply engaged. Last July this Council approved our mandate renewal with expanded capacities. However, the liquidity situation of the organization is having a very serious impact on BINUH. However, we will continue to work with your support within these limitations.

To conclude, Madame President, Members of the Council,

I appeal once more to Member States to contribute generously to ensure the timely deployment of the MSS to Haiti.

The continuous support to the Haitian National Police; the deployment of the MSS; a sustained political process resulting in credible, participatory and inclusive elections, constitute fundamental elements that can contribute to restore security and stability to Haiti, where consequently the rule of law, democratic institutions, and sustainable development become a reality for the people of Haiti.