Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on Haiti
We welcome to this meeting Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, Jean Victor Généus, and the Dominican Republic, Roberto Alvarez, as well as Permanent Representatives of Saint Lucia and Kenya. We thank SRSG Salvador and Executive Director of UNODC, Ms. Ghada Waly, for the informative briefings. We are also thankful to Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms.Tirana Hassan, for her assessments.
Time and again, this Chamber hears the words about the catastrophic security situation in Haiti. At the same time, the statistics show that the situation in the country is not just bad, but is getting worse with each passing month. Specifically, the latest Secretary-General's report indicates that the number of gang-related homicides in 2023 has doubled from 2022 to 4,800. Other crimes and human rights abuses, including kidnappings, sexual violence, and recruitment of minors, have grown exponentially too.
Gangs expand their zones of control beyond the usual neighborhoods in the capital and occupy more and more territory across the country. They are in possession of hundreds of thousands of small arms, which continue to flow freely into Haiti. UNODC and the Sanctions Committee's Panel of Experts have issued several reports on the sources and routes of smuggling. It is extremely disappointing that the region's largest arms manufacturer is either unable or unwilling to do anything about Haiti's being flooded with weapons.
Haitians have limited capacity to combat crime. The national police have lost 3,300 officers over the past three years, and the remaining units are often ill-equipped and inadequately trained to confront gangs.
In that context, expectations are high for the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti. Unfortunately, more than three months after the Council had been forced into adopting resolution 2699, there is still no information on the key parameters of the operation, including the rules of using force. We are convinced that an intervention that was agreed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter must take place within a clearly defined framework and be fully accountable to the Council. We look forward to progress in the preparations for the deployment of the Mission under the leadership of Kenya, whose efforts we continue to support.
The critical situation with maintenance of legal order in Haiti is provoking an avalanche of problems in the socio-economic, humanitarian and human rights domains. But the main crisis is the political one. Unless it is settled, any solutions can only be temporary. The national state institutions have almost forfeited their capacity, and for a long time the country has not had a single legitimately elected body of authority. Preparations for the launch of the electoral process move too slowly, and the "National Consensus for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections", which was signed with pomp and circumstance more than a year ago, has not been implemented because no real broad political consensus as regards the future of the country has been reached.
Against this background, promises to "make 2024 the year of rebuilding state institutions" still look unrealistic. We call on all parties to put aside narrow self-interest, which prevents them from reaching a common ground, and to agree as soon as possible on convening elections and governing the country during the transition period.
There is still no clarity with investigating the assassination of President Moïse. We have noted the progress in the national judicial process. We trust that the perpetrators of this crime, which was committed with the participation of foreign nationals, will be identified and held accountable under Haitian law.
External interference in this process, as well as the internal political affairs of Haiti, is unacceptable. The autonomy and sovereignty of that country were literally "strangled", first by the former colonial powers and later by a state that fancied itself the hegemon of the entire Western hemisphere, which is now trying to shift the consequences of such approaches onto the shoulders of the international community. Criminal reparations in favor of the colonizers, numerous interventions and political engineering techniques were used. It has brought the Haitian people nothing else but sufferings and plunged the country into violence and lawlessness. We hope that our Haitian friends will have the courage and determination to turn this dark page of their history soon enough.