Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Haiti
Statement16 June 2022
Thank you, President,
I would also like to thank SRSG La Lime for her briefing and to Dr Descardes for his important testimony today.
I also want to welcome the Foreign Minister of Haiti to the Chamber.
I will focus my remarks this afternoon on three areas of particular concern:
As we have heard, today’s lived reality for the Haitian people is one of constant intimidation, grievous violence, absolute terror.
The collapse of state control and rampant gang activity, has led to a population living in fear. Fear of being caught in cross fire or kidnapped if they leave their homes. And with no guarantee of protection from sexual violence or assault, even in their own homes.
Ireland condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the systematic use of sexual violence as a weapon against countless women and girls across the country. Men and boys are also affected.
Testimony from victims and survivors make clear the scale and brutality being perpetrated against the Haitian people. Perpetrators emboldened by impunity, seemingly untouchable in the context of a failed judicial system.
Civil society space in Haiti is shrinking as a direct consequence of the violence utilised by gangs to exert control and dominate the population.
Social leaders, not least women leaders, risk their lives and those of their families in standing up for their rights and working constructively to create a better, more peaceful future for Haiti.
The many and varied challenges confronting the Haitian people cannot be overcome in the absence of active, stable and representative governance. The need for inclusive dialogue, one in which women can participate fully, meaningfully, and safely, has never been more urgent.
Those committed to working to overcome political deadlock in Haiti need to be protected; they need the support, encouragement, and assistance of the UN and the international community.
As we look towards BINUH’s mandate renewal, what is clear is the dire and urgent need to help build capacity within the Haitian National Police. It is also crucial to support judicial reform, strengthen the capacity to provide protection from gender-based violence, and provide a holistic response to victims.
This Council is keenly aware of the impact the current food security crisis is having on fragile countries across the globe. Haiti has not escaped this ripple effect, with now almost half the population facing severe food insecurity. Violence has disrupted food production, transport, and access to markets for millions who are falling deeper into hunger and acute malnutrition. Spiralling fuel costs further compound the situation.
Humanitarian access has grown more precarious, curtailed by gang control of roads, ports and border crossings. Humanitarian workers, focused solely on alleviating dire need, are being targeted by gangs and are at risk of kidnapping and sexual violence.
Yet against this challenging environment, the Humanitarian Response Plan remains less than 30% funded, one of the lowest levels of funding of any plan. At a time of global turbulence, we must not allow the humanitarian need in Haiti to be forgotten.
This Council has a responsibility to those carrying out its good offices and its mandate. This means ensuring the Mission has adequate resources to carry out all its mandated functions. We have heard the extreme jeopardy facing BINUH’s staff in their efforts to carry out our mandate. They carry an unimaginable burden in our name.
Ireland looks forward to engaging constructively with Council members to deliver a mandate in support of the Haitian people with resources, human and financial, sufficient to the task at hand.
We welcome the recommendations made by the Secretary General resulting from the Independent Assessment. Over the coming weeks, we have a responsibility to consider how to translate these into actions through the new mandate.
Today’s meeting has left us in no doubt, if any doubt had existed, as to the scale of the challenges being faced by the Haitian people. Our deep regret and concern is not enough. The people of Haiti deserve our action.
Thank you President.