I would like to thank the Secretary-General and Special Representative La Lime for the report, and for the concrete recommendations therein, which we support. I would also like to thank Ms. Ewald for her brief and Prime Minister Joseph for his participation.
Ten days from now, Haitians were scheduled to vote in a constitutional referendum. We note the recent decision to postpone this referendum. And encourage all parties to engage in substantive dialogue and prepare for the critical elections later this year. We hope these parliamentary and presidential elections can be implemented in an orderly and peaceful manner as scheduled. For this, a genuine commitment to democratic principles is a prerequisite. And will entail ensuring the full, equal, and meaningful participation of all eligible voters, including women.
Norway is increasingly concerned about the lack of public safety. The shocking events of community violence- especially gang-related violence- must be addressed. Just between 1 February and 31 May, BINUH attributed 295 alleged human rights abuses to gang members, and unidentified armed men. These included 78 killings, as well as cases of kidnappings, arson, armed robberies, and displacement. We condemn these crimes and urge the authorities to ensure the perpetrators are held to account.
Norway - as a significant donor to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) - welcomes yesterday’s announcement by Mark Lowcock that $1 million will be allocated as part of an urgent response to gang violence and displacement in Haiti.
We are particularly troubled by the potential impact of violence on women and children - who make up around 70% of the recently displaced. We are worried about their protection needs, especially with regards to sexual and gender-based violence. The increase in harassment of and reprisals against human rights defenders and the consequent shrinking of civic space is also troubling. This cannot be tolerated.
Norway is also deeply concerned that the number of persons in pre-trial detention has increased further. We call for necessary judicial reform to amend this situation and end unacceptable overcrowding. In light of all these challenges, we welcome BINUH and OHCHR’s thorough reporting on human rights violations and abuses. And we call on Haitian authorities to facilitate the establishment of an OHCHR office in Haiti as soon as possible.
Norway notes the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in Haiti. We encourage the implementation of an efficient response to the pandemic and welcome the decision to accept vaccines through the COVAX facility. We will continue to follow the situation closely.
In addition to the grave issues underscored already, Norway would also like to emphasize the need to consider the impact of climate change as one of several systemic challenges facing Haiti. Haiti is especially vulnerable to natural disasters exacerbated by climate change and environmental degradation. And the region is currently entering a new hurricane season predicted to reach above-normal levels.
Lack of resilience impacts livelihoods, and leads to internal displacement, which in turn fuels crime and unrest. All contributing to a deteriorating humanitarian situation. In this light we especially welcome and encourage the UN’s ongoing work on climate change mitigation through community-based efforts. Given the links between climate change and security, we encourage BINUH to include more information about the impact of climate change and gaps in resilience in Haiti for our next briefing. We believe such information falls neatly under benchmark six of BINUH’s mandate: building resilience.
Before closing President,
Allow me to again reiterate that Norway fully supports BINUH and its ongoing work.