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SC: UN Integrated Office in Haiti

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback at the Security Council briefing on the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), 22 February 2021.

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.

President, Haiti’s turbulent political situation, which is evolving as we speak, is indeed troubling - and a stark reminder of the country’s fragile and precarious situation. Haiti’s current instability stems from an overly complex political system. There is an urgent need for a nationally owned governance reform to overcome the structural obstacles to stability and development. Genuine commitment to democratic principles must be a prerequisite.

We urge the political actors to commit to dialogue towards a common agenda. The proposed electoral calendar with a constitutional referendum- as well as legislative, municipal, local, and presidential elections- is an ambitious plan. Yet, if implemented in an orderly and peaceful manner, it could represent a first step out of the current crisis.

President,

Norway is deeply concerned about Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters due to climate change and environmental degradation. It impacts livelihoods, and leads to poverty and internal displacement, which consequently fuels crime, unrest and further instability. Additionally, according to the FAO Haiti is currently among the most food-insecure countries in the world. A total of 4.4 million Haitians are in need of humanitarian assistance. This is a staggering figure with far reaching consequences.

Evidence of low crop yield due to below normal rainfall, will likely contribute further to increasing food insecurity. To sustain livelihoods and prevent further instability, the government needs to invest more in food production without delay.

President,

The growing levels of violence, and human rights violations and abuses are shocking.

Norway calls for a comprehensive government response to address community violence.

Impunity for killings, arson and kidnappings have led to a cycle of injustice and instability. This must stop. We urge the authorities to bring perpetrators to justice - be they gang members or representatives of the security forces. We note with concern also that grievances and strikes by key judicial actors have exacerbated the challenges to the Haitian prison service, contributing to  unacceptable overcrowding. Judicial reform along with systematic human rights monitoring and reporting must be prioritized. The situation for women and children also remains  alarming. In this respect, protection against sexual and gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health services must be strengthened.

President, While we welcome  that these issues are being brought to the Council’s attention  from the thorough reporting on human rights violations and abuses conducted by OHCHR/BINUH, whose work we support. We would  encourage an even stronger focus on gender in the reporting. Norway firmly believes that an inclusive political process, with respect for human rights, including women’s rights, is a prerequisite for overcoming the current crisis, and paving the way for a more just and stable society.

It is evident that exclusion, neglect and deprivation of rights set the stage for the current conflict. We urge the Haitian government to endorse the National Action Plan on human rights and ensure its implementation, without delay. This entails the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of life, including in political processes.

In closing, President, allow me to reiterate that Norway fully supports BINUH and its ongoing work towards consolidating and strengthening the capacity of Haitian institutions.

That being said, the means for a durable solution remain in the hands of the Haitians themselves.