U.S. Alternate Representative Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations today said the United States supports renewal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) mandate for another year under broadly the same terms as the 2010 mandate.
At a Security Council Session on Haiti, Mr. DeLaurentis stated that MINUSTAH has been working tirelessly in Haiti to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, and to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights.
“MINUSTAH has provided vital security and logistical support during presidential and legislative elections, supported programs designed to strengthen the rule of law, and conducted capacity building work with the Haitian National Police (HNP) through the 2006 HNP Reform Plan.” -Mr. DeLaurentis
He cited that the United States commends the UN role in previous elections, and underscores the importance of UN assistance with the next round of partial national and local elections in Haiti.
He noted that the United States supports the Secretary-General’s recommended reduction of two infantry battalions (1600 personnel) and the reduction in authorized strength of 1150 formed police unit (FPU) personnel, but notes that strong rules of engagement for the remaining MINUSTAH forces will be important to deal with a stable but fragile security situation in Haiti.
“The United States believes that any determination of the future size of MINUSTAH forces must be based on security conditions on the ground. We commend the work of the UN security assessment team, which lead to these recommendations, and express our hope for continued progress in Haiti.” -Mr. DeLaurentis
He stressed that the United States agrees with the Secretary-General’s finding that the Haitian National Police has improved in some respects, but is not yet in a position to assume full responsibility for the provision of internal security.
Mr. DeLaurentis emphasized that the UN and the HNP jointly need to develop a new iteration of the HNP Reform Plan of 2006 and encourage Haitian ownership and leadership of the reform effort.
“We urge the authorities in Haiti to reach agreement to appoint women and men of demonstrated integrity and competence to cabinet positions.” -Mr. DeLaurentis
He noted that the United States urges the authorities in Haiti to fulfill their pledge to fill all the six vacancies at the “Cour de Cassation” (the Supreme Court) by October 3, 2011. He further said this pledge by the Haitian President must be fulfilled in order to enable the judiciary in Haiti to function.
Mr. DeLaurentis also urged the authorities in Haiti to commit sufficient and lasting budgetary resources from their domestic budget to the HNP’s institutions – especially to build up the systems that will allow it to function on its own.
“The United States urges the Government of Haiti to prosecute impunity and abuses of power. We believe that Haitian officials who are brave enough to investigate and marshal evidence against those acting with impunity must be allowed to do their jobs under the law without political interference in the due process of law.” -Mr. DeLaurentis
He emphasized that the United States continues to play a leading role in international efforts to ensure that UN peacekeepers-military, police and civilian-neither exploit nor abuse the vulnerable people they have been sent to protect.
Mr. DeLaurentis stressed that the UN has taken several critical steps in recent years to establish and implement a zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel, including by establishing a well-publicized code of conduct and creating Conduct and Discipline Units in the field to perform training, carry out initial investigations, and support victims.