Delivered By: Mr. Saod Al Mazroui, Alternate Political Coordinator

Mr. President,

I welcome Special Representative Maria Isabel and I wish her immense success in her new role. We fully support her and the UN’s work in Haiti, including BINUH, as it is a key component in efforts to achieve security and stability in the country. I also thank Ms. Ghada Waly for her detailed briefing. I welcome the participation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Haiti and Dominican Republic, as well as the representative of Canada.

As the situation in Haiti remains dire, we underscore that a holistic approach to addressing the multi-faceted challenges in Haiti is driven by a political solution. There is a need to continue broadening political dialogue, and the success of such efforts will rely on the participation, in good faith, of all relevant stakeholders. Economic recession, political deadlock and unprecedented violence has meant that a daily, terrifying struggle is an all-too-common reality for the people of Haiti. Progress in the political track will undoubtedly contribute to mitigating this multi-faceted and intersecting crisis, and to Haiti’s long-term stability.

With this in mind, I would like to make the following points:

First, we remain deeply concerned by the growing levels of violence in Haiti. Departments and regions once considered safe from gang violence are now threatened. Clear signals of this are this week’s harrowing reports of people set on fire, as well as MSF’s suspension of activities in the Capital, which is part of a greater trend of international NGOs being forced to close down parts of their operations, despite the critical need.

 It must remain a priority to build the capacity and response skills of the Haitian National Police, as well as strengthening anti-corruption measures and tackling the trafficking and proliferation of illegal arms and illicit financial flows. We welcome regional efforts, including the CARICOM High-Level delegation visit in February, as well as the efforts of the UNODC, to address national and regional implications in this regard.

Second, supporting Haitian-led community-based violence reduction approaches, particularly those with the inclusion of youth, are just as critical to improve the security situation and to tackle humanitarian challenges. With the continued recruitment of children and closure of schools, these approaches can mitigate the level of vulnerability that the Haitian young women and men face and offer ownership to their futures.

Third, the rule of law must be a guiding compass for countries, especially for those countries facing the widespread and deep insecurity that Haiti is currently confronted with. The rule of law provides the backbone for justice and accountability, particularly for heinous crimes such as sexual and gender-based violence. For example, the UN estimates that 30% of Haitian women between the ages of 15-30 have been victims of sexual abuse or violence. For survivors of sexual violence who fear retaliation, state institutions built on a strong rule of law must serve as both a safe haven and a vehicle for swift and definitive justice.  This is particularly important as efforts are taken to enhance the judicial sector in Haiti.

In conclusion, Haiti is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in today’s world but suffers from an underfunded response. There are horrific reports of gang-violence, increased mass displacement, child recruitment and sexual and gender-based violence, compounded by restricted access to basic services and humanitarian aid, a multi-year drought and soaring food insecurity, as well as a resurgence of cholera. Women and children must be respected and protected, as well as hospitals, educational institutions, and humanitarian facilities.

With national institutions lacking the capacity to adequately respond to these calamities, armed gangs continuing to expand their criminal enterprises, and as the country approaches hurricane season, which will inevitably exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, Haiti cannot be forgotten.

Thank you, Mr. President.