Summary: EU Presidency Statement - UN Security Council Open Debate on Haiti (27 March 2006)
United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Haiti; Statement by Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union.
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
2. Haiti has made significant progress in laying the basis for an inclusive democratic transition at a pace that seemed unlikely a year ago. MINUSTAH's support has been crucial in this context. The European Union expresses its satisfaction that the presidential and the first round of the parliamentary elections of 7 February passed off peacefully and notes that they mark an important step forward in the democratic process. We welcome the high turnout by and the serious engagement of the people of Haiti in exercising their democratic right to choose their future leaders, despite the major technical and logistical problems encountered during the organisation of the vote. A significant turning point has been reached in carrying through the democratic transition process.
3. We would like to use the occasion of the presence of the President-elect of Haiti, Mr. René Préval, to congratulate him once more on his new mandate and to reaffirm our lasting commitment to the people and authorities of Haiti in their efforts to rebuild and develop their country.
4. By providing 18 million Euro to the electoral process as well as by sending an EU Electoral Observation Mission to Haiti, the EU has proven its strong commitment to the democratic transition process in Haiti. The EU notes that the second round of the parliamentary elections will now be held on 21 April and the swearing in ceremony of president-elect René Préval will take place at the inaugural session of the newly elected parliament. We hope that these elections will be conducted timely and in a peaceful and credible manner, so that they would contribute to enhancing the democratic process in the country. This would serve to cement the rule of law and complete the establishment of strong, stable institutions capable of completely fulfilling the role assigned to them under the Constitution of Haiti. In this regard, we welcome the recent return of the director general of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Jacques Bernard, to the country.
5. The security situation remains a cause of concern, especially in the area of Cité Soleil. Therefore, the EU calls on Haiti's leaders to demonstrate strong commitment to improve the security of its citizens throughout the country in the coming months, in partnership with MINUSTAH. However, the establishment of a professional and effective police service will require sustained involvement by the international community for a number of years. Much needed progress in the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes would also contribute to the stabilisation of the security situation. In addition, the underlying socio-economic conditions need to be addressed as well. Quick impact projects are a valuable tool in this regard.
6. Moreover, reform of the Haitian National Police must be complemented and reinforced by addressing the shortcomings in the judicial system. Current and future national authorities must find a swift solution to the problem of the high number of prolonged pre-trial detentions, which are unacceptable particularly from a human-rights perspective and if continued would have serious implications for the country's security and stability. Strengthening of Haiti's judicial system requires the adoption of legal reforms by the Haitian authorities and a systematic, internationally-supported programme of professional capacity-building, combining academic and on-the-job training. The EU stands ready to support these commitments and efforts in the important area of strengthening the rule of law.
7. As Haiti enters a new chapter in its history, it is vital that the incoming leadership shows a strong commitment to reconciliation and an inclusive approach in order to achieve the political, economic and social stability that the country needs for its development. The announced normalization of relations between Haiti and the Caribbean Community is a further positive signal in this direction and will hopefully be followed by strong regional partnership. Haiti's political and institutional progress will require sustained commitment from the Haitian authorities to good governance, including in the economic and social sector, promoting key democratic values, respect for the independence of the judiciary and an impartial, professional civil service and police as well as full commitment to human rights. In order to achieve these goals, the international community will need to continue to assist Haiti and to work closely with the local authorities. The EU is ready to do so. Ultimately, however, the future of the country lies in the hands of the Haitians themselves.
8. I would like to conclude by commending the crucial role that MINUSTAH continues to play in supporting the democratic transition process and peacebuilding in Haiti and to thank SRSG Juan Gabriel Valdés for his professional leadership of the mission.
I thank you.
*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.