Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Debate on the situation in Haiti, 3 April 2019

Mr President,

We welcome and support the innovation of Germany with the introduction of time keeping measures and opening of the curtain in the Council Chamber, we hope that this will translate into and lead to more transparency of the Council and its ultimate reform as most UN Member States have demanded, particularly, we in Africa.

We would like to thank you for convening this timeous debate on the situation in Haiti, given the most recent developments in the country.

In the spirit of supporting the German initiative, we are not going to thank the briefers but welcome them as per the Presidency’s directive. However, we want to acknowledge and welcome in particular the Foreign Minister of Haiti.

Mr President,

At the outset, we wish to welcome the positive gains and progress made in Haiti, particularly in the development of the Haitian National Police who have showcased professional and effective performance during demonstrations, illustrating their capacity to address the security challenges, even under heavy pressure.

We wish to express our concern regarding the deteriorating security situation in Haiti. The recent protests throughout the country not only exacerbate the humanitarian and human rights situation but also undermine prospects for the conduct of peaceful elections in October this year.

These events highlight the persistent need for reconciliation in Haiti. It is worth noting that a State which takes steps towards reconciliation not only unites its people and encourages a nationally-owned process, but these efforts create environments that are conducive for more effective institutions.

It is within this context that South Africa supports the call by the Secretary-General for a national and inclusive dialogue amongst Haitians in order to encourage calm and long-term security and stability for all.

Mr President,

The UN has historically played a critical role in Haiti through the Secretary-General and his good offices, by building the capacity of institutions like the Haitian National Police (HNP) which is critical for strengthening efforts towards the democratisation in Haiti.

Furthermore, we believe that it is the role of the UN and the Government in partnership with civil society organisations to draw together all disputing parties in order to reach an agreement in the interests of the people of Haiti. Civil society has much to contribute in this regard given its experience of realities on the ground which includes the security situation, economic crisis and deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Mr President,

South Africa has noted the proposals of the Secretary-General in his latest report on Haiti regarding the drawdown of MINUJUSTH and the establishment of a Special Political Mission thereafter.

We believe it is important that the Council continues to play a stabilising role in Haiti. This would require that the situation on the ground is closely monitored as well as to make needs assessment of the situation, particularly in the lead up to the October elections.

It is further important to note that election processes can give rise to uncertainty and possible instability. As such, UN support in the run-up and aftermath of the election in Haiti, would be important, including by working closely with the Government and the authorities of Haiti to ensure a smooth transition as the MINUJUSTH mandate comes to an end in October.

Finally, Mr President, the continued support of the international community to the government and people of Haiti remains a critical element in achieving security, stability and an inclusive democracy in the country and in the region.
I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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