Like others, I wish to thank USG Le Roy and USG Valerie Amos for their reports and the very relevant information they provided the Council today. And I also wish to thank our colleague from Haiti for his statement.
One year after the earthquake, our thoughts go naturally to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who perished, as they go to those men and women, civilians and military of MINUSTAH who lost their lives. We should also be grateful to the UN staff on the ground that worked to save lives in the following hours and days disregarding their own safety.
It is obvious that humanitarian relief will carry on being the main priority as long as the basic needs of the Haitian population – be it access to water, food, shelter, sanitation or health – are not ensured. Hurricane Thomas and cholera compounded the situation. Millions still depend on humanitarian aid on a daily basis, even if, encouragingly, some progress has been made, such as the decrease in the numbers of IDP’s, the reduction of the mortality rate and the stabilization of the cholera outbreak. But much more needs to be done and the international community can do more, namely at structural level.
The transparency and credibility of the electoral process that will lead to the installation of a democratic Administration in Haiti are paramount. The paralysis we have seen during the last two months needs to be quickly overcome. We commend the work carried out by the Organization of the American States and CARICOM and its Expert Mission on the presidential election of last November and we hope that its findings will help to restore credibility and the confidence of the Haitian people in their political system. A free, fair and transparent second round of the presidential election is, in this sense, essential. To pursue this objective, an effective international observation of these elections is crucial, minimizing the potential for irregularities and providing meaningful support for this process. We thank the OAS and CARICOM for their valuable cooperation in the next and decisive phase of this process. MINUSTAH can also play an important role, not only by providing logistical support and ensuring safety throughout the process, but also by promoting political dialogue.
The earthquake brought Haiti’s woes to us under sharper light; social and economic conditions in Haiti were already very difficult prior to it: respect for human rights, rule of law and democratic process were not entrenched. What we are currently addressing is not only the turmoil created by the cataclysm but also structural deficiencies and imbalances that have existed for many years. This aspect must be taken into account when we design the response to political and social developments in the country.
The hard road to recovery and sustainable development require stability, democratically legitimized authorities and political leadership. We must recognize that these conditions have never been fully met and we are concerned with new elements that may further increase the present instability in the country, such as the return of Mr. Duvalier, even if he is brought to justice.
Ensuring security, in all its dimensions, is an essential requirement for the full recovery of Haiti. It must be felt in urban and rural communities all over the country. It is furthermore a prerequisite of an efficient distribution of aid. MINUSTAH’s efforts in this area are highly laudable, and we are well aware of the immense challenges it faces on a daily basis.
Regarding relief and recovery, Portugal stresses the need to reinforce coordination among MINUSTAH, UN agencies and programmes, national and international NGOs and the variety of donors. The ability to absorb the necessary resources for reconstruction is a vital issue for Haiti and for the international donors, and our efforts in capacity building should aim at solving the present situation.
Finally, Mr. President,
Portugal joins others in expressing concern over the fragile and unstable situation in Haiti and the continued plight of its population. While giving our full support to MINUSTAH in fulfilling its mandate, we also stress the importance of calling upon the parties to abide by the democratic rules and the Constitution and the laws of Haiti as well as to allow MINUSTAH and humanitarian workers full and unhindered access to all populations in need.
Thank you very much.