The Security Council on Monday approved a resolution to create a UN “Integrated Office” in Haiti, designed to support the country’s government in strengthening political stability and good governance. The Office, named BINUH, will replace the peacekeeping mission in Haiti on October 16, putting an end to 15 years of peacekeeping presence in the country.
BINUH will be run by a Special Representative, who will assist the Government of Haiti with planning elections; training the Haitian National Police on human rights; responding to gang violence; ensuring compliance with international human rights obligations; improving prison oversight; and strengthening the justice sector.
Speaking on behalf of the United States, which drafted the resolution, acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, described the adoption of the resolution as “a historic moment”, but said that US was “clear-eyed” about the challenges that lie ahead, and recognized that a successful transition in Haiti will depend on the Government assuming responsibility for a range of issues, including ensuring free and fair elections, a reduction in gang violence, and the protection of human rights.
Mr. Cohen added that close coordination between UN entities, international partners, and others invested in Haiti’s success, will be necessary, and that “constructive and inclusive dialogue”, will “lay the foundation for a sustainable future for all Haitians”.
‘Disappointment’ over removal of climate change references
However, some top diplomats in the Council expressed their disappointment that the resolution did not stress Haiti’s vulnerability in the face of climate change.
Germany’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Christophe Heusgen, pointed out that, since 2011, the Security Council has repeatedly made clear its concern that the effects of climate change may aggravate existing threats to peace and security. Mr Heusgen added that, in Haiti, climate change is a “threat multiplier”, which could further destabilize the country, and “create new conflicts over increasingly diminishing resources and derail efforts in peace-building and stabilization.”
Haitian Chargé d’Affaires Patrick Saint-Hilaire, said that the creation of BINUH was “a step in the right direction”, and pressed the UN to ensure that all Haitians enjoy stability, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, adding that he wanted the new Office to be ready to tackle the many difficulties faced by the country. Mr. Saint-Hilaire also raised the subject of climate change, citing the crisis as one of the many risks facing Haiti, alongside cholera, national disasters and “even hunger riots.”