PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--The United Nations (UN) Security Council has approved a resolution to create an “Integrated Office” in Haiti, designed to support the country’s government in strengthening political stability and good governance.
Named BINUH, the office will replace the 15-year-long peacekeeping mission MINUJUSTH, on October 16.
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 the US was “clear-eyed” about the challenges that lie ahead, and recognised that a successful transition in Haiti would 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.
He added that close coordination between UN entities, international partners and others invested in Haiti’s success would be necessary, and that “constructive and inclusive dialogue” would “lay the foundation for a sustainable future for all Haitians.”
Haitian Chargé d’Affaires Patrick Saint-Hilaire said 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.
He 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.”
Some top diplomats in the UN Security Council had also expressed their disappointment that the resolution did not stress Haiti’s vulnerability in the face of climate change.
Germany’s Ambassador to the UN, 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.
He added that in Haiti, climate change is a “threat multiplier”, which could further destabilise the country and “create new conflicts over increasingly diminishing resources and derail efforts in peace-building and stabilisation.” ~ Caribbean360 ~