UN Security Council Deeply Concerned about ‘Deteriorating’ Situation in Haiti

haiti protest 1
People protest to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. The opposition is disputing the mandate of President Moise whose term they claim ended on Feb. 7, but the president and his supporters say his five-year term only expires in 2022. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

The United Nations Security Council has reiterated its “deep concern” about what it describes as the “deteriorating political, security and humanitarian conditions” in Haiti.

The Security Council stressed in a statement that it is the primary responsibility of the government of Haiti to address the situation.

“The members of the Security Council stressed the urgent need to hold free and fair legislative and presidential elections in 2021,” the statement said, urging all political stakeholders in the French-speaking Caribbean country to set aside their differences and engage in meaningful dialogue “in the interest of peace and stability, to ensure elections take place in a peaceful environment, and to refrain from any acts of or incitement to violence”.

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The Security Council further stressed the importance of including women, youth, persons with disabilities and civil society in Haiti’s political processes and reiterated its concern regarding reported human rights violations and abuses, and called on the government to hold those responsible accountable.

In addition, the Security Council stressed the need for increased support and attention to Haiti’s humanitarian situation and development needs.

While condemning increasing gang violence in Haiti, the Security Council expressed appreciation for the work being done by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) towards “a better future for Haiti.”

Amid worsening socioeconomic conditions, rising criminal gang violence and a resurgence of COVID-19, a senior United Nations official in Haiti told the UN Security Council last month that Haitian leaders must commit to good-faith dialogue aimed at ending the longstanding and damaging political impasse.

Helen La Lime, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti and head of UN’s integrated office in the country, also voiced deep concern over the “ever-growing polarization of Haitian politics” and the increasing tendency by some actors to resort to violence.

Noting Haiti’s efforts to prepare for a slate of elections later in 2021, including at the presidential level, La Lime said conditions in the country have worsened over recent weeks. She said recent months have also been marked by several worrying security incidents and serious human rights abuses perpetrated by gangs against civilians.

Emphasizing that Haiti’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021-2022 still faces a shortfall of US$198 million, La Lime said 1.5 million people in the country are currently in need of humanitarian support and that 1.3 million of whom are severely food insecure.”