The United States said it believes that a report of a Good Offices mission that visited Haiti earlier this month offers important findings and recommendations that the Haitian government should implement.
“The report lays out the necessary steps needed to move forward, notably the need to proceed with free and fair legislative and presidential elections to restore parliament and facilitate the democratic transfer of executive power. A newly elected president should succeed President (Jovenel) Moise when his term ends on February 7, 2022,” said Bradley A. Freden, the US Interim Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS).
The OAS Permanent Council had earlier approved by consensus a resolution expressing concern over the grave political, security and human rights situation in Haiti and offered to send a Good Offices mission to the country.
The mission met with a range of stakeholders during June 8-10, including the government, opposition and civil society and its objective was to facilitate a dialogue that would lead to free and fair elections.
The mission comprised the permanent representatives to the OAS of Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States, with support from the OAS General Secretariat and the Special Representative of the OAS Secretary General in Haiti.
Freden told the OAS Permanent Council Wednesday that notably, the report calls for political consensus and compromise in order to establish a government that will have the confidence of the Haitian people.
He said it also calls for “urgent steps to re-establish a climate of security, in conformity with human rights obligations; and appointment of new members to the provisional electoral council to ensure that the Haitian people have confidence in this critical institution and that legislative and presidential elections are held this year.
“All of these recommendations are critical for successful elections in Haiti,” the US diplomat said, adding “we remain deeply concerned by the ongoing corruption, increasing humanitarian needs, and the lack of effective action by the Haitian government to ensure accountability in the growing list of emblematic human rights abuse cases”.
He said further despite the Haitian government’s commendable September 2020 decision to increase the budget of the Haitian National Police (HNP), “we remain concerned by a lack of resources devoted to law enforcement in a country that is plagued by gang violence.
“A number of incidents have highlighted the challenges facing the HNP in restoring and maintaining order throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The United States is providing US$21 million in equipment, training, and technical advice to build the HNP’s capacity as an effective and accountable law enforcement agency.
“We are also encouraging Haiti to take a holistic approach to countering gangs and are providing five million US dollars to strengthen the HNP’s capacity to work with communities to resist gangs.”
Freden said that in order to create political stability in Haiti, combat corruption, and provide security to the Haitian people, there must be a democratic and fully representative government, which can only be forged through free and fair elections.
“We will continue to press President Moise to move forward with plans to hold legislative and presidential elections this year, which is also laid out very clearly in the report we have before us today.
“The Haitian people deserve the opportunity to elect their leaders and restore Haiti’s democratic institutions. The only way out of presidential rule by decree is the conduct of free and fair legislative elections so parliament can resume its constitutional role. ”
He said that to assist in that effort, Washington provided more than three million US dollars to the Consortium for Elections and Political Processes Strengthening, which includes the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, and International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Freden said that the United States is committed to the people of Haiti and will continue to support free and fair elections in the country.