From January 23-25, the United Nations Security Council visited Haiti to assess its progress since the 2010 earthquake, and to press for elections. Below are Ambassador Samantha Power’s remarks at the end of the trip.
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Remarks at a Press Conference at the End of the Visit of the Security Council to Haiti
Samantha Power, United States Mission to the United Nations
January 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
My name is Samantha Power and I am the American Ambassador to the United Nations and co-lead, with my colleague Cristian from Chile, of this trip. We, the very diverse members of the Security Council, had a very informative and productive visit to Haiti. We will have time in a minute for questions, but I will just share with you a few of the key messages that we heard from the wide array of actors with whom we met.
We are here as a Council, as Cristian has said, to support the Haitian people, not to pick sides, but to come away with a better understanding of how the international community can help Haiti.
We saw, on the one hand, great signs of progress, whether with regard to health or education or the removal of rubble or the resettlement of individuals displaced in the earthquake. But the vast majority of the individuals with whom we met also stressed, alongside this progress, the delicacy and fragility of an election year.
We heard from a large number of actors about the importance of strong checks and balances on governmental power, wherever it is exercised. And the Council stressed in all of our meetings, both with the President and his ministers, and with Senators and opposition parties, our strong support for the strengthening of checks and balances at a time when the Parliament is not performing its traditional role.
It is clear that leadership will have to be exercised in Haiti in a very inclusive and consultative manner in order to maintain the legitimacy of the state.
We heard a great deal about the importance of democratic expression by the people, but also we underscored how important it is that that democratic expression be done in a non-violent manner.
We came away even more convinced about the importance of compromise. Not everyone in Haiti will be able to get exactly what he or she wants in the coming days or in the coming years, but it will be critical that all actors put Haiti first, and put the overall welfare of Haiti before one’s own particular interests.
And two more points and then we’ll open it up for questions. We heard over and over again a message that we ourselves delivered, which is how critical it is that elections be held as soon as is feasible in a fair, transparent and inclusive manner.
People who have grievances or who have complaints about the past can invest their energies constructively in the election process. And we urge those who have complaints and concerns about recent events or about how Haiti got to this moment, to channel their energies into ensuring fair, transparent and inclusive elections.
And finally, we heard consistently about the importance of security as a foundation for Haiti’s democratic development. And here we witnessed today some of the work of the Haitian National Police, who have not only increased their numbers in the last several years, but have also deepened the quality of their policing. And the Security Council expressed its intention to stand in full support for the HNP and for the work, of course, that MINUSTAH is doing in support of the HNP, because the Haitian Police are the future of security in Haiti.
And we heard from government, from civil society, and from most of the opposition parties, great support and appreciation for the role that MINUSTAH has played in helping Haiti, and supporting Haiti through thick and thin and through significant ups and downs in recent years. And although we are getting on an airplane to go back to New York here in a few minutes, the Security Council is going to remain extremely vigilant over events in Haiti, and we encourage all parties in Haiti to get an election road map in place as soon as possible and to govern, and to perform the role of citizen, in a manner that respects and advances the rights of the Haitian people. And with that I think we are here to take your questions.
Click HERE for the original.