UN offers advice to incoming Haitian President
NEW YORK, United States, Friday April 1, 2011 – Haiti’s next president hasn’t yet been revealed but United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is offering some advice for whoever it turns out to be and their administration, as he identifies the challenges they will face.
Preliminary results of the vote which pitted former first lady Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly against each other, along with the outcome of the legislative elections, will be announced on Monday. The results had been scheduled to be released yesterday but the Provisional Electoral Council postponed the announcement for four days because it had not been able to complete the tally in time, due to more stringent measures to reduce fraud and irregularities in the tabulation.
The UN boss said the next president of Haiti may well face “a protracted period of difficult cohabitation with a divided and potentially fractious Parliament” and said “the executive and legislative branches of Government will have to work together to meet the aspirations of the Haitian people and to deliver the reforms that they have been denied for far too long.”
“The incoming Government of Haiti will inherit a set of daunting challenges, compounded by the onset of another hurricane season, a severe lack of public sector expertise and a growing disenchantment among the general population with the existing political leadership and class and the long-standing socio-economic order,” he said.
Ban said the strengthening the rule of law would also be vital and would require a genuine commitment to creating an independent and effective judiciary, a Parliament that is accountable to the people and not driven by special interests, and a government that is transparent, responsive to the needs of the country and truly representative of the Haitian people.
“Haiti has the chance to make a fresh start under a new administration. A new leadership must try to heal the wounds of a deeply polarized society and provide jobs, education and services to a population that is economically impoverished,” he said.
Ban also advised the incoming administration to build on the achievements of René Préval’s presidency, which put an end to State-sponsored political violence and allowed Haitians to enjoy freedom of association and expression.
He said Haiti’s new leadership would also require the sustained support of the international community to bring about systemic rule-of-law reform.
“I call on all international partners to work with the Government and the United Nations in a concerted and cohesive effort to strengthen the rule of law in Haiti,” Ban said.
“The United Nations will work with the new Government and all sections of Haitian society to enhance the rule of law in Haiti, and to ensure that the population can fully enjoy its fundamental economic, social, civil and political rights.”
Ban’s comments came in his latest report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
In that report he noted that the overall security situation in Haiti remains generally calm but prone to localized violent episodes of unrest. The report noted that there has been an increase in gang activities in impoverished areas of the capital, Port-au-Prince and Haitian criminals are active in the region’s guns-for-drugs trade, which has been boosted by the presence of escaped prisoners seeking weapons.
A considerable proportion of the cocaine originating in South America and delivered to the United States and Europe passes relatively freely through Haiti, where drug traffickers are able to exploit the porous border and use illegal airstrips, boats and private submarines off the coast of the island, it added.
The communities most at risk from insecurity remain those within the densely populated areas in the West Department, including the camps for internally displaced persons.
“Several of the camps are used as bases by escaped prisoners and gangs. Consequently, crime, including sexual and gender-based violence, appears to have increased in the camps,” wrote the Secretary-General.
The past year has been challenging for Haiti, which has faced the difficult task of rebuilding and coping with the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in which 230,000 people died and countless more were injured; an outbreak of cholera that to date has killed at least 4,600 people and infected more than 240,000; a close brush with Hurricane Tomas; and political instability and deadlock, and related electoral violence.
More than 800,000 Haitians are still living in tents.
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