Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
6th April, 2011
Let me lend my voice to those who have congratulated you, Mr. President, and the delegation of Colombia for initiating this important discussion on Haiti. Your effort speaks to the fraternal and long-standing relationship your nation shares with Haiti and the vital role Colombia continues to play in supporting Haiti’s efforts to overcome its daunting challenges.
We want to welcome President Préval to the Security Council and to thank him for all his efforts for the survival of Haiti. The presence among us of the Ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS) and of European States speaks to their integral role in Haiti’s recovery. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his comprehensive report and statement. I especially thank the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, President Clinton, for his very insightful remarks.
I intend to address the political, security and humanitarian aspects of Haiti’s progress and the role of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in that endeavour.
The response of the international community to the Haitian earthquake of 2010 was both remarkable and swift. However, Haiti’s recovery efforts have been especially complicated by the outbreak of cholera, insecurity and political instability. In our view, Haiti can overcome those obstacles only through a comprehensive programme of institutional reform, including inclusive political dialogue and economic development, as we have heard this morning.
Notwithstanding major obstacles, Nigeria recognizes Haiti’s potential for growth and stability. That is why we welcome the news of the preliminary results of the elections, and we believe that it reflects the will of the people. Indeed, the elections, which were regarded as largely free and fair, mark an important milestone for Haiti as the Government and people confront the enormous challenge of rebuilding their nation.
The interdependence between peace and security and development is indisputable in today’s world, as we have heard this morning, and that fact should be the guiding principle of all our efforts in Haiti. In fact, peace and security can be sustained only when we relinquish leadership of the process of development to the Haitian people.
The very fabric of Haitian society must be restored. The economy is in dire need of restoration at the local and national level. Social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, prisons and courts must also be rebuilt as societal missions, as well as with bricks and mortar. Public spiritedness, justice, opportunity and respect for human rights must also be fostered as a matter of top priority. That seems to be a tall order for any society and not least for one that is only now recovering from a massive natural disaster, but it can be done.
In order to rejuvenate Haitian society, it is also imperative that Haiti’s legislative and executive branches of government engage genuinely and constructively. That cooperation will ensure political stability in the current challenging environment and indeed will buttress the maturation of Haiti’s democratic experience. In that connection, we urge the new Parliament to ratify the constitutional amendments of September 2009 and affirm the consensus that they represent. Further, we encourage Parliament to renew the emergency law of 15 April 2010 and extend the mandate of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to enable it to fulfil its mission.
Those charged with governing the Haitian people should do so with an attitude of transparency and vocation. Such is the enormity of their task.
As aptly noted in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2011/183*), the sustained support of the international community will have a major impact on Haiti’s prospects. While the funds pledged to date are urgently needed on the ground, a great deal of care must be exercised to manage, coordinate, prioritize and effect the distribution of those funds in accordance with Haiti’s own stated priorities. As friends of Haiti, we should also promote capacity-building measures in the country to enable Haitians ultimately to drive their own renaissance.
That goal, however, does not preclude international assistance. Haiti needs long-term partners on its road to recovery. As President Santos reminded us this morning, many hands make the load lighter.
Turning to Haiti’s security environment, Nigeria notes with regret that the security situation continues to simmer. That was particularly evident in the violence following the first round of elections. The Haitian National Police maintained order during the run-off, and should be commended. Nonetheless, they need continued support to combat organized crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping and armed robbery, among others.
We are also dismayed at the ongoing violence, particularly against women, within internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps. The time has come to strengthen Haiti’s capacity to meet those and other core security challenges. MINUSTAH’s active role as a guarantor of peace and security must be recognized. We acknowledge that the force has been a critical actor, engaged under an appropriately broad mandate. Its important work on behalf of the international community should be lauded.
Despite the efforts of MINUSTAH and other actors, there are still many humanitarian issues to be addressed. We commend the United Nations country team for providing humanitarian and recovery assistance, including the return and relocation of IDPs, and for responding to the hurricane season and cholera epidemic. We look forward to successful collaboration between MINUSTAH and the United Nations country team in establishing the integrated strategic framework, which will facilitate the Haitian Government’s national action plan for recovery and development.
I want to state that Nigeria was among the early responders to Haiti’s call for assistance in 2010. We will continue to support efforts to provide humanitarian and other forms of assistance to Haiti. We were there for the Haitian people at the beginning of the process.
We will stand with them until their aspirations are fully realized.