Haiti needs ‘democratic renewal’ top UN representative tells Security Council

The top UN official in Haiti called Monday for a “democratic renewal” in the troubled Caribbean nation to lift it out of a drawn-out political and humanitarian crisis and put it back on the path to stability and development.

UN News | Updated: 23-02-2021 12:30 IST | Created: 23-02-2021 04:09 IST
Haiti needs ‘democratic renewal’ top UN representative tells Security Council
Haiti has been in the grips of a renewed crisis since Parliament ceased to function in January 2020, leaving the President to postpone elections and rule by decree. Image Credit: Twitter(@UNDPPA)

Helen Meagher La Lime, head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), told the Security Council – meeting via video-teleconference - that the polarization that has defined most of President Jovenel Moïse's term in office has become even more acute, as civic space shrinks and acute food insecurity grows.

Haiti has been in the grips of a renewed crisis since Parliament ceased to function in January 2020, leaving the President to postpone elections and rule by decree. In response, large crowds have poured into the streets, echoing opposition demands for Mr Moïse to step down.

Elections imperative

"Only a democratic renewal, resulting from the prompt holding of credible, transparent and participatory elections, can provide Haiti with the opportunity to overcome its protracted political crisis," Ms La Lime said.

That in turn would allow Haitian society and leaders to focus their attention on undertaking the governance and economic reforms necessary to set the country back on the path towards sustainable development, she added.

Joining the meeting from Port-au-Prince, President Moïse defended his administration, saying that it is confronting not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also "corrupt oligarchs" and a "radical and violent opposition" which have tried repeatedly to stage a coup d'état.

'Policy of chaos'

"This policy of chaos has meant that the Government has had to take off the gloves", he said, adding however that the parliamentary election that originally should have taken place in October 2019 will go ahead in September.

Mr Moïse, 52, says that his own presidential tenure ends in 2022, five years after he took office. But his opponents, citing the Constitution, claiming that his term of office began when elections were held in 2016 - and that now is the time for him to step aside, according to news reports.

Dissent noted

Ms La Lime, presenting the Secretary-General's latest report on Haiti, reported that the opposition has been unsuccessful in mobilizing significant public support in its campaign to oust the President.

But she noted that a raft of Presidential decrees has prompted judges to go on strike and threatened civic space through an overly broad definition of terrorism – and this at a time when an estimated 4.4 million Haitians will be in need of humanitarian assistance this year.

Against this volatile backdrop, preparations for this year's elections – and for a Constitutional referendum – are going ahead. But she warned that much remains to be done and that voting could be delayed due to a lack of international funding.

"Above all else, a minimal consensus among relevant political stakeholders would greatly contribute to creating an environment conducive to the holding of the Constitutional referendum and subsequent elections", she said, adding that the United Nations stands ready to help.

Hopeful amid strife

Also briefing the Council today was Vivianne Roc, 23, from Plurielles, an eco-feminist youth group, who described a Haiti gripped by lawlessness, banditry and gang violence - but also hopeful that things can still take a turn for the better.

"The young woman before you today is outraged by the wind of insecurity that is sweeping her country," she said, presenting the 15-member body with several recommendations – including a crackdown on arms and drug trafficking, and the establishment of call centres for victims of domestic violence.

Visit UN News for more.



Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...


Latest News

21.47 pc voter turnout for bypoll to Salt assembly seat in Uttarakhand

A voter turnout of 21.47 per cent was recorded till 11 am on Saturday for bypolls to Salt assembly seat in Uttarakhands Almora district, an official said.A total of 21.47 per cent of voters have exercised their franchise in the first four h...

Russia reports 9321 new COVID-19 cases

Moscow Russia, April 17 ANISputnik Russia registered 9,321 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,995 the day before, taking the tally to 4,693,469, the coronavirus response centre said on Saturday. Over the past day, 9,321 corona...

Red Fort violence: Court grants bail to actor-activist Deep Sidhu

A Delhi court has granted bail to actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who was arrested in connection with the Red Fort violence on Republic Day.Special Judge Neelofer Abida Perveen granted relief to the accused on Friday on a personal bond of Rs 30,...

Patients evacuated as fire blazes in Johannesburg hospital

Hundreds of patients are being evacuated from Johannesburgs Charlotte Maxeke Hospital where a fire is blazing through parts of the facility in South Africas largest city.No injuries or casualties have been reported and patients are being mo...

Give Feedback