UN envoy: Haiti's new government starts tackling challenges
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Jul. 18, 2017
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Haiti's new government is using the "window of opportunity" following elections to start tackling the root causes of instability, poverty, exclusion and impunity, the U.N. envoy for the Western hemisphere's poorest country said Tuesday.
Sandra Honore told the U.N. Security Council that the government has taken initial steps aimed at overcoming longstanding problems of governance, rule of law and social and economic development.
With political polarization "significantly reduced," she said there is an improved relationship between the executive and legislative branches and for the first time in 10 years "a joint legislative agenda was adopted."
But Honore said it's "troubling" that the third branch of power — the judiciary — "has still not been brought to full functioning." She called for swift restoration of the judiciary with greater independence, though the filling of key positions as a first step.
She spoke as the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti continues to wind down its operation which will end in mid-October after 13 years. It will be replaced by a much smaller U.N. mission that will focus on continuing the training of the national police force, as well as assisting the government in strengthening judicial and legal institutions, and monitoring human rights.
The United Nations has been involved in Haiti on and off since 1990. A 2004 rebellion left Haiti on the brink of collapse and the U.N. force helped normalize the country. It also played an important role after a devastating 2010 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and after Hurricane Matthew last October.
But U.N. troops from Nepal are widely blamed for inadvertently introducing cholera, which has afflicted over 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 people since 2010. And some troops also have been implicated in sexual abuse, including of hungry young children.
Honore said Haiti's administration under President Jovenel Moise has reiterated his campaign promise "to transform and modernize the state" and embark on institutional reforms in all sectors of society "with an emphasis on accountability and transparency as well as the fight against corruption."
While these commitments haven't yet become concrete measures, she said Moise's government has launched its flagship development program, the "Caravan of Change," in five of Haiti's 10 departments to improve the delivery of state services and improve living conditions primarily in rural areas.