The head of the United Nations office in Haiti took her controversial call for constitutional reform in the country before the international community Friday, telling the U.N. Security Council it is increasingly evident it “is required to break the cycle and create the characteristics for the country to thrive.”
“Haiti has for too long resorted to expedient agreements to address political problems, to the detriment of the principles that undergird its Constitution,” Helen La Lime said.
But with the exception of Haiti, Germany and France, which left the question up to Haitians “if that is the path” they choose, most members’ concerns were focused elsewhere: Haiti’s lack of an electoral calendar, the ongoing political crisis, the proliferation of armed gangs and guns, persistent human rights violations, lack of government accountability, the prolonged detention of prisoners and the impact of COVID-19, which all agreed is threatening to aggravate an already dire situation.
On Friday, the government announced that Fritz Gerard Cerisier, an assistant to the government prosecutor, was assassinated in Port-au-Prince.
“This is a time for action, not for talk,” U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said while raising concerns about the Haitian government’s failure to provide the Haiti National Police with a proper budget and to fully follow through on its March 27 decision to release pretrial detainees accused of minor crimes, as well as medically vulnerable prisoners nearing completion of their sentences.
Craft, who steered clear of the constitutional reform issue, said the U.S. found President Jovenel Moïse’s May 18 speech stressing his commitment to hold elections to be a positive step.
“We encourage the Haitian government and all political actors to reach a political accord to find a way forward, most importantly for the best interest of the Haitian people,” she said.
While others also called on Haiti’s warring political class to do the same, the likelihood remains dim. Even in her remarks, La Lime acknowledged that after a relatively calm political climate, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus in Haiti following the 18 months of mobilization against Moïse, the landscape had once more evolved into public acrimony. A growing number of opposition figures are today contesting the length of Moïse’s presidential term and calling for a transitional administration to take over.
“The vicious cycle of mistrust, recrimination, and ultimately violence is once again starting to define the dynamics of Haitian politics, at a time when the entire society should be unified in its response to the pandemic, and striving to lay more virtuous and lasting foundations on which to build its future,” La Lime said. Continue reading