Haiti cannot wait any longer, Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez told the 77th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 21 September 2022 when commenting on the spiraling out of control of the multidimensional crisis in Haiti. Alvarez spoke for President Luis Abinader, when the later cancelled his participation to be present to lead the Hurricane Fiona recovery efforts in eastern Dominican Republic.
Speaking at the 77th session in New York, Alvarez advocated for a greater role of the General Assembly. Alvarez said the Dominican Republic firmly supports what UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in an interview on French television on 18 September 2022 when he remarked it was vital to deal with security in Haiti. Guterres made the point that until assistance to the Haitian National Police capacity is strengthened, there needs to be a robust force in place, a force capable of restoring peace and ending the violence unleased by armed gangs which themselves are infiltrated by political and economic influences.
The press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Relations on the speech carries the mainhighlights:
“‘Haiti can wait no longer’ and although we are convinced that the only sustainable response to its problems ‘must come from the Haitians,’ the international community ‘must act now’ to prevent the country’s situation from ‘getting completely out of hand,’ and offer the help that this society expects,’ the Minister of Foreign Relations stated in his presentation at the United Nations General Assembly.
“As the President of the Republic Luis Abinader said last year in this auditorium, ‘the Dominican Republic reiterates its conviction that the only lasting and sustainable response to the Haitian crisis must come from the Haitians.
“The minister explained that the violence ‘has created a deep social fragmentation, which does not allow the most elementary cohesion. For their part, Haitians await with despair the delayed help of the international community.’
“Likewise, the Dominican Foreign Minister stated that ‘in spite of the difficulties in reaching agreements, we advocate and hope that this will be the case and we hope that they will take the path required for Haitian society to achieve the necessary consensus to overcome such a serious situation.’
“He emphasized that to achieve this objective, ‘international collaboration is vital if we want to bring stability and tranquility to the people of Haiti, its neighbors and the region. That is our only interest.’
“As stated by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti, Alvarez said, ‘I would like to reiterate that criminal gangs have increased their suffocating power in Port-au-Prince and everything indicates that the Haitian National Police (HNP) does not have the capacity to contain them.’
“During his speech, he also pointed out that ‘it is the responsibility of the Haitian authorities to control and put an end to the actions of the gangs that are generating such atrocious crimes that we could qualify as crimes against humanity;’ but we must ‘remove the blindfold and admit that the Haitian police, on its own, will not develop the capacity to guarantee order and subdue the gangs.’
“Alvarez welcomed the fact that the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) until July 2023 and that it included the creation of a division to deal with sexual and gender-based violence, one of the most aberrant manifestations of this environment of violence.
“Given this scenario, he warned that the expected results of BINUH are contingent upon Haitians reaching a national agreement as a starting point, to combat and neutralize the gangs, and secondly, to ensure the holding of elections, as soon as circumstances permit.
“He pointed out that to implement this necessary process, UN action should be based on Security Council Resolution 2645 of 2022, which ‘places us at the door of taking the most pertinent decisions to prevent the situation in Haiti from completely overflowing the normal channels.’
“He cited that, as stated in the resolution, as soon as security conditions permit, an urgent Haitian-led political agreement must be reached by all parties concerned, to organize legislative and presidential elections with the full participation of the population, especially women, youth and civil society.
“Alvarez recounted several moments in recent history that show that Haitian society has had the capacity to unite and act in difficult times. He referred as an example to the overthrowal of the dictatorship in 1986, and the reaction to the disaster created by the 2010 earthquake.
“He recalled that in the face of that earthquake, the entire Haitian population unified and mobilized in solidarity to support and rescue their neighbors. Likewise, the whole world was activated and came to Haiti’s aid. Of course, the Dominican people immediately came to the aid of their Haitian neighbors.
“He explained that not only in the face of natural catastrophes, but also in 1986, civic spirit prevailed and the entire population united to stop the dictatorship that lasted for more than two decades; therefore, the Haitian people have historical experiences to unite and face adversities.
“Today, the situation is dramatically different, considered Alvarez. ‘Faced with the inability of the authorities to establish order and guarantee citizen security, the Haitian population feels abandoned to its own fate, due to the generalized fear that paralyzes a large part of the population, particularly in Port-au-Prince.’
In his address at the 77th General Assembly, Alvarez listed key points to implement the UN Resolution 2645 of the Security Council in dealing with the multidimensional crisis in Haiti. These are:
The need to ban without delay whatsoever the transfer and illicit trafficking of small arms, light weapons and munitions to any party that participates or supports acts of gang violence, criminal activity, or human rights abuses in Haiti.
The adopting of appropriate measures which may include asset freezes or travel bans on those who participate in fueling the violence and terror that prevails in Haiti and the effects the region as a whole.
The adopting with the appropriate urgency of actions to enhance security support for the Haitian National Police efforts to combat the high levels of gang violence.
He called for all parties involved to urgently reach a political agreement spearheaded by the Haitian people, an agreement with a view to organizing legislative and presidential elections with the full participation of all the Haitian people and in particular the participation of women, young people and civil society.
Alvarez also advocated for a strengthened role of the United Nations General Assembly. “In a globalized world the effects of epidemics, conflicts and violence know no borders. Precisely because our world is so interconnected, long-term goals and major goals require, as so eloquently expressed by the title of this General Assembly session, transformative solutions to interlocking challenges. It is crucial to recognize that this organization requires reforms to rouse it from the complacency that has marked its work. What is important for our countries is the consolidation of a renewed multilateralism.
He called for a greater role to the General Assembly as part of the general UN reform process to reduce cases of abusive use of the veto of the Security Council, particularly important on issues of human rights and support to humanitarian assistance.
He said the Dominican Republic supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and commitment to multilateralism. The Dominican Republic is a candidate to election to 2024-26 human rights committee.
Follow the speech at the UN General Assembly:
Roberto Alvarez – 77th General Assembly – English version
Roberto Alvarez – 77th General Assembly – Spanish original
Ministry of Foreign Relations
22 September 2022