China urges Haitian leaders to move political transition forward

2021-10-05 10:25:15China Daily Editor : Zhang Dongfang ECNS App Download

Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, speaks at a Security Council meeting on Haiti, Oct 4, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

A Chinese envoy to the United Nations on Monday urged the Haitian government and its political leaders to put the country "on a proper track" in the interests of its people.

The past four months has witnessed continued political volatility in Haiti. Its security and humanitarian crisis has been going "from bad to worse", Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, told a Security Council meeting on Haiti.

"We express our deep sympathy for the tragic plight of the Haitian people. The Haitian government and political leaders must, in the interests of the people and the country, desist from power struggle, discharge their responsibilities in good faith, and take action to put the country on a proper track of development," he said.

The Caribbean country has been ravaged by political instability and natural disasters. In July, the country's president Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his home. In August, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, affecting over 800,000 people in its southwestern peninsula.

The repeated crises pushed the country's general election, which had been scheduled for Nov 7, until the second half of 2022. Meanwhile, the impoverished nation suffers from rising gang violence and acute food insecurity. Due to the conditions in Haiti, thousands of Haitian migrants have attempted to cross the US-Mexico border, prompting deportations by US border agents.

Geng expounded on China's position on the latest situation in Haiti and highlighted three priorities.

First, Geng called on Haitian leaders to "move forward the political transition with a sense of urgency". He noted that Haitian's Prime Minister Ariel Henry recently reached an agreement with some parties on the electoral timetable and pre-election political arrangements, however, Haiti's political parties remained divided on the issue.

The repeated postponement of the constitutional referendum and elections would only add to the uncertainty of the political situation in Haiti, the envoy said.

He called on all parties in Haiti to "act in the country's best interest and, in the spirit of mutual understanding and accommodation, show flexibility, move in the same direction, and reach agreement on the relevant arrangements without delay through broad political consultations, so as to ensure the elections can take place as early as possible."

Second, Geng urged the international community to "spare no effort in humanitarian assistance and post-disaster reconstruction".

"China calls on the international community to respond actively to the UN humanitarian emergency appeals totaling about $187 million, and urges the Haitian government to work closely with the UN system to ensure that supplies reach people most in need and to avoid waste and embezzlement," he said.

Third, Geng highlighted the importance of combating criminal gangs with full force. The gangs in Haiti are creating "all sorts of egregious chaos" in the society. They alone are responsible for the displacement of 19,000 people since June, the envoy said.

The Haitian government should enhance the capacity of its police force, implement without delay the National Strategy for Community Violence Reduction, which was adopted with UN support and endorsed in July, in order to "remove the tumor of gang violence as early as possible," he said.

The envoy also noted that the "unfair treatment" that many Haitian migrants received in foreign land is "heartbreaking".

"The mass repatriation of them by the US has undermined their basic rights. China shares the concern expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We hope that the human rights and dignity of Haitian migrants will be duly protected," he said.

He reiterated that there's no external solution to the Haitian crisis, and that it's ultimately up to the Haitian people themselves to bring the country out of its plight, an issue that the Chinese delegation has repeatedly stressed.

"The international community's long standing assistance model that can be compared to blood transfusion and oxygen supply to Haiti has proven to be neither markedly effective nor sustainable. The UN's presence in Haiti should be improved and adjusted," he said.

China is ready to address the "systemic and operational impediments to peace and development in Haiti" with council members, and to consider adopting a new approach to help Haiti overcome the crisis and get on the right track, the envoy said.

"I would like to stress finally that regardless of what the UN is doing, what matters the most is for all the political parties in Haiti to reflect on the problems that exist, and genuinely shoulder their responsibility to the country and their people," Geng added.


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