Media Center



January 16, 2003 - Washington, DC

El SECRETARIO GENERAL ADJUNTO: Muchísimas gracias, señor Presidente.

Paragraph 14 of resolution CP/RES. 822 (1331/02) of September 4, 2002, requires the Secretary General to report on the implementation of that resolution to the Permanent Council every 60 days. The first report covered the period September 4 to November 4; the second report covering the period November 4 to January 4 is currently being translated into the other three official languages. I will provide a brief summary at this point.

On September 4, when the resolution was adopted, I think most observers felt that a basis had been created that would enable substantial political progress and which had de-linked economic questions from the political stalemate existing until that time.

On November 4, less progress had been made than was hoped for in the course of the preparation of the resolution, but the situation remained very much open. I think it is inescapable to say that by January 4, the situation can best be characterized as worrisome. Differences have grown, positions have hardened, polarization has increased, security and human rights concerns loom larger than ever, social tension has risen, the economic and financial picture is threatening, and the suffering of Haiti’s people is increasing.

As provided for in resolution 822, democratic elections are essential to political and administrative progress and national development. However, failure to achieve a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in November, as had been hoped for in the drafting of the resolution, has proven costly. In fact, during the two months covered by this report, the focus on the CEP and on preparations for elections in 2003 has been essentially shunted aside by an outburst of political confrontation. Vocal cries among opponents of the President for his departure have been answered by fervent expressions of support for a complete presidential term until February 2006 from the supporters of Fanmi Lavalas and from the popular organizations. This polarization has led to violence and a number of deaths.

Paragraph 10 of resolution 822 called upon ”all Haitian parties to participate in all relevant aspects of those elections and in the electoral process leading up to it.” Unfortunately, it is clear from the very brief summary I have given you so far that voices of moderation in support of democratic construction in accordance with resolution 822 have found it increasingly difficult to make themselves heard.

The written report covers in detail a large number of specific considerations and provisions called for under the resolution. I will simply read to you the table of contents:

· The Formation of the Provisional Electoral Council;
· Political Developments;
· Climate of Security;
· Role of the Police; Disarmament;
· Reparations;
· Prosecutions in Relation to December 17, 2001;
· Politically Motivated Crimes;
· Human Rights Developments;
· The International Community;
· The Special Mission, and
· various annexes.

I will limit this oral report to some few major events, and the first one is actually quite positive. It is the completion on November 15 of an impressive and in many ways forward-looking and ambitious set of terms of reference prepared jointly by the OAS Special Mission, headed by David Lee, and the Government of Hait,i led for these purposes by Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, covering support and cooperation on elections, election security, professionalization of the police, and disarmament.

These very important agreements were unfortunately counterbalanced, in effect, as soon as November 17, when tens of thousands of people marched from Cap-Haïtien, which is Haiti’s second largest city, to Vertières, which is the site nearby of the decisive battle in Haiti’s war of independence. There, a so-called declaration of Vertières—Déclaration de Vertières—was issued, which appealed for the unity of all democratic sectors, the postponement of the formation of the CEP, and a general mobilization for the departure of President Aristide. That declaration and the size of the turnout animated the opposition forces that took to the streets in mass protests in different parts of the country over the following weeks.

On November 22, popular organization members supportive of the Government virtually shut down Haiti’s capital by strategically placing burning barricades throughout the city without intervention by the police. These developments and the shooting of some students the day before provoked strong reactions from Haitian and international sources. The Special Mission issued a communiqué on November 25, which can be viewed on the OAS website. The private sector reacted by issuing a strongly worded declaration on November 23 entitled “Non à l’intolérable! deploring what it referred to as the intolerable and unacceptable initiative to block the country and national life by the institution of a climate of terror, a comment clearly aimed at the Government.

Alarmed by the deterioration of the climate of security in the country, the Roman Catholic Church issued a communiqué of the Bishops of Haiti to the Haitian people and the international community on November 29. The document criticized the use of violence, reprisals, and mutual aggression as instruments of political discourse and appealed for dialogue and consultation to bridge the differences. It called for the immediate formation of the CEP and also included, as a matter for discussion, the duration of the presidential term.

From December 21 to January 8, the Government decreed a truce in demonstrations over the holiday period. Though this was generally followed, a shortage of all kinds of fuel, trigged in part by events in Venezuela, led to considerable inconvenience and was followed by a drastic increase in prices by the Government once supplies resumed, which further stimulated unrest into this month of January.

On December 26, 184 institutions, associations, and organizations of civil society, a truly impressive grouping, issued a joint declaration. They called for the discussion of a social contract and set seven pre-conditions for engagement in the electoral process. These were:
· freedom of association, assembly, and expression;
· disarmament and dismantling of armed gangs;
· prosecution of the assassins of Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor;
· release of political prisoners and of all of those who had a court ruling in their favor;
· cessation of heinous and violent public declarations;
· security for journalists and other citizens under the threat of violence; and
· implementation of the terms of reference drawn up by the OAS Special Mission and the Government.

And there, in effect, the political situation stands now, though in recent days there has been talk that meetings have taken place between the President and some of the leaders of political opposition, the Convergence démocratique.

Let me turn now to aspects involving the international community. As members of this Council are aware, on November 11 the Secretariat formally informed member states and permanent observers that the net requirements for the Special Mission would be in the order of $12 million for a year of operations and that electoral and security requirements, yet to be fully assessed, could add significantly to this figure. Clearly, contributions that have been received since then have totaled far less than that figure. The United States had immediately contributed $1 million. We have had two contributions that I will mention because of their extraordinary importance symbolically: $20,000 from the Government of Brazil, which I think has a special status in Haiti, not entirely due to soccer; and $5,000 from the Holy See.

Two days ago, we had a major sign of support when the Government of Canada announced a contribution of CAN$2 million for the Special Mission. That is a very major contribution, particularly at a time when to begin to implement support in the security field and other areas essential to stable democratic development is so important. At the same time, we have not received earlier amounts offered by some institutions, particularly ones that are not directly members of the inter-American system. Clearly, the Mission is under major stress, not just because of the situation in Haiti, but because things agreed and negotiated with great difficulty, like the terms of reference, require in effect increased activity and yet, at the same time, we lack the resources to carry them out fully. Under the OAS system we don’t go into debt like the United Nations can, and no commitments can be made if the funds are not actually received in OAS coffers. That includes contracts for personnel and others.

Paragraph 11 of resolution 822 gave a green light to the international financial institutions (IFIs) to strengthen their work in Haiti in accordance with their internal technical and financial standards. Processes are actively underway. There have been a number of visits and discussions involving the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and of course the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but it is important to note that during this reporting period, nothing concrete has yet emerged for reasons that are apparently both Haitian and international.

Let me conclude. Clearly, in the state of mutual aggression that has characterized Haitian political life over much of this reporting period, there has been virtually no progress on key aspects of resolution 822. I would say at the same time that it is probably important not to overemphasize or misinterpret these many difficulties. I personally have a reputation of being relatively optimistic, and I would like to suggest to the Council that perhaps in this case, what we are seeing is not more of the same but the beginnings of some fundamental realignments of forces, particularly within Haiti and perhaps to some extent regionally, a realignment that will ultimately prove favorable to the execution of resolution 822, which the member states, in their wisdom, have asked us to implement and which, we believe, remains the only sensible course. Perhaps, one way of conveying what I suspect may be the case is that we are seeing the storm before the calm, to reverse the way things are usually stated, which of course would be fairly typical of Haiti.

Two things are clear, however. It seems to me that Haitians—Government, opposition, the growing and in this sense very encouraging force of civil society groups—need to do a better job to build common ground and improve governance and the rule of law. The early formation of the Provisional Electoral Council is obviously a key part of that, since without an effective and credible Electoral Council, as agreed in the earlier negotiations, it is very hard to see elections being able to be carried out effectively this year.

Secondly, I think that we, the international community, can still improve our activities in support of resolution 822 and a positive outcome in Haiti, and with Haiti for the Caribbean region and the rest of us.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.