Francisco O. Mora
OAS Permanent Council
February 10, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Foreign Minister. The United States welcomes the convocation of today’s Special Session of the Permanent Council. We also appreciate the initiative of Haiti providing for the adoption of a new and timely resolution regarding the challenging situation there.
Like many member states present today, the United States is deeply concerned by the cholera outbreak and deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Haiti, exacerbated by the ongoing political and grave security crisis and instances of gang-led lawlessness.
At the same time, we are encouraged by the actions of the Haitian government, various other political actors and members of civil society and the private sector, who worked to adopt a political accord on December 21.
As our resolution today makes clear, this accord represents an important step forward — providing a key opportunity for all Haitians to come together to chart a path towards elections.
We welcome the recent investiture of the High Transition Council (HCT) in Haiti – which is crucial for restoring democratic order and improving security. As affirmed in today’s text, the United States joins all delegations in encouraging greater consensus and an empowered HCT.
To this end, we urge all parties to show flexibility in this democratic process so Haiti can advance needed reforms – thereby ensuring responsive, democratic governance and allowing for improved security.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Foreign Minister — the United States, Canada, and many other international partners remain deeply committed to assisting the people of Haiti and working together on solutions to alleviate the ongoing crisis. This shared interest has guided the constructive efforts of many delegations around this table over the past week.
In particular, I want to recognize the contributions of Ambassador Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda, a steadfast friend of Haiti, as well as those from the delegations of Canada and Costa Rica.
And yet, it remains very clear that the ultimate resolution of the situation in Haiti is one that must be resolved by the people of Haiti themselves.
In response to a request from the Haitian Council of Ministers to the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and OAS, the United States continues to discuss with international partners the possibility of sending a multinational force composed primarily of police. We continue to develop with partners the framework for this multi-national force, which is intended to provide security and stability. It is not, as some delegations have suggested, intended to “impose peace.”
Mr. Chairman, as we underscored in negotiations over the past week, the United States urgently calls on all OAS member and observer states to help us and Haiti advance this effort, as discussed at the 52nd OAS General Assembly in Lima.
In addition to more than quadrupling our assistance to the Haitian National Police, providing more than $90 million in the last 18 months, the United States along with several other partner nations have implemented financial sanctions and visa restrictions against malign actors who provide support to gangs and foment instability. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to institute new sanctions and visa restrictions against individuals undermining peace and stability in Haiti.
To complement these steps, my government is developing plans to implement the “U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability in Haiti,” which establishes a comprehensive framework for long-term U.S. government efforts to address the drivers of instability and promote peace in Haiti.
Ultimately, Mr. Chairman, in order to have stability in the country — including combatting corruption — there must be the presence of a democratic and fully representative government, which can only be forged through free and fair elections.
My government remains firmly committed to the people of Haiti and will continue to call for the holding of free and fair legislative and presidential elections as soon as conditions permit. The only way out of presidential rule by decree is through the conduct of legislative elections, so parliament can resume its proper role. The OAS has an important role to play in this effort.
The United States welcomes the adoption of today’s resolution and we look forward to working with all interested delegations to support its full and timely implementation. We strongly endorse the establishment of the OAS Working Group on Haiti to facilitate support by member and observer states for free and fair elections and democratic transition.
I would be remiss, Mr. Chairman, if I did not also bring to the attention of this Council today a positive recent development — the release of political prisoners in Nicaragua.
Yesterday, the Government of Nicaragua decided unilaterally to release 222 individuals whom they had imprisoned. Some of these individuals spent years in prison, many of them for exercising their fundamental freedoms, in awful conditions and with no access to due process.
This decision by the Nicaraguan Government is a positive step and a welcome one – underscoring the value of repeated calls for action made by this Council, the General Assembly, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The ongoing work of our OAS Working Group on Nicaragua, chaired by Canada and Chile, was also instrumental in building support for this development.
I am pleased to confirm that the United States facilitated the transportation of individuals, once released from Nicaraguan custody, to the United States. We will continue to support this Organization’s efforts to urge additional steps by the Government of Nicaragua to restore civil liberties and democracy for all Nicaraguans.
Thank you, Chairman and Mr. Foreign Minister.
“RENEWED SUPPORT FOR SECURITY AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, INCLUSIVE,
FREE, FAIR, AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS, AND DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI”
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,
REAFFIRMING the principles enshrined in the Charter of the Organization of American States, particularly those relating to representative democracy and social security;
BEARING IN MIND resolution AG/RES. 2982 (LII-O/22) adopted by the General Assembly on October 6, 2022, at its 52nd regular Session, on the security situation in Haiti and hemispheric cooperation for the preservation of democracy and the fight against food insecurity;
REITERATING that any solution to the current multidimensional crisis in Haiti requires the efforts of all stakeholders of the Haitian nation, including the government, the opposition, civil society, women’s organizations, and the private and religious sectors;
REITERATING ALSO that a secure environment is essential for the organization of the inclusive, free, fair, and credible general elections that must be held as soon as conditions permit in order to make the country’s democratic institutions functional;
DEEPLY SADDENED by recent losses of the lives of innocent citizens and of officers of the Haitian National Police;
GREATLY CONCERNED by the ongoing and recently increased insecurity, especially the proliferation of armed gangs, that threatens the rule of law and the future of democracy in Haiti;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the Haitian Government’s requests, contained in a letter dated October 9, 2022, to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), for effective support from Haiti’s international partners to enforce the Rule of Law and to address the security and humanitarian crises that have been exacerbated by, among other things, the criminal actions of armed gangs and their sponsors;
NOTING THAT the Haitian’s Government letter of October 9, 2022, also acknowledged that “Support to build a national consensus among all the stakeholders in the country is also necessary to enable us to ensure inclusive, clean, and democratic elections”.
ACKNOWLEDGING THAT an accord was reached on December 21, 2022, and a document entitled, ‘National Consensus for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections’, was issued by the executive branch of Government and representatives of the business sector, the social sector, and political parties in Haiti;
RECALLING the encouragement in AG/RES. 2982 (LII-O/22) for all regional and subregional initiatives in support of the ongoing dialogue between the Government of Haiti, political parties, private sector, religious actors, and civil society, including women’s organizations for the organization of free and fair presidential, legislative, and local elections, consistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter as soon as conditions allow;
RECALLING ALSO the request in AG/RES. 2982 (LII-O/22) to the OAS Secretariat, member states, and permanent observers that are in a position to do so to urgently offer direct support to the Government of the Republic of Haiti to better train port security officials to combat firearms trafficking, to strengthen the capacities and means of the National Police to restore security in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and to stop the expansion of armed gangs that are terrorizing the population;
RECOGNIZING the decisions in AG/RES. 2982 (LII-O/22), particularly to re-establish a mechanism for regular meetings of the OAS to follow up on the Good Offices Mission to Haiti and to remain actively engaged in Haiti; and
NOTING the report released in January 2023 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti,
- To acknowledge the signing, on December 21, 2022, of an accord, entitled, ‘National Consensus for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections’ by the Government, and representatives of the business sector, social sector, and political parties in the Republic of Haiti, and to encourage further inclusion and participation of those stakeholders in Haiti, who have not yet signed the accord, while also moving forward with implementing the structures outlined in the accord.
- To call on the High-Level Transition Council, established through the above-mentioned accord, to coordinate, as soon as possible, a political dialogue aimed at broadening the consensus surrounding this accord and ensuring it is as inclusive as possible, as provided in the accord’s Article 6.
- To encourage member states, to the extent of their resources and capacity, to act urgently in providing support to the efforts of the Haitian authorities to restore order and security, and to consider the Haitian government’s requests, as appropriate, contained in its letter of October 9, 2022, to the OAS Secretary General, and in accordance with AG/RES. 2982 (LII-O/22).
- To establish by February 22, 2023, a Working Group of the Permanent Council, to serve as a mechanism for regular meetings of the OAS on the situation in Haiti; and, in establishing the Working Group, to be guided by Article 15 of the Statutes of the Permanent Council and Articles 12 and 25 of the Rules of Procedures of the Permanent Council.
- To invite the Government of the Republic of Haiti to establish and maintain regular ongoing dialogue with the “Working Group on Haiti” to facilitate support by OAS member states, permanent observers, and the General Secretariat for inclusive, free, fair, and credible elections and democratic transition in the Republic of Haiti, noting the targeted date of February 7, 2024, as agreed on the December 21, 2022, accord.
- To request that the OAS Working Group on Haiti, with the assistance of the General Secretariat, convene by March 17, 2023, a Security, Humanitarian, Electoral, and Democracy Assistance Dialogue with the participation of the Government of Haiti and the High-Level Transition Council (HCT), to permit the latter to provide OAS member states, permanent observers and the General Secretariat with information regarding the priority areas of assistance required to enable and ensure inclusive participation of Haitian stakeholders in arrangements for inclusive, free, fair and credible elections and democratic transition in the Republic of Haiti as soon as conditions allow.
- To request that the Working Group take note of the dispositions in the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA) and of the measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council, particularly the provisions of resolutions 2645 regarding arms and ammunition trafficking and 2653 on sanctions measures, and the Joint Program for the Haitian National Police (UN Basket Fund), as well as the contents of the letter of the UN Secretary-General to the President of the UN Security Council dated October 8, 2022.
- To request that the General Secretariat provide the necessary support to the Working Group on Haiti to fulfil its assigned responsibilities, and that the Working Group provide a report to the Permanent Council by March 31, 2023, and thereafter on a quarterly basis concerning its work to implement its mandate.