“The Government of Haiti has noted with the greatest interest the Secretary-General’s statements with regard to two issues which make the (UN) Organization uncomfortable, the multiple cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by the ‘blue helmets’ and the introduction of cholera into Haiti,” said Privert in addressing the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly Debate on Friday.
“The UN’s acknowledgement of its responsibility in the second issue opens the way for real discussions on the obligation to definitively eliminate cholera from Haiti,” he added.
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which currently numbers nearly 5,000 uniformed personnel, was set up 12 years ago to help restore peace and stability and took on added functions following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
The UN said the cholera outbreak has affected an estimated 780,000 people and claimed the lives of over 9,100 people. The disease is typically contracted through contaminated food or water, the UN said.
“We want to hope that the Secretary-General’s urgent appeal for a substantially reinforced battle plan against cholera and to aid the victims and their near ones will be heard and fully meet the expectations of the Haitian people,” Privert said.
Last month, noting that a United States Federal appeals court upheld the UN’s immunity from a damage claim filed on behalf of the cholera victims, Ban said he deeply regretted the “terrible suffering” of the Haitian people, adding that the UN had a moral responsibility to the support the victims and the French-speaking Caribbean country in overcoming the epidemic.
Ban said he was actively working to develop a package to provide material aid and support to those most directly affected, improve access to care and treatment and address the longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems.
The UN Secretary General also urged Member States to make the severe funding shortfalls hobbling these efforts, despite repeated appeals.
Privert also called for UN reforms, including enlargement of the 15-member Security Council, and declared his country’s support for the Organization’s efforts to improve its peacekeeping operations, fight pandemics and other health crises, and promote democracy and human rights while also economic, social and cultural rights.
Additionally, Privert noted the multitude of threats facing the international community, including terrorism, violence and environmental devastation.
In a time of such volatility, he urged the United Nations to ensure stability and peace, and contain international terrorism.
Although important progress had been made in reaching a peace agreement in Colombia and in easing relations between the United States and Cuba, Privert said those recent developments had been overshadowed by many other threats to peace and stability.
Under the existing conditions, many Haitians chose to leave their country to seek improved livelihoods elsewhere, he said.
By assuming deliberate ownership of the process of implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Privert said Haiti had committed itself to improving living conditions for all its citizens.
He said the country needed peace, as well as measures to strengthen the rule of law, the economy and the infrastructure, so that it could provide Haitians with better living conditions.
Privert said Haiti’s upcoming election would strengthen stability, as well as help the country to move out of underdevelopment.
“A credible and honest electoral process would restore constitutional order, as well as citizens’ trust in their elected leaders and political institutions,” he said, adding that the election would “truly break with the cycle of instability and uncertainty.”
Privert said he would not spare any efforts to ensure the election was free and fair.
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