The UN Reiterates Its Appeal To Consolidate Haiti’s Stabilization
By Dialogo April 06, 2009The United Nations (UN) reiterated its call to the international community to generously support the Haitian government’s economic development plans, by which this Antillean country seeks to consolidate the relative stability achieved in the last five years. The UN’s special envoy to Haiti, Hedi Annabi, said in a meeting of the Security Council that Haitian society is facing a "unique opportunity" to take the path to progress. "For the first time in many decades, the country has a good opportunity to escape the destructive cycles of the past and move toward a better future," he said. Annabi noted that on April 14 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will hold a donors’ conference in Washington in the hopes that "the international community will make an extra effort" to support the poorest country in the Americas. "We believe that Haiti truly has an opportunity to consolidate the stability for which so many have labored, but this will only be achieved if provided with continuous and coordinated care across all fronts," he warned. The special envoy pointed out that Haiti desperately needs to strengthen its institutions, to deploy its own security force, to increase its respect for human rights, and to improve socio-economic conditions. UN and Haitian authorities fear that after a period of several years of relative calm supported by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the country might become politically unstable again. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, visited Haiti on March 9-10 accompanied by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to call attention to the "crucial moment" that the country is going through. He was immediately followed by an UN Security Council delegation, which from March 11 to 14 evaluated the country's situation. Rising food prices in April 2008 led to the outbreak of violent demonstrations that resulted in six deaths and the fall of then-Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis. On top of this, enormous damage caused by four hurricanes and storms between August and September 2008 left over 900 dead and 800,000 injured, and destroyed the country’s poor civil infrastructure. The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said that diplomats who traveled to the Caribbean country could see how delicate the situation was. "We saw evidence of how poverty and unemployment create the possibility of major unrest and disrupt Haiti’s progress," she said. As did the other 14 members of the organization, the U.S. ambassador expressed his country's support for the UN Secretary-General’s efforts on this matter. The UN has maintained its mission in Haiti for almost five years, with about 7,000 soldiers and 2,000 policemen who have been responsible for providing security and supporting the process of democratization in the country since former President Jean Bertrand Aristide was violently forced out of office.