The earthquake in Haiti was a humanitarian disaster striking a people living in extreme poverty and distress. We are truly impressed by the extraordinary strength of the Haitian people to overcome this crisis and to look forward. We commend the Haitian government for taking the lead in developing the National Reconstruction and Development Plan.
It is more important than ever that the international efforts for reconstruction are well coordinated, led by the Haitian government and the UN. Despite terrible losses, the UN has done a remarkable job under difficult circumstances following the earthquake. We would like to express our full support to the Special Envoy, Mr Bill Clinton, and to the SRSG, Mr Edmund Mulet, who are leading the international efforts.
Immediately following the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January, Norway provided USD 35 million in emergency relief. At the International donors’ conference on March 31st, Norway announced long-term assistance to Haiti by an additional USD 100 million over the next four years within three areas: (1) Disaster preparedness and sustainable rural development; (2) Political dialogue and confidence-building; and (3) Protection of women and children from violence, sexual abuse and trafficking.
I would like to draw your attention to a few important aspects regarding the protection of civilians in Haiti. MINUSTAH – as well as the Haitian National Police, suffered great losses in the earthquake. Therefore it is encouraging to see how well the Haitian National Police, MINUSTAH and local actors have cooperated in tackling concrete protection issues after the earthquake. But the challenges ahead are massive.
Some 2 million internally displaced persons live in 1300 IDP sites before the rainy season and the hurricanes set in. Almost 80% of these people live in camps without proper camp management. We have received reports about rape and other forms of sexual abuse of women and children in the camps. Simultaneously, large numbers of dangerous criminals are still at large after the massive prison escape following the earthquake – criminals that had been captured following effective MINUSTAH action before the earthquake. The situation is truly dramatic.
Haitian rule of law structures will have to be strengthened in order to protect Haiti’s population, including in the IDP camps and sites. The national police will continue to need our support in doing this, and all possible measures should be taken to strengthen its ability to protect women and children who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and violence and trafficking.
Norway therefore fully supports the recommendation by the SG to strengthen the police elements of MINUSTAH to be able to confront these massive challenges.
As a concrete measure of support, Norway will provide substantial financial support to the MINUSTAH-HNP program to strengthen HNP gender crimes units.
Furthermore, and as soon as positions and personnel can be matched, we intend to nominate highly qualified Norwegian police officers with relevant expertise in the field of sexual and gender based violence as well as trafficking issues. A dialogue with the DPKO will be initiated immediately to match our capabilities with MINUSTAH’s needs on the ground.
As a final point, I would like to underline that all the efforts the international community undertakes in Haiti today – even those addressing immediate concerns – should have an element of capacity building in mind. To achieve longer term sustainability for the Haitian
National Police and other Haitian rule of law structures, continued and close cooperation
between MINUSTAH and Haiti’s authorities will be needed at all times.
There should be no doubt that Haiti is the lead, from early on. It is their country, their future and ultimately their responsibilities that we as the international community are there to support.
Thank you, Mr. President