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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H.E. MR. LAURO L. BAJA, JR.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations


Open Meeting on the Situation in Haiti
Security Council Chamber, 26 February 2004

 

We thank you Mr. President for convening this meeting on the question concerning Haiti with the added importance of the presence of the Secretary General.

Yesterday, we had a briefing from the Undersecretary for Political Affairs about the grim situation on the ground in Haiti. This afternoon, the foreign ministers of Jamaica and Bahamas painted an even more grim and bleak picture.

Mr. President, the urgent priority now is to restore order in the ground to avoid further loss of lives and property, preempt further human rights abuses and allow the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance strongly advocated by the foreign ministers of Jamaica and the Bahamas.

There is no military force in Haiti and the civilian police is incapable of doing this. There is, therefore, an urgent need for an international civilian police presence to do the job.

We are aware of there are calls from powerful nations and large organizations—also from nations not so powerful and organizations not so large—for rebels to cease and desist from further violence. But such calls, no matter how strong the voice is, must be accompanied by strong action on the ground.

Otherwise, these calls may remain hollow and empty and unheeded.

We are also aware that diplomatic and political initiatives are ongoing to secure a peaceful solution to the crisis. But these laudable initiatives will have greater chances of success only when the guns are silent.

By their pronouncements, both sides have hardened their positions and are on a collision course. Given the volatility of the situation in Haiti, if an international force in support of a political settlement is envisaged, it must be done before the situation further deteriorates, now before a bloodbath occurs. Time is of the essence. We must bite the bullet now.

We therefore see merit in the statement of the Foreign Minister of France, circulated as a document of the Security Council, which calls for, among others, for the immediate rest of a civilian peacekeeping force under a mandate mentioned in the document. There are a number of countries which have said that they are ready to contribute to this force. There also a number of countries which have sent troops to Haiti to protect their citizens. We could readily have a new coalition of the willing to arrest the continuing violence and breakdown of law and order in Haiti.

Although the circumstances are different, Interfet or the International Force in East Timor, was instrumental in arresting violence and restoring law and order in the country. Australia and other countries in the region helped restore law and order in the Solomon Islands last year.

Of course, a peaceful constitutional solution to the current crisis in Haiti will have to be evaluated. We are gratified to note that OAS and Caricom and other countries with particular interest in Haiti are engaged to convince Haitiansto resolve their differences peacefully, democratically and constitutionally.

This will also obviate the spectre of refugees, of boat people, from Haiti spilling into neighboring countries. Southeast Asia … during the Vietnam War.

Yesterday, the President, on behalf of the Council, issued a statement which called upon the government and the armed rebels to stop the --- of violence to advance political goals. It remains unclear, however, whether the message even really reached the parties concerned of even heard of what we are saying.

If, after this meeting, the Council decides to renew the call, it must also decide to do something beyond yesterday’s call and address the situation on the ground. Otherwise we may find addressing ourselves our own statement and view the unintended consequence of embarrassing ourselves.

The international community and the UN system should not abdicate its responsibility to treat the current structural dysfunction in Haiti through a robust presence to address security and humanitarian aspects of the …

The best way for a bad situation to get worse and spread is for us to do nothing or to do something late. The Security Council should avoid this. We therefore welcome the appointment of Mr. Richer Rumas as Special Adviser of the Secretary General to Haiti.

 


 




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