NEW YORK, 28 NOVEMBER 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3837th MEETING (the question concerning Haiti)
Portugal is a sponsor of the draft resolution before the Council on the constitution of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH).
Despite some progress, serious problems persist in Haiti that require the continuation of the assistance of the United Nations. We are concerned about the continuation of violence and unrest, the difficult economic situation, the high level of unemployment, the rising cost of living and the slow pace of change in Haiti.
Given the fact that elections are due to take place in November 1998, the period ahead will be of crucial importance for the consolidation of democracy and national reconstruction. For that reason, comprehensive and sustained long-term assistance by the international community is vitally important.
A continued commitment, in particular from the international financial institutions and other United Nations agencies, is necessary to promote a successful and sustainable development that will underpin political stability in the country. We want to help Haitians build up a country where democracy and progress will be a reality. That can be achieved only if the rule of law and respect for human rights are ensured.
The Secretary-General's latest report underlines that, despite some progress, the Haitian National Police has not reached the level of professionalization required to tackle successfully the various problems in daily activities. In fact, a self-sustained and fully functioning police force is essential to ensure a secure and stable environment, economic rehabilitation and the consolidation of democracy in Haiti.
We therefore believe that it is of the utmost importance to maintain for a period of one year, until 30 November 1998, the presence of the United Nations, as the present draft resolution foresees. As requested recently by President Préval, the new Mission will continue to help the Government of Haiti professionalize its police force. In this context, we urge Haiti's authorities to pursue their efforts to form a public force respectful of legality, and also to pursue their efforts to revitalize Haiti's justice system, to which the Permanent Representative of Haiti referred earlier.
In conclusion, I would like to pay tribute to the positive role played by the personnel of the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) and their Governments, and also to the United States and Canada for their positive roles in ensuring the success of the Mission so far. Finally, I would also like to express a special word of commendation for the role played by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti.