OAS Addresses the Situation in Haiti

Thomas R. Hastings, Deputy Chief of Mission, addresses the Permanent Council. (February 1, 2023)

comments from
Thomas R Hastings
Deputy Head of Mission
Permanent Council of the OAS
February 1, 2023

Thank you Mr. Chairman. We welcome the inclusion of this topic on today’s agenda and welcome this initiative by the Haiti delegation.

The United States is encouraged by the actions of the Haitian government, various other political actors and members of civil society and the private sector, who have been working to pass a political agreement on December 21 that would bring all Haitians together to find a way to vote .

At the same time, we remain deeply concerned about the cholera outbreak and deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Haiti, which are exacerbated by the ongoing political and security crisis and lawlessness associated with armed gangs.

We condemn in the strongest terms the violent gang activity that led to the deaths of several members of the Haitian National Police (HNP) on January 20-25. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the brave HNP officers killed in the line of duty.

In light of these developments, the United States is urging broader consensus and greater flexibility among leaders of all sectors to enable Haiti to advance the reforms needed to ensure responsive, democratic governance and enhanced security.

The United States, Canada and other international partners remain committed to helping the people of Haiti and working together to find solutions to alleviate the ongoing crisis. However, we realize that the ultimate solution to the situation in Haiti must be resolved by the people of Haiti themselves.

Mr. Chairperson, A key example of the continued partnership and commitment of the United States and Canada to the security of the people of Haiti is our support of the Haitian National Police (HNP) – through the ongoing supply of Haitian-purchased armored vehicles to Port-au-Prince . We also appreciate the OAS’ longstanding support of HNP’s work.

At the request of the Haitian Council of Ministers and the United Nations Secretary-General, the United States continues to discuss with international partners the possibility of deploying a multinational force composed primarily of police officers. We welcome the support of OAS member states to advance this effort, as discussed at the 52nd OAS General Assembly in Lima.

Likewise, we are developing plans to implement the “US Strategy for Conflict Prevention and Promoting Stability in Haiti,” which provides a comprehensive framework for long-term efforts by the US administration to address the root causes of instability and promote peace in Haiti. The strategy’s flexible approach adapts to the context of Haiti and prevents conflicts and crises from erupting or worsening, especially in view of the coming decade.

Ultimately, Mr. Chairman, to have stability in the country – including the fight against corruption and a stable security situation – there must be a democratic and fully representative government that can only be forged through free and fair elections. Therefore, we continue to urge inclusive dialogue to advance plans to hold general and presidential elections as soon as conditions permit.

In conclusion, the United States is committed to the people of Haiti and will continue to support free and fair elections in the country. The Haitian people deserve the opportunity to elect their leaders and restore Haiti’s democratic institutions. The only way out of presidential rule by decree is to hold free and fair general elections so that Parliament can resume its constitutional role.

We hope that today’s discussion will serve to inform our upcoming discussions of a new OAS Permanent Council resolution addressing these issues. The United States looks forward to working with all interested delegations in this important effort.

Thank you Chairman.

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