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6149: Secy Genl Report Part II (fwd)

From: Affuller@aol.com

Here's Part II of the Secy Genl's Report

22. The justice pillar also gave juridical and technical support to 
non-governmental organizations providing legal aid for the poor, and took on 
the publishing of a French-Creole lexicon of legal terms, together with the 
Ministry of Justice, the State University of Haiti, the Port-au-Prince Bar 
and the jurists' association. Advisers were also assigned to provincial 
courts to help speed up the processing of detainees, assist with judicial 
control over the police, and improve the work of court and prison clerks.

    V.  Haitian National Police

23. The police section of MICAH had 24 advisers by mid-October, assigned to 
the directorates and central offices of HNP in Port-au-Prince - including the 
General Directorate, the Inspectorate General, the Administrative Police, the 
Judicial Police Directorate, the Bureau for Criminal Affairs and the Centre 
for Information and Operations - and the nine Police departmental directors.
24. The equipment and materiel necessary for the police to operate were found 
to be in extremely short supply in most units. Some police officers of all 
ranks were reported to be demoralized and unmotivated. In addition to the 
tough conditions and shortage of equipment, the reasons for demoralization 
included the negative impact of instances of corruption and drug trafficking, 
accompanied by attempts by a faction of Fanmi Lavalas to gain control of the 
force. After the installation of the new Parliament, several Fanmi Lavalas 
senators embarked on a campaign of almost daily criticism of the police, 
accusing the service of incompetence and inactivity in the face of soaring 
crime and of having corrupted elements within its ranks. Expectations that 
many police officers would be replaced after the change of Government 
contributed to a wait-and-see attitude, in particular in view of the arrest 
of several high-ranking officers on suspicion of plotting a coup d'état, a 
charge for which there was seemingly little evidence. 
25. During this period, the police section organized a one-day seminar which 
brought all of its advisers together with 26 senior HNP officials and 
representatives of bilateral and multilateral donors working in the police 
and justice areas. The Director General of HNP also attended the seminar, 
which was aimed at explaining the nature of MICAH technical assistance to the 
police and encouraging receptivity, as well as providing a forum for a free 
exchange of ideas. A nationwide police recruitment drive was launched on 2 
October with the support of MICAH.

    VI. Human rights

26. The human rights section of MICAH had 27 advisers by the start of 
October, with teams deployed to Cap Haïtien, Gonaïves and Les Cayes as well 
as Port-au-Prince. Advisers began assignments at the Office of the Ombudsman 
(Office de la Protection du Citoyen) and at the Inspectorate General of the 
Police. A four-day training programme was developed for human rights 
instructors at the Police Academy, in order to reinforce their knowledge of 
human rights issues, Haitian law and good police practice. A team also 
initiated human rights training for new prison guard recruits with the 
eventual aim of training trainers at the Prison Authority to take over the 
27. International Peace Day (19 September) was used as a vehicle to promote 
the values of a culture of peace through the media, round-table meetings and 
other activities organized jointly with the United Nations Educational, 
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). MICAH planned other events in 
the context of the International Year for the Culture of Peace, including 
supporting a nationwide writing competition for young people organized by 
radio journalists. A seminar on the complaints mechanism of the 
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights was held with members of the 
Commission in August for Haitian human rights organizations.
28. Although on a lesser scale than its MICIVIH predecessor, the human rights 
section began carrying out verification activities, following up primarily 
incidents of violence which could be of a political nature and a number of 
allegations of serious abuse. Incidents of violence linked to the 21 May 
electoral process subsided as the process slowly concluded. There were, 
however, sporadic reports of groups of sometimes heavily armed men 
accompanying Fanmi Lavalas officials and acting in an intimidatory fashion. 
Likewise, the continued failure to punish individuals linked to certain 
pro-Fanmi Lavalas organizations allegedly responsible for violent and 
threatening behaviour compounded the perception that institutions responsible 
for guaranteeing law and order and protecting human rights were increasingly 
subordinated to the dominant power group. Following the installation of the 
new municipal councils, security agents attached to town halls assumed 
policing functions, posing a threat to the protection of human rights, given 
the lack of controls or a legal framework for their activity.
29. Respect of the rights to individual liberty and a fair trial within a 
reasonable time limit continued to be the most frequent human rights 
violations, in particular in Port-au-Prince where there are detainees held 
since 1995 and 1996 without trial, some of them with release orders. 
Political considerations would still appear to dominate in some cases. Poor 
record-keeping in both prisons and courts compounded the difficulties of 
tracking cases and facilitated such violations. These problems were referred 
to the MICAH justice section for follow-up through its technical support at 
the Prison Authority and in certain jurisdictions. Local police authorities 
in Port-au-Prince began taking action in response to concerns expressed about 
prolonged detention in police custody and sharply deteriorated conditions 
which were jeopardizing the health of detainees. The human rights section 
also monitored the Carrefour-Feuilles trial of six police officers, four of 
whom were convicted of murder.

    VII.    Development activities

30. Representatives of the United Nations system in Haiti have continued 
their efforts to implement the reform programme of the Secretary-General. 
After almost one year of dialogue, consensus-building and formulation 
involving all key development partners, and following a thorough validation 
process, the common country assessment document was finalized and officially 
released on United Nations Day. Building on the consensus that emerged from 
the assessment, and in line with Economic and Social Council resolution 
1999/11 of 27 July 1999, in which the Council called for the development of a 
long-term strategy and programme of support for Haiti, the United Nations 
system is engaged in the formulation of a United Nations Development 
Assistance Framework for Haiti, which is expected to be finalized in January 
2001. To launch the process, two workshops were organized for all United 
Nations agencies, with the participation of representatives of the United 
Nations Development Group Office at UNDP. Three broad, transversal themes 
were adopted in the preparation of the Framework: (a) education for all, 
enhancement of human resources and access to social services; (b) governance 
and rule of law; and (c) food security and rural development. 
31. Pursuant to an earlier agreement among the Government, the World Bank and 
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the preparation of an interim 
poverty reduction strategy paper, the Government formulated a preparatory 
document describing the underlying strategy. Meanwhile, an IMF mission 
visited Haiti in order to evaluate the status of the budget deficit and 
public finances and to devise a strategy to restore equilibrium to the 
budgetary accounts and control inflation.
32. In addition to the United Nations country team's intense mobilization 
around the assessment and Framework processes, agencies have continued to 
develop and implement their own programmes within their mandated areas. UNDP 
launched its justice programme, after in-depth discussions held with the 
Ministry of Justice and MICAH. The programme is aimed at (a) reinforcing the 
leadership of the Ministry of Justice and its capacity to formulate a policy 
for the justice sector; and (b) promoting the participation of other actors, 
including civil society, in the debate on judicial reform. In the context of 
the employment programme of UNDP and the International Labour Organization, a 
presentation was made to introduce the broad lines of the national employment 
promotion policy. UNDP also supported the preparation of the first national 
plan for risk and disaster prevention and management. 
33. In cooperation with relevant national and local authorities, the World 
Food Programme (WFP) provided special assistance to stabilize the food 
security situation in the drought-stricken north and north-eastern regions. 
WFP also undertook an inter-ministerial review of its programme in Haiti. In 
addition to its regular activities, the World Health Organization provided 
continuous support for vaccination campaigns against measles, together with 
the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and mobilized special resources 
to combat infant mortality. UNICEF also finalized its cooperation strategy 
with the Government for its next country programme and supported the 
Government in finalizing the national report on the follow-up to the World 
Summit for Children. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 
continued its public information campaign in 10 major cities, entitled 
"Artists and youth caravan against AIDS". In collaboration with UNICEF and 
UNESCO, the United Nations Population Fund supported a youth national 
congress. It also launched a project on HIV/AIDS prevention and provided 
support to the Haitian delegation attending the five-year follow-up to the 
Fourth World Conference on Women. The Food and Agriculture Organization of 
the United Nations supported a series of activities for World Food Day and 
aided in the preparation of an agricultural policy document and action plans 
for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The International Organization for 
Migration organized a series of workshops on migration issues and provided 
support for the drafting of a migration law. The United Nations disaster 
management team reacted swiftly to Hurricane Debby, facilitating several 
coordination meetings with all concerned actors so that preparatory measures 
were taken.

    VIII.   Observations

34. The political polarization of Haiti was highlighted by the Inter-American 
Commission of Human Rights, which visited Port-au-Prince from 21 to 25 
August. In a statement issued at the end of the visit, the Commission stated 
that the most critical and worrying aspect of the current human rights 
situation in Haiti was the deterioration of the political climate to such a 
point that no consensus seemed to exist about the ways in which to 
consolidate the country's fledgling democracy. In his most recent report, the 
independent expert of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of 
human rights in Haiti pointed out that Haiti suffered from an enormous lack 
of a culture of democracy, which must be reduced if democracy were truly to 
be strengthened and political stability ensured in that country, which seemed 
to have gone from one crisis to another since the restoration of democracy 
(A/55/335, para. 29).
35. A disturbing element of this polarization is the widely held perception 
among opponents of Fanmi Lavalas - shared by many former supporters - that 
the party might establish a dictatorial and repressive regime if, as is 
widely expected, Mr. Aristide once again assumes the presidency. On the other 
hand, it is very evident that Mr. Aristide enjoys the loyalty of broad 
sectors of the urban and rural poor. The disinclination of the parties to 
work towards a compromise is a fundamental cause of the polarization. 
36. The negative perception of Mr. Aristide's party seems to be a factor in 
the opposition's reluctance to enter into a dialogue. Many in the opposition 
seem to hope that, under the pressure of international isolation and internal 
unrest, Fanmi Lavalas will somehow disintegrate and that compromise is 
therefore unnecessary. The consequences of this attitude can be seen in 
Haiti's political stalemate, soon to enter its fourth year. Its costs can be 
witnessed in the increasingly desperate situation of the country's poor, 
unprotected from the impact of external factors, such as rising oil prices 
and some aspects of globalization. 
37. In my previous report, I stressed the fact that Haitian authorities had 
flouted the views of OAS, the International Organization of la Francophonie, 
CARICOM, bilateral partners, domestic electoral monitors and other civil 
society groupings, as well as the United Nations, in particular the concern 
of members of the Security Council. In refusing to recalculate the erroneous 
Senate results, some Haitian leaders have violated basic norms of democratic 
governance and fair play. In recent weeks, as opportunity after opportunity 
to reach common ground has been missed, there have been suggestions by 
critics that these leaders are further isolating Haiti, and ensuring it 
pariah status. This isolation is apt to grow, as a Parliament has been seated 
whose legitimacy is in doubt, rendering unlikely the early resumption of 
international assistance.
38. A further indication of the deteriorating political situation is the 
charge that high-ranking officers within HNP were plotting a coup d'état, 
although evidence has not been presented. Already demoralized by poor working 
conditions and a climate of impunity, HNP is increasingly the target of those 
who would use the force for their own political ends. It bears recalling that 
public security is central to the lives of all citizens and that an 
independent police force, which respects the rights of citizens, is 
indispensable to any democratic society.
39. It was with considerable reluctance that the United Nations withdrew the 
team of experts which was providing technical assistance to CEP, after 
supporting for several years Haiti's efforts to ensure conditions adequate to 
the free exercise of the franchise. This most recent technical assistance 
project began nearly one year ago, and was expected to last through the 
presidential elections scheduled for the end of 2000. It aimed also to train 
a new Permanent Electoral Council, which will be charged with organizing 
elections over the next decade. After intensive examination of Haiti's 
current electoral council and its practice, it was decided that requisite 
standards had not been met, necessitating the withdrawal of United Nations 
40. While denying the Government direct international assistance, so as to 
send a political message, Haiti's bilateral donors hope to avoid hurting the 
Haitian population by channelling aid through non?governmental organizations. 
However, directly or indirectly, the Haitian economy and population will 
inevitably suffer. The swings of international assistance from government to 
non-governmental organizations and back, according to the legitimacy of the 
government of the day, have disrupted long-term development in the past. 
Assistance provided through non-governmental organizations may partially 
alleviate hardship but the Government is a necessary partner for poverty 
reduction and health programmes. Likewise, the kinds of programmes needed to 
revive development - such as infrastructural projects and schemes to 
reinforce the police and overhaul the judicial system - require strong, 
governmental measures. Furthermore, the failure of the Haitian authorities to 
address the concerns of the political parties and the international community 
has so far prevented Haiti from regaining access to the international 
financial assistance that has been suspended for the past three years. These 
factors, and the overall political crisis, have been largely responsible for 
the fall in the gourde, which has hit the poor hard by triggering a rapid 
rise in the price of foodstuffs and other basic commodities.
41. In the absence of any solution to the crisis, popular discontent seems 
likely to mount in response to the rising prices and increasing poverty, and 
may lead to further turmoil. A combination of rampant crime, violent street 
protests and incidents of violence targeted at the international community 
could severely limit the ability of MICAH to fulfil its mandate. Its capacity 
to function effectively has already been adversely affected by the withdrawal 
or reduction of once-important bilateral programmes of assistance in the 
areas of justice and public security. At bottom, MICAH support is contingent 
upon legitimate counterparts who enjoy the esteem of the Haitian people and 
that of the international community. 
42. In this climate of political turmoil and instability, and with national 
counterparts often lacking or distracted by political concerns, it will be 
necessary to devise new forms of technical assistance that might better allow 
the United Nations system to continue supporting the Haitian people. It is my 
view, therefore, in the light of the conditions in Haiti, that a renewal of 
the mandate of MICAH is not advisable, and it is with regret that I recommend 
that the Mission be terminated when its mandate draws to an end on 6 February 
2001. In preparation, discussions have already commenced among UNDP, MICAH 
and the Friends of the Secretary-General for Haiti, in consultation with 
other members of the United Nations system, with the aim of designing a 
programme of assistance to the Haitian people that is commensurate with the 
country's political realities and absorption capacity. 
43. Overall, it is imperative that the country's political leaders and civil 
society engage in a constructive dialogue so as to address the needs of one 
of the most impoverished populations in the world and create an enabling 
environment for international financial and developmental assistance. I 
hardly need emphasize that a well-functioning, multi-party system is 
essential to democratic governance. Political turmoil has produced plummeting 
economic indicators, which in turn has led to a deteriorating security 
situation. Firm action to stop this downward spiral is long overdue. It 
should be emphasized that, in the absence of such steps, the misery of 
Haiti's long-suffering poor majority will only be exacerbated.
44. The Friends of the Secretary-General for Haiti deserve gratitude for 
their advice and cooperation, which have been a key element throughout United 
Nations activities in Haiti. I shall count on their counsel in the future. I 
am grateful to the Member States which have contributed to the Trust Fund for 
MICAH - Canada, Norway and the United States of America. I would like to 
commend the efforts of my representative, Alfredo Lopes Cabral and all MICAH 
personnel, for their work in difficult and challenging circumstances.