H.E. MR. KENZO OSHIMA
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Question Concerning Haiti
12 JANUARY 2005
Let me say first of all that as one of the new elected members of the Security Council, along with Argentina, Japan looks forward to working closely with the delegation of Argentina as well as other members of the Council in the coming months. Let me also say that my delegation feels privileged to see the distinguished Foreign Minister of Argentina presiding over today's meeting. We commend the strong commitment and active ceaseless efforts of the countries of Latin America and the Organization of American States in taking the lead to deal with the situation in Haiti, which is today's agenda. And I thank the Special Representative, Ambassador Valdés, for his comprehensive, enlightening briefing. We commend the efforts of Ambassador Valdés and his team in the multi-faceted Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, for securing safety and promoting stability and undertaking many activities in a variety of areas: humanitarian and electoral support, development aid, civil affairs and others. I also pay respect to all the countries concerned, especially the Latin American countries which have contributed significantly to the Mission in Haiti by providing personnel, technical expertise and financial resources as well as with political and moral support.
The situation in Haiti presents yet another example of countries where the fundamental issue of and the inter-linkage between development and peace arise. A combination of wide-spread poverty and joblessness in society, disease, weak or failing governance and institutions, social injustices, corruption, and so forth, and the resultant sense of frustration, anger, and despair among the population is a certain prescription for tension in the society and political instability, which can eventually blow up in one form or another. And sometimes the situation is made worse, as we have seen in many other countries across the world, by natural disasters of one kind or another - earthquakes, drought, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis - that will expose and accentuate vulnerabilities and cause what would otherwise be avoidable damage, suffering and misery. International sympathy and assistance is needed in many of these cases, and needed in time, not after the blowout. Prevention is wiser than the cure and it is less painful and often less costly.
I had a chance myself to pay a visit in Haiti in mid-2003 when I was still in the service of the United Nations in its humanitarian arm. By early 2003, it was already recognized in the international aid community in Haiti that the situation in the country might be quickly reaching an extremely dangerous stage. Early warnings of possible impending crisis went, unfortunately, largely unheeded by the United Nations and the international donor community, and little concrete action was taken until the crisis had materialized. Haiti should serve as yet another good lesson for the future more generally as we ask some relevant questions such as: How can we set up a more effective early warning mechanism as part of the efforts aimed at conflict prevention and prevention of a recurrence of crisis? What sort of preventive measures can be realistically taken by the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular? How best are we able to organize ourselves to undertake those activities? The report of the High-Level Panel commissioned by the Secretary-General offers some clues and some ideas which this organization is soon going to address in a serious way, and we hope important steps forward will be taken as a result.
Having said that, Mr. President,
We welcome the efforts of the transitional government of Haiti to stabilize its political situation with the support of the international community. Japan would also like to commend the proactive steps taken by MINUSTAH and the transitional government of Haiti to improve particularly the security situation, including their recent joint operations in Port-au-Prince and other areas, and we expect that such initiatives will continue.
Progress in Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration is manifestly important not least for the success of the forthcoming national and local elections, and while we welcome the statement of Prime Minister Latortue to move on this issue, we would like to call upon the transitional government to make strong efforts to be proactive in this area, making use of the support of MINUSTAH.
It is of great significance that the Haitian people take steps towards promoting a process of constructive national dialogue, with a full sense of ownership, to create a more stable political environment. The transitional government is expected to continue to call for national reconciliation and promote quick impact projects. For the mid to long term, political and economic restructuring and corruption prevention measures as well as development policy measures that contribute to the improvement of people's lives should be vigorously pursued. This will be the surest way for the government to follow to gain the broad support of the people. From this point of view, the support of the Special Representative and MINUSTAH is critically important. We call for their active initiative in this matter. At the same time, we remain concerned about the arbitrary detention of people solely on the grounds of their political affiliation, as the report of the Secretary-General points out. We believe it is neither advisable nor condonable, as such action will not serve to facilitate the national dialogue and is in direct contravention of fundamental human rights principles.
The consolidation of peace in Haiti requires not only national dialogue but also an improved humanitarian and economic environment. For the success of the forthcoming elections, the prompt disbursement of the funds pledged at the International Donor Conference on Haiti held last July is also essential. All three of the projects in the areas of health, food and agriculture pledged by Japan have already been implemented. The total assistance extended by Japan to date to Haiti in development aid, technical assistance and emergency relief amounts to over 160 million dollars. The international community may rest assured that Japan will never falter in its efforts to help Haiti and its people.
Thank you, Mr. President.