January 31, 2019
The COVID-19 pandemic is progressing in Haiti, with a total of 596 cases over the past two months. A recent rapid increase in cases has led to a renewed month-long state of health emergency (Nouvelliste). The pandemic has had a particularly devastating effect on women agricultural producers and small agro-entrepreneurs living in rural areas who care for individuals who lack the means to buy protection equipment (Haiti Libre). Over recent months, Haiti has descended into a deepening political crisis, with repeated demonstrations calling for accountability and structural reform, amidst a massive corruption scandal, as well as the President’s resignation. Parliamentary elections set for October 2019 were not held, enabling the President to rule by decree since 13 January 2020. Political instability in Haiti is reinforcing existing vulnerabilities to GBV against women, girls, and gender non-conforming people (OutRight Action Intl., Miami Herald). During its discussion on the situation and consideration of any recent reports, the Security Council should inquire about the extent to which the mission has maintained WPS-related activities following the transition to the new political mission. Briefings should detail ways in which the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) is addressing critical gaps in accountability for GBV, including ensuring the provision of gender-sensitive services for GBV survivors/victims, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by UN peacekeepers and personnel, the establishment of transparent, survivor-centered, readily accessible mechanisms to hear claims for remedies, including claims for child support from UN peacekeepers, and engagement with grassroots women’s organizations who are directly addressing GBV at the local level. BINUH should monitor compliance with Haitian law and the UN’s policies on SEA, particularly in light of the UN’s Victims’ Rights Advocate February report calling for further accountability. The Council should call on BINUH to monitor the implementation of the UN’s New Approach to Cholera (A/71/620) and ensure that the ‘material assistance package’ is gender-sensitive, fully-funded, and ensures women’s participation in its implementation. A meaningful response to cholera should encompass a renewed sense of urgency in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the Council should follow-up on the UN findings regarding the November 2018 massacre in La Saline (UN) and the November 2019 massacre in Bel Air, particularly in regards to GBV and Government efforts to protect and assist displaced individuals, including women. According to local media, survivors/victims are still living in dire conditions without access to food, shelter, health services, or education.