I thank Special Envoy Helen La Lime for her presentation.
Her words illustrate the difficult situation experienced by Haitians. Following the expiration of the mandate of the last 10 senators January 9, 2023, the country no longer has any elected officials. The political, socio-economic, humanitarian and security crises are mutually reinforcing. Added to this there is a resurgence of cholera and lack of access to basic services. We would like to express our solidarity with the Haitian people, whose youth is deprived of perspectives. Switzerland has been present in Haiti for a very long time. It has been there during every crisis and will continue to support efforts to improve the situation. Switzerland also supports a national inter-Haitian dialogue that is as inclusive and consensual as possible.
Allow me to highlight the following three points:
First, the security situation in Haiti is alarming due to the constant increase in gang activity that translates into violence against the population. Rapes, sexual violence, murders, robberies, armed attacks and kidnappings are committed daily. We condemn the brutality of this violence, including against children. Furthermore, we condemn the abduction and recruitment of children by criminal gangs. As the Secretary-General's report points out, prevention and protection measures are insufficient. Switzerland would like to reiterate the importance of documenting cases, as Haitian human rights organizations, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are doing. Perpetrators of violence must be held accountable and medical and psychological support for survivors must be reinforced. In the coming months, Switzerland will increase its support to local and international NGOs that provide psychosocial services in certain gang-controlled neighborhoods.
Second, Switzerland welcomes the unity shown by the Security Council in establishing a sanctions regime and the momentum that has recently developed following its implementation. These measures can contribute to the stabilization of the country, to the respect of the rule of law and especially to the fight against impunity and corruption. They must be implemented effectively. To this end, we hope that the Group of Experts will be able to begin its work on the ground quickly. The Council recognized the need for fair and clear procedures and expressed its intention to authorize the Ombudsperson for this purpose.
Third, more than half of the Haitian population lives below the poverty line and an estimated 4.7 million people are acutely food insecure. As a donor, Switzerland supports the World Food Programme and the Peacebuilding Fund, and also contributes directly to organizations in the southern provinces. We are working with authorities at all levels and with local organizations to strengthen social protection, food security, and disaster risk reduction, often exacerbated by climate change, while improving access to water and local governance. We are concerned that access to humanitarian assistance and the safety of humanitarian personnel are severely compromised by gang violence reducing the impact of our efforts and those of our partners.
This Council has shown to be united in its commitment to Haiti and must continue to support the improvement of the situation in Haiti. Switzerland is committed to working with the Haitian people to strengthen good governance at all levels, the rule of law, security, stability and the protection of human rights. Switzerland is also committed to improving the coordination of the response to the multiple needs. We hope that the international community will continue to maintain a presence in Haiti. Switzerland stands ready to support all efforts in this regard.
I thank you.