At the UN, unrest in Haiti and Ethiopia sparks global concern
Speeches can be scripted, but the UN General Assembly can sometimes be the only direct window into regional challenges that are of global concern.
On Saturday, world leaders spoke on behalf of some of today’s most volatile and troubling conflicts. This includes India’s struggle for the Kashmir region with its bitter rival Pakistan, Haiti’s internal crises escalating into a migration crisis on the US-Mexico border and questions about the role of the Ethiopian government in the starvation deaths reported in the Tigray region.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been quick to address his country’s turmoil following a major earthquake and the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moise, in recent months – hinting but not directly address information that could implicate Henry himself in the murder.
“I want to reaffirm here, at this podium, my determination to do everything to find the collaborators, accomplices and sponsors of this heinous crime. Nothing, absolutely nothing, no political maneuvering, no media campaign, no distraction, could distract me from this goal: to bring justice to President Moise,” Henry said in a pre-recorded speech.
“It’s a debt to his memory, his family and the Haitian people,” Henry said. “The judicial investigation is going with difficulty. It is a transnational crime. And for that, we formally request mutual legal assistance. This is a priority of my government for the whole nation. Because this crime cannot go unpunished and the culprits, all the culprits must be punished.
The statement comes days after Henry sacked his chief prosecutor, who had asked a judge to charge Henry with the murder of Moise which shocked the world and to ban the prime minister from leaving the country.
Haiti’s problems have extended beyond its borders, with thousands of migrants fleeing to the United States. This week, the Biden administration’s special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned in protest against large-scale “inhumane” US deportations of Haitian migrants. Foote was not appointed to the post until July, after the assassination.
Henry pointedly said that inequality and conflict are driving migration. But he refrained from directly criticizing Washington, whose treatment of Haitian asylum seekers has caused an outcry.
Human beings, fathers and mothers who have children, will always run away from poverty and conflict,” Henry said. “Migration will continue as long as the planet has two rich areas, while most of the world’s population will live in poverty, even extreme poverty, without any prospect of a better life.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has largely avoided his country’s regional conflict, making only what appeared to be a passing reference to Kashmir, channeling his comments through the prism of the Afghan crisis.
Modi, who has spent part of the week meeting with US officials to boost ties in the Indo-Pacific, was measured in his recoil from the scathing – albeit predictable – rhetoric from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who had landed a few hours earlier.
Modi called on the international community to help Afghanistan’s women, children and minorities and said it was imperative that the country not be used as a base from which to sow terror.
“We must also be vigilant and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said in an apparent reference. in Pakistan, wedged between Afghanistan and India. .
On Friday, Khan had once again called Modi’s Hindu nationalist government “fascist” and railed against India’s crackdown on Kashmir, the disputed region divided between each country but claimed by both.
The Indian government has raised concerns that the chaos left over from the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan and fuel the long-simmering insurgency in Kashmir, where militants have already gained a foothold.
Ethiopia was due to speak later on Saturday and is facing the pressure of global concern for its Tigray region. The UN has warned of famine in Ethiopia’s beleaguered northern corner, calling it the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade. Starvation deaths have been reported since the government imposed what the UN calls “a de facto blockade of humanitarian aid” in June.