UN Council urges halt to small arms reaching Haiti gangs

Jul 14, 2022, 9:12 AM | Updated: Jul 15, 2022, 3:18 pm

A motorcycle taxi driver carries clients past a burning barricade set by taxi drivers to protest th...

A motorcycle taxi driver carries clients past a burning barricade set by taxi drivers to protest the country's fuel shortage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

(AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday that calls on all countries to stop the transfer of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to any party in crisis-torn Haiti supporting gang violence and criminal activity.

Haiti is experiencing escalating bloodshed and kidnappings by criminal gangs, and China had proposed a rival text that would have authorized a U.N. arms embargo on the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. But other council members said an embargo would be unenforceable.

The resolution drafted by the United States and Mexico that was approved on a 15-0 vote Friday does demand an immediate cessation of gang violence and criminal activities, as China wanted.

It also expresses the council’s readiness to impose sanctions that could include travel bans and assets freezes “as necessary” on individuals engaged in or supporting gang violence, criminal activity or human rights violations in Haiti within 90 days of the resolution’s adoption. That language is weaker than China’s proposal, which called for action within 30 days.

The back and forth came in negotiations over a resolution to extend the mandate for the U.N. political mission in Haiti. The council’s previous authorization for the mission expired Friday.

The U.S.-Mexico resolution extends the mission, known as BINUH, until July 15, 2023. China wanted an extension until Oct. 15, 2023.

U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills said the resolution sponsored with Mexico will allow the U.N. mission to “continue its critical advisory efforts in support of facilitating political dialogue, enhancing the capacity of the Haitian National Police to address gang violence and protecting human rights.”

China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, said the resolution could have been stronger, but called it “a right step in the right direction” in warning Haiti’s gangs.

“The gangsters must immediately stop violence and criminal activities and the occupation of public facilities and roads, and seas, all acts of human rights violations,” Zhang added.

The adopted resolution, put in final form late Thursday, makes no mention of China’s call for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss with various parties possibly establishing “a multinational police unit” to help Haitian police tackle gang violence.

Instead, it asks Guterres to consult with Haiti’s government, “relevant countries” and regional organizations on “possible options for enhanced security support … to combat high levels of gang violence” and to submit a report by Oct. 15.

The resolution adopted Friday retained the original U.S.-Mexico draft’s call for beefing up the U.N. mission to include up to 42 police and corrections department advisers, led by a U.N. police commissioner, and staff to ensure that sexual and gender-based violence are addressed.

When the current resolution extending the U.N. mission was adopted in October, Haiti had been contending with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed over 2,200 people in August, and escalating gang-related killings, kidnappings and turf wars.

A year after Moïse’s assassination, gang violence is even worse, and Haiti has gone into a freefall that has seen the economy tumble and many Haitians flee the country to escape the turmoil. At the same time, attempts to form a coalition government have faltered, and efforts to hold general elections have stalled.

This week, officials in Haiti’s capital reported that dozens of people had died as a result of days of fighting between rival gangs in the violent Cite Soleil neighborhood. Doctors Without Borders said thousands of people were trapped in the district without drinking water, food and medical care.

The resolution approved Friday expresses “grave concern about the extremely high levels of gang violence and other criminal activities, including kidnappings and homicides, and sexual and gender-based violence, as well as ongoing impunity for perpetrators, and the implications of Haiti’s situation in the region.”

It notes “with deep concern the protracted and deteriorating political, economic, security, human rights and food security crisis in Haiti.”

The resolution urges the government to strengthen the rule of law, tackle social and economic problems, initiate violence reduction programs, singling out the need to target sexual violence and manage weapons and ammunition. It also calls for the illicit trafficking and diversion of arms and illicit financial flows to be urgently addressed.

The United Nations has been involved in Haiti on and off since 1990, and the last U.N. peacekeeping mission was in the country from 2004 until October 2017. The political mission now there advises Haiti’s government on “promoting and strengthening political stability and good governance,” including the implementing the rule of law, inclusive national dialogue and protecting and protection of human rights.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - President Donald Trump sits at his desk after a meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, left,...

Associated Press

Trump campaigns after indictment unsealed | Live updates

MIAMI (AP) — Follow along for live updates on classified documents at his Florida estate. The indictment marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw. Trump faces the possibility of prison if convicted. ___ What to know: — A timeline of events […]

2 days ago

FILE - In this file photo, a GameStop sign is displayed above a store in Urbandale, Iowa, on Jan. 2...

Associated Press

GameStop terminates CEO, former Amazon executive brought for modernization

Shares of GameStop are plunging before the opening bell after the company fired CEO Matthew Furlong, the former Amazon executive that was brought in two years ago to turn the struggling video game retailer around.

2 days ago

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Altman on T...

Associated Press

OpenAI CEO suggests international agency like UN’s nuclear watchdog could oversee AI

Artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity, a key innovator warned during a visit to the United Arab Emirates

3 days ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

4 days ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

5 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

UN Council urges halt to small arms reaching Haiti gangs