The UN will vote on the suppression of small arms from gangs in Haiti

THE UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council has scheduled a vote Friday on a resolution that calls on all countries to stop the transfer of small arms and light weapons and ammunition to any party supporting gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti. , which has seen an upsurge in bloodshed and kidnappings.

The US-Mexico draft does not include an arms embargo as China wanted. Other board members said an embargo would be unenforceable.

The back and forth took place during negotiations on a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN political mission in Haiti. The council’s preclearance for the mission expires Friday.

The U.S.-Mexico draft resolution, put into final form Thursday evening, would express the council’s willingness to impose sanctions that could include travel bans and asset freezes “if necessary” on those involved in or supporting the violence. gangs, criminal activities or human rights violations in Haiti. This language is weaker than China’s proposal, which included a timeframe.

The draft also makes no mention of China’s call for Secretary General Antonio Guterres to discuss with various parties the possibility of creating a regional police unit to help Haitian police combat gang violence. Instead, the U.S.-Mexico draft would ask Guterres to consult with the Haitian government, “concerned countries” and regional organizations on “possible options to address high levels of gang violence” and submit a report of here on October 15th.

With the looming end of the UN political mission’s mandate, the 15-member council sparred this week over the wording of the new resolution needed to extend the mission. The United States and Mexico drafted the initial proposal, and China on Thursday proposed revisions backed by its ally Russia.

Among China’s proposals, Guterres was to discuss the possibility of “deploying a multinational police unit” to Haiti. China said it could operate in close coordination with the UN political mission “to support the efforts of the Haitian police in the fight against gang violence in order to establish and maintain public security and the public order and to promote and protect human rights”.

The original US-Mexico draft called for strengthening the UN mission to include up to 42 police and corrections advisers, led by a UN police commissioner, and staff to ensure the sexual and gender-based violence is addressed.

When the current resolution extending the UN mission was passed in October, Haiti had been grappling with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people in August, and the escalation of gang-related killings, kidnappings and turf wars. .

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

This week, officials in the Haitian capital reported that dozens of people had died following days of fighting between rival gangs in the violent neighborhood of Cité Soleil. Doctors Without Borders said thousands of people were stranded in the district without clean water, food and medical care.

A spokesperson for China’s UN mission said Thursday that an arms embargo on criminal gangs was “the minimum” the council should do in response to the appalling situation in Haiti.

“Anything short of this not only disappoints the Haitian people, but also means a lost opportunity for the Security Council,” said the spokesperson, who commented only on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for the Russian UN mission said that “given the situation in Haiti, we believe that we must be given the opportunity to make changes to the mission’s mandate.”

The United Nations has been involved in Haiti on and off since 1990, and the last United Nations peacekeeping mission was in the country from 2004 to October 2017. The political mission currently there advises the Haitian government. on “promoting and strengthening political stability and good governance”. including the implementation of the rule of law, an inclusive national dialogue and the protection and protection of human rights.

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