China on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to try to cut off the supply of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to gangs in Haiti, which has been unable to stem rising criminal violence and kidnappings.
Beijing also called on the council to demand an immediate end to gang violence, criminal activities, roadblocks and the occupation of any public institutions.
He also wants the council to express its willingness to impose additional sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on people who support gang violence or criminal activity, abuse human rights or undermine peace, stability and security in Haiti.
With the mandate of the UN political mission in Haiti ending on Friday, the 15-member council was trying to agree on a new resolution to extend the mission. The resolution was initially drafted by the United States and Mexico, with China proposing revisions supported by its ally Russia.
The revised draft, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, includes another major proposal from China.
It asks UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to consult Haitian authorities, relevant regional countries and regional organizations “on the deployment of a multinational police unit” in Haiti. He would operate in close coordination with the UN political mission “to support Haitian police efforts to combat gang violence in order to establish and maintain public security and public order and to promote and protect human rights.”
The original draft called for reinforcing the UN mission to include up to 42 police and prison department advisers, headed by a UN police commissioner, and staff to ensure sexual and gender-based violence is addressed.
When the current resolution extending the UN mission was adopted in October, Haiti had been dealing with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last July, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people in August, and an escalation in killings. gang-related kidnappings and turf wars. .
A year after Moise’s murder, the gang violence is even worse and Haiti has entered a free fall that has seen the economy plummet 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 been killed as a result of days of clashes between rival gangs in the violent Cite Soleil neighborhood. Doctors Without Borders said thousands of people were trapped in the district without clean water, food and medical care.
A spokesman for the Chinese UN Mission said an arms embargo on criminal gangs is “the least” the council should do in response to the dire situation in Haiti.
“Anything short of that will not only disappoint the Haitian people, but also means a missed opportunity for the Security Council,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other council members said an arms embargo would be unenforceable.
The China-reviewed draft resolution would urge “all Haitian stakeholders,” including the UN mission and the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, regional organization, to agree within six months on a Haitian-led political effort. to celebrate “inclusive, peaceful and free”. fair, just and transparent legislative and presidential elections as soon as security conditions and logistical preparations allow”.
Russia supported China’s call to revise the US-Mexico draft resolution. A spokesman for the Russian Mission to the UN said that “taking into account the situation in Haiti, we believe that we should have the opportunity to make changes to the mandate of the mission.”
The United Nations has been involved in Haiti on and off since 1990, with the last UN peacekeeping mission in the country from 2004 to October 2017. The political mission now advises the Haitian government on “promoting and strengthen political stability and good governance”. including the implementation of the rule of law, inclusive national dialogue and the protection and protection of human rights.
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