The UN Security Council unanimously threatened on Friday targeted sanctions against criminal gangs and human rights violators in Haiti and called on countries to stop the flow of weapons into the conflict-torn Caribbean country.
Violence has skyrocketed since last year’s assassination of President Jovenel Moise, which created a political vacuum that gangs have used to expand control over territory.
While China voted in favor of the resolution on Friday, which extended a UN political mission in Haiti by 12 months, it expressed disappointment that the 15-member body failed to impose a formal arms embargo on gangs in Haiti.
“We hope this doesn’t send any wrong signals to the gangs,” China’s ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun told the council, adding that Beijing will continue to push for a UN embargo.
China took an unusually active stance in Security Council negotiations on the resolution, drafted by the United States and Mexico.
Much to China’s ire, Haiti has long recognized Taiwan’s sovereignty. Some analysts say that Beijing may see the impending political transition in Haiti as an opportunity to persuade the country to switch its diplomatic ties with China from Taiwan.
“His statement on gangs may be a constructive way to market change…while acknowledging that Chinese companies would operate in Haiti after such a change, and thus have real practical interests in controlling gang violence.” gangs”. said Evan Ellis, a Latin American research professor at the US Army War College.
Zhang said that China’s only interest is to help the Haitian people and the Haitian government.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable today to link the two issues,” he told reporters. “It is true that they have diplomatic ties with Taiwan and we are against it. However, on this issue, that is not the basis of our position.”
The UN political mission in Haiti works with the government to strengthen political stability and good governance, the protection of rights and judicial reform, and to assist with the holding of free and fair elections.
UN peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 after a rebellion led to the overthrow and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Peacekeeping troops left in 2017 and were replaced by UN police, who left in 2019.