Multiple Calls for UN Sanctions Against Haitian Gangs
Haiti is currently experiencing safety and security issues due to violent gangs. These gangs have the country in a vice grip with security authorities failing to inhibit violence. President Joe Biden’s administration is seeking to enact sanctions against the gangs, their leaders, and those who fund them. This would be done in collaboration with the United Nations Security Council which discussed the issue on Monday, September 26th.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols, said that those who facilitated and benefitted from Haitian gangs are “in the crosshairs, and their actions to destabilize Haiti will be met with international travel and financial sanctions.” Haiti’s Foreign Minister agreed with this sentiment. “This is a real step in the right direction to bring an end to the phenomenon of insecurity in the country,” Jean Victor Geneus said at the council meeting.
Mexico and China have supported the imposition of sanctions against gangs. “Council Resolution 2645 expresses its readiness to take appropriate measures that could include asset freeze or travel ban measures against those engaged in or supporting gang violence,” said China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Geng Shuang. “Given the current situation in the country, it is necessary for the council to translate this readiness into action.” He further called on the UN’s Haitian mission to submit a list of all known gangs and their leaders.
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The Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, Juan Ramo de la Fuente, spoke out against the violence in Haiti and the smuggling of guns into the country. “An end must be brought to the illicit trafficking of weapons which are used by gangs and criminal groups to terrorize civilians,” Ramirez said. “We must punish all those protagonists involved in their sale, distribution, and purchase.”
The capital city, Port au Prince, has been taken over by gangs. The city is estimated to have close to 200 gangs armed with an assortment of weapons. The gangs have no hesitation in murdering civilians, journalists, and police officers. According to a UN report, the neighborhood of Cite Soleil saw the deaths of 209 people in a period of ten days in July 2022. This was caused by fighting over territory between rival gangs, G9 and G-Pep.
Haiti’s neighbors have also called for an intervention from the international community. The Dominican Republic has requested the return of a multinational peacekeeping force, making the point that the continued instability in Haiti could lead to a similar situation in the region. A peacekeeping force was present in the country for 13 years before it eventually pulled out in 2017.