UN Security Council continues sanctions and arms embargo on Haiti for another year News
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UN Security Council continues sanctions and arms embargo on Haiti for another year

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution renewing sanctions, an arms embargo, a travel ban and an asset freeze on Haiti. These measures were initially adopted in October 2022 to address the increasing gang violence, criminal activity and deteriorating political, economic, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country.

Under the 2022 Resolution, Member States were mandated to prevent exit from, and transit through, their countries of certain designated individuals. Member states were also directed to prevent direct and indirect supply and sale of small arms, light weapons and ammunitions. The asset freeze provision directed member states to freeze all funds and economic resources belonging to or controlled by designated individuals, in their territory. The asset freeze provision was later superseded by another resolution, which stated that the provision of funds and resources for the purpose of humanitarian assistance are not a violation. The Security Council Committee concerning Haiti designated individuals that are subject to sanction measures and oversaw the implementation the UNSC Resolution. The present Resolution extends these measures and directs the Committee to update the list of designated individuals.

The UNSC previously extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH) in Haiti until 15 July 2024. The BINUH was first established in 2019 to assist the Haitian government in conducting free and fair elections, to advise them on good governance and upholding of the rule of law, adopting an inclusive approach to end gang violence, and address the human rights situation in the country.

The BINUH published its Report of the Secretary General earlier this week, highlighting areas on concern in Haiti and steps taken to ameliorate these concerns. It noted the increase in violent crimes like indiscriminate killings, murders, and rapes, which has pushed youth to join neighborhood gangs; the projected homicide ratio for 2023 is 38.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. The justice system has been plagued by prolonged and arbitrary pretrial detentions. The increase in gang violence and recruitment of child gang members has been especially concerning, due to its impact on realization of social, economic, cultural rights, as well as freedom of movement. School-going children have been traumatized as a result of attacks on schools, frequent detonations and fires, and witnessing the death of loved ones.

On October 2, the UNSC had authorized the formation of Multinational Security Support to assist in the establishment of security conditions and ensure strict compliance with international law and human rights obligations of Haiti. The Multinational Security Support will assist the Haitian National Police in reduction of violence and capacity building measures. It will coordinate and cooperate with the BINUH to create a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections.