UN Security Council calls on members to stop arming gangs in Haiti

·2-min read

The United Nations Security Council agreed Friday to ask member states to ban the transfer of small arms to Haiti, rocked by deadly gang violence, but stopped short of a full embargo requested by China.

Bloodshed in the Caribbean nation has been soaring -- alongside fuel shortages and rising food prices -- with at least 89 people killed in the Port-au-Prince capital region alone this week. Aid agencies have said many areas are dangerous to access.

The Security Council resolution, put forward by the United States and Mexico, was adopted unanimously. The text calls on UN members to prohibit the transfer of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to non-state actors in Haiti.

It also provides for the Council to impose individual sanctions against gang leaders within 90 days of the resolution's adoption.

China's ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, called the resolution a "warning" to gangs in Haiti and a "step in the right direction."

The Security Council resolution did not mention another Chinese request, that the UN examine the possibility of sending a regional police force to support beleaguered Haitian security forces.

Instead it asks the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to join with regional countries to study options to strengthen security in Haiti, with a report to be submitted on October 15.

It also extended the mandate of the UN's special political mission in Haiti, Binuh, until 2023.

The resolution came after Haiti announced Thursday night a rare seizure of weapons in cargo containers: 18 military grade weapons, four 9mm handguns, 14,646 rounds of ammunition and $50,000 in counterfeit money.

Haitian prosecutors said arrest warrants have been issued against several people suspected of being linked to the cache.

Beijing has taken an increasingly prominent role in issues relating to Haiti at the UN in recent years -- primarily over Haiti's recognition of self-ruled Taiwan, which China views as its own territory.

Beijing denies any link between its stance at the United Nations and the Taiwan issue, however.

Crushing poverty and widespread violence is causing many Haitians to flee to the Dominican Republic, with which Haiti shares a border, or to the United States.

prh/st/caw

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