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Monday, January 30, 2023

UN Security Council ‘Alarmed’ Over Haiti Gang Violence, Imposes Ban on Sale of Small Arms

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HAITI: The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to urgently impose a ban on some weapon sales to Haiti on Friday after receiving concerning reports of deadly gang violence in the country.

The resolution is moved to call upon every UN member-state in the Council to prohibit the commercial exchange of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to what it calls “non-state actors”.

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The UN resolution to prohibit weapons sales, proposed by Mexico and the US, was adopted on Friday. But China’s plea for a full embargo on weapon sales was completely rejected.

Since last week, as many as 89 people have been killed in the Port-au-Prince capital region alone. Aid organisations and agencies say these areas are now highly deadly and volatile and unsafe to access amid raging arson and violence.

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On Saturday, more casualties were reported as the UN said that 234 people were killed or injured in gang violence crossfire from 8-12 July. UN spokesperson Jeremy Laurence said, “Most of the victims were not directly involved in gangs and were directly targeted by gang elements.” He added that his office also received reports of sexual violence and abuse.

The resolution passed ensures sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezing against Haiti’s gang leaders and human rights abuses. It has also extended the mandate of a special UN political envoy to Haiti for another year.

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Gang violence in the country has been rampant, and consistent since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by mercenaries nearly a year ago.

One of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti grapples with its reality as hundreds of protestors set the streets on fire with burning tyres and blocked roads demanding an urgent supply of petrol. But petrol is hard to come by since Haiti’s main fuel terminal, the Varreux terminal in the rundown Cité Soleil area, suspended operations last week after a sweep of raging gang violence.

Adding to the civil war-like situation is mounting poverty and starvation in the country leading to the mass exodus of many Haitians forced to flee their own homes and escape to the Dominican Republic and the US.

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