15 July 2022
The situation in Haiti (BINUH).
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) until 15 July 2023, deciding that its police and corrections unit will include up to 42 civilian and seconded personnel serving as advisers, and that its human rights unit will include dedicated capacity to address sexual and gender-based violence.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2645 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2645(2022)), the Council reiterated the need for all Haitian stakeholders to reach an urgent agreement on a sustainable, time-bound and commonly accepted framework for a Haitian-led political process, allowing for the conduct of inclusive, peaceful, free, fair and transparent legislative and presidential elections, “as soon as security conditions and logistical preparations permit”. It requested the Government to provide an update on these matters by 17 October.
On the security front, the Council called on Member States to prohibit the transfer of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to non-State actors engaged in or supporting gang violence, criminal activities or human rights abuses in Haiti. It encouraged them to cooperate in preventing illicit arms trafficking and diversion, including by providing and exchanging timely and updated information, in order to identify and combat illicit trafficking sources and supply chains.
Council members also demanded an immediate cessation of gang violence and criminal activities. They expressed their readiness to take appropriate measures, as necessary, that could include assets freeze or travel ban measures against those engaged in or supporting gang violence, criminal activities or human rights abuses — or who otherwise undermine the security of Haiti and the region — within 90 days from the adoption of today’s resolution.
Jeffrey DeLaurentis (United States) said the resolution submitted by his delegation and Mexico is based on Secretary-General’s recommendations and aims to ensure the United Nations has the mandate it needs. BINUH will continue its critical advisory efforts, enhancing the capacity of the Haitian National Police to address gang violence and protect human rights. The text also addresses illegal arms trafficking and illicit financial flows. Coordinated support from the international community remains essential for promoting stability, he said, stressing that it is “long past time” for Haiti’s stakeholders to reach agreement on a political framework that allows for the conduct of presidential legislative elections, when conditions permit.
Zhang Jun (China), noting that the situation in Haiti is one of the most complicated and intractable challenges on the Council’s agenda, recalled that the United Nations began its engagement in the 1990s. However, Haiti today is hardly in any better shape, instead caught in a more severe crisis. Anyone who cares about Haitians — and the reputation of the United Nations — will have great concerns over this. Recalling that the Council in October 2021 requested the Secretary-General to assess the BINUH mandate, he said Haiti’s State institutions are paralysed and the country has fallen into a security vacuum, amid gang violence and economic strife, demonstrating that an adjustment of mandate is imperative. Gang clashes broke out during the Council’s consultations on the text, worsening the situation to an “appalling state”.
He said meaningful action is long overdue. Taking into account the Secretary-General’s recommendations, the aspirations of the Haitian people and concerns of Haiti’s neighbours, China put forward feasible proposals to advance the political process, step up police capacity and strengthen port and border measures, and he welcomed the positive attitude of the co-sponsors in this regard.
He described the resolution as having room for improvement, but nonetheless “a right step in the right direction”, as it sets clear expectations on Haitian authorities and political leaders, who must bear in mind the interests of the people, immediately end the senseless political strife, engage in dialogue on the transitional period and create the conditions for the early holding of general elections. He pressed interim Government leaders to exhibit greater urgency to advance the political process and report progress to the Council before 17 October.
Meanwhile, he said gangsters must immediately stop their violence, criminal activities and occupation of public facilities — or the Council will soon impose sanctions, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to hold them and their supporters accountable. The resolution confers a stronger mandate on BINUH, requiring it take on greater responsibilities and he expressed hope the Special Representative of the Secretary-General will follow the “Haitian-led and Haitian‑owned” principle in leading the mission with impartiality and do the utmost to push for inclusive dialogue. The Secretary-General, as mandated, must consult with Haitian and regional organizations with a view to making recommendations on how to help Haiti “fight the gangs”.
He went on to stress that Haiti is not a producer of weapons. Yet, the weapons used by gangs out-compete those used by the national police in terms of quantity and quality — meaning that weapons trafficking is a source of the violence. Therefore, countries should help Haiti strengthen its security capabilities. They must work together in banning the participation of their citizens in trafficking of arms to Haiti and preventing their territories from being used for such purposes. “This is a necessary step,” he insisted, expressing regret that the resolution fails to provide for this in the strongest terms. He urged all countries to strengthen arms export controls, noting that China will work with relevant countries to push for greater Security Council efforts in this direction.
Martin Kimani (Kenya), noting that today’s changes to the mandate were informed by the independent assessment report, said his delegation looks forward to the Secretary-General’s report by 15 October on how better to combat gang violence in Haiti. He urged regional countries and organizations to help Haiti combat illicit arms and finance flows, stressing that Haitians are facing profoundly serious challenges, most immediately, gang violence. The solution requires a stable Government based on strong institutions, however, “this is what Haiti today lacks”, he said, in part due to a lack of unity on an inclusive vision of Haiti’s future. He said Kenyans understand how difficult it is to sustain a competent Government while working to overcome poverty, foreign intervention and transnational criminality that has a political dimension. They have experience in pulling their country “back from brink of collapse”, using dialogue to arrive at a vision of the future, building a Government of national unity, taking constitutional reforms and holding democratic elections. Kenya is ready to share its experiences.
Recalling that Haiti’s “magnificent” revolution in 1791 struck the first critical blow to the mass enslavement of African peoples, and the colonial tyranny and racism it was founded upon, he said “Africa owes you every support. Kenya is ready to act on this obligation.” He urged the United Nations to always be guided by the conviction that Haiti has the ability to obtain stability. Such faith will allow it to promote the right kind of support, he said, underscoring Kenya’s respect for the sovereignty and political independence of Haiti and its people.
Dmitry A. Polyanskiy (Russian Federation), recalling that agreeing on the draft resolution “was not simple for any members of the Council”, said the problem is that “words do not match actions”. Despite statements on the importance of reaching a political solution, there has been no readiness to incite Haitian players to organize a dialogue towards this end. The same applies to countering the out-of-control flow of weapons into the country, where claims about the unacceptable nature of the flow are not matched by the desire to do anything to address it. In countries like Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic, however, “there we see attempts to hang on to sanctions regimes at all costs” despite such measures impeding the equipping of law-and-order forces. “What is this if not a double standard?”, he asked. As increasingly loud Haitian voices are asserting that BINUH is part of the problem, he stressed that the mission’s main task is to help establish political dialogue. The Council must ensure that its decisions allow Haitians to resolve their issues on their own.
Felix Osei Boateng (Ghana) said his delegation supported the mandate renewal, as it allows for continued United Nations support in addressing the dire political, security and economic situation in Haiti, particularly the restoration of public law and order. While differences among Council members persist regarding the measures needed to eradicate gang violence and other threats to peace, the Council must send a strong, unified message and ensure its unwavering commitment to Haiti’s stability and proper functioning. He expressed hope that the resolution will provide a basis for the Council to explore additional pragmatic steps to help the Haitian authorities preserve peace and stability.
Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico) said the Council has sent a clear message to Haitian political stakeholders on the urgent need to reach an agreement that will facilitate the resumption of dialogue and return of institutional order. Haiti will have to report on progress made within a reasonable timeframe. He highlighted the text’s call for all countries to prohibit the transfer of arms to gangs and criminal groups, stressing that these arms perpetuate the cycle of violence. Further, the Haitian National Police require international support, and the resolution urges States to contribute to the basket fund for projects relating to security. While the Council has sent a message of solidarity with the Haitian Government and people, it is not ruling out the possibility of adopting additional measures “in the fairly near future” should circumstances make them necessary.
Ronaldo Costa Filho (Brazil), Council President for July, speaking in his national capacity, expressed hope that the resolution allows BINUH to have increased financial means and better tools to help Haiti. Brazil deployed tens of thousands of “blue helmets” over 13 years to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Since then, Brazil has provided bilateral assistance and developed cooperation projects, which led to the conclusion of three reference hospitals and inauguration of a training centre.
From the outset, Brazil has emphasized the paramount need to reinforce BINUH in terms of security, capacity and resources, to help it control gang violence and reinstate a minimum level of governance. While more could have been done if the Council had more time for debate, he expressed hope that the text will foster positive developments. “Haiti needs to stay at the forefront of our attention,” he said, urging the Council to follow new developments, while carefully considering the need for new measures.
The text includes provisions that require further debate before their implementation. While prohibiting the transfer of small arms and light weapons to non-State actors may be an important measure to curb violence, a monitoring mechanism might be needed to ensure its effectiveness. On the imposition of measures against those involved in violence, including an asset freeze and travel ban, he called for developing monitoring mechanisms, listing criteria and humanitarian exemptions and carve-outs, describing these parameters as essential in order to apply such measures in an effective and responsible.
Such measures, if adopted, must not have adverse humanitarian consequences for civilians, he said, citing the traumatic measures imposed in past decades. It is unfortunate that a “legal scrubbing” on the possible use of sanctions was not carried out, and Brazil reserves the right to develop such language in future meetings. His delegation would have appreciated more time to discuss these matters. He pressed Haiti’s authorities to engage in dialogue that allows for a re-establishment of institutional normalcy.
The meeting began at 5:05 p.m. and ended at 5:35 p.m.
United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) website
15 July 2022