Issued on: Changed:
United Nations (United States) (AFP) – On Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed on a regime of sanctions against the gangs terrorizing the population of Haiti – including the freezing of the assets of a powerful gang leader.
The council has been debating for two weeks how best to deal with a spreading health and safety crisis in America’s poorest country battling a fast-growing cholera outbreak.
After failing to reach a consensus on sending an international force to the crisis-hit country, members on Friday passed a resolution directly targeting the gangs who have taken control of the main port and blocked fuel shipments to have.
It includes a year-long freeze on all economic resources owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by Jimmy Cherizier, nicknamed “Barbecue,” leader of the “G90 Family and Allies” gang group blockading the main oil terminal in the poorest country in America.
The resolution called for an “immediate end to violence, criminal activity and human rights abuses” in Haiti, including kidnappings, sexual violence, human trafficking and the gang recruitment of children.
The council also called for a one-year travel ban on people suspected of being involved in gang activities in Haiti, as well as a ban on access to arms and ammunition.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned this week that the deterioration in Haiti’s security and health environment as gangs expand their control has resulted in “an absolutely nightmarish situation”.
I’m talking about something that needs to be done on the basis of strict humanitarian criteria, regardless of the political dimensions of the problem, that needs to be solved by the Haitians themselves,” Guterres said.
He warned that the gangs’ control of the port and the fuel blockade could worsen the cholera outbreak by preventing the distribution of water, since the most important treatment for cholera is hydration.
“This resolution is a first response to the calls for help from the Haitian people,” U.S. Envoy to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement welcoming its passage.
Cholera cases close to 1,000
Cherizier, a former police officer, is the only person connected to the gang named in the resolution.
“Jimmy Cherizier has engaged in acts that threaten the peace, security and stability of Haiti and has planned, directed or committed acts that constitute gross human rights violations,” the document said.
It listed a number of his alleged actions, including taking part – as an officer with the Haitian National Police – in a 2018 attack on civilians in the Port-au-Prince slum called La Saline, which left at least 71 people dead and 400 homes destroyed .
During that year and the next, he led his group in “coordinated, brutal” attacks in areas of the capital, it said.
And the resolution says Cherizier and his gang have been blocking supplies from Haiti’s largest fuel terminal since October 11 this year.
“His actions have directly contributed to the economic paralysis and humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” the resolution said.
Hundreds of suspected cholera cases have been registered in Haiti since the beginning of the month – raising fears of a devastating resurgence of the disease in the Caribbean nation.
Data from the Ministry of Health showed 964 suspected cases as of October 19.
Haiti suffered from a cholera epidemic accidentally brought in by UN peacekeepers between 2010 and 2019, killing more than 10,000 people.
© 2022 AFP