Haiti gang violence: UN votes to ban small arms sales

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to ban some weapon sales to Haiti, rocked by deadly gang violence.

The resolution calls on UN member states to prohibit the sale of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to what it calls “non-state actors”.

But a proposal by China for a full embargo on weapon sales was rejected.

Since last week, 89 people have been killed in the Port-au-Prince capital region alone. Aid agencies say many areas are now dangerous to access.

On Saturday, the UN said 234 people were killed or injured by gang violence from 8-12 July.

“Most of the victims were not directly involved in gangs and were directly targeted by gang elements,” UN spokesperson Jeremy Laurence said.

He added that his office had also received reports of sexual violence.

The UN resolution to prohibit weapons sales – proposed by Mexico and the US – was adopted on Friday.

It envisages sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezes against Haiti’s gang leaders and human rights abusers.

It also extends the mandate of the UN special political mission to Haiti for another year.

Gang violence in the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere has shot up since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by mercenaries a year ago.

In recent days, hundreds of protesters have been burning tyres and blocking roads demanding urgent action to restore the supply of petrol.

Haiti’s main fuel terminal had suspended operations during a severe wave of gang violence last week.

The Varreux terminal is in the rundown Cité Soleil area, the scene of battles between two rival gangs, and its closure had caused petrol shortages.

The unrest along with poverty in the country is leading many Haitians to flee to the Dominican Republic and the US.


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