April 2024 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action  

In April, the Council will hold its 90-day briefing on the situation in Haiti. Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) María Isabel Salvador will brief the Council on recent political, security, and humanitarian developments in the country and on the Secretary-General’s latest report on BINUH. In addition, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell is expected to brief in her capacity as designated Principal Advocate on Haiti for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the UN’s high-level humanitarian coordination platform. 

Background and Key Recent Developments  

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, Haiti has descended into a multidimensional crisis characterised by political deadlock, extreme violence, and severe humanitarian conditions. The country currently lacks a single democratically elected official, as the caretaker government led by interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry failed to reach a political settlement with opposition groups on the organisation of elections. Amid the impasse, politically connected criminal gangs took over an estimated 80 percent of Port-au-Prince, fuelling unprecedented levels of violence. According to the Secretary-General’s most recent report on BINUH, which was issued on 15 January and focuses on developments since 16 October 2023, the number of reported homicides in Haiti in calendar year 2023 reached nearly 5,000, a 120 percent increase compared with 2022. Meanwhile, 44 percent of the population suffers from acute food insecurity, according to the World Food Programme. 

The country’s already dire situation further deteriorated in late February when gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince began conducting coordinated attacks targeting police stations, prisons, government institutions, and civilian sites. On 2 March, armed gang members raided two penitentiaries, reportedly freeing 4,700 inmates, after which Haitian authorities announced a three-day state of emergency that they subsequently extended until 3 April. Gunmen also tried to seize the city’s main international airport, disrupting air travel, and launched attacks against key government buildings, including the Presidential Palace, the Interior Ministry, and the regional police headquarters. 

According to media reports citing unnamed officials, more than 130 civilians were killed between 27 February and 8 March, and at least 40 gang members were killed between 29 February and 10 March. The violence has displaced nearly 15,000 people in Port-au-Prince and impeded the delivery of humanitarian aid. On 13 March, BINUH announced the establishment of an air bridge between Haiti and the Dominican Republic to ensure the delivery of aid and facilitate the rotation of mission personnel. 

Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier (also known as “Barbeque”) claimed responsibility for the surge in violence. Chérizier, who heads an alliance of gangs called the “G9 Family and Allies”, said in a 29 February video that his goal was to capture Haiti’s police chief and government ministers and to prevent the return of Henry, who had travelled to Kenya to sign an agreement facilitating the deployment of a multinational security support (MSS) mission to help Haiti combat gang violence. In October 2023, the Security Council adopted resolution 2699, authorising the deployment of an MSS mission under Kenya’s leadership, but the operation has been delayed, partly because of a ruling by the High Court of Kenya that said a bilateral security arrangement between the countries was required prior to deployment. 

A noteworthy development related to the recent violence is the apparent cooperation between the G9 gangs and other armed groups, particularly a coalition known as G-Pep, which is the other leading gang alliance in Port-au-Prince and had been the G9’s main rival. In September 2023, the coalitions announced a truce under an initiative called Viv Ansanm (“living together” in Haitian Creole) and reportedly hinted at the possibility of joining forces to confront the MSS mission. While the truce broke down after only a few days, Chérizier referred to Viv Ansanm in his video announcing the latest attacks, indicating that the initiative had been revived as the deployment of the MSS mission appeared to draw closer. While Haitian gang alliances have typically been fragmented and fleeting, a united front could pose a significant challenge to the mission. 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been leading talks with Haitian political actors and international partners in an attempt to find a solution to the country’s political impasse and stem the surge in violence. On 11 March, the organisation held a high-level meeting attended by Haitian stakeholders as well as Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, the US, and the UN. Following the meeting, CARICOM announced an agreement on a transitional governance arrangement, which is reportedly a compromise drawn from the numerous proposals that Haitian groups had submitted to CARICOM. The deal provides for the creation of a Transitional Presidential Council comprising seven voting members and two non-voting observers that will be responsible for appointing a new interim prime minister, preparing the country for the arrival of the MSS mission, and organising long-delayed elections. The council’s seven voting members will be selected from five political parties, a coalition of civic and political groups known as the Montana Accord, and the business community. The two non-voting observers will be drawn from civil society and the religious community. Henry said that he will resign once the council has been installed and has appointed his successor. 

The gang violence appeared to subside immediately after CARICOM’s announcement of the agreement and Henry’s stated intention to resign. Negotiations to implement the deal’s provisions have lagged, however. One of the nine groups invited to join the Transitional Presidential Council, a political party known as Platfòm Pitit Desalin (PPT), led by former senator Jean-Charles Moïse, initially declined to participate in the body. Moïse instead insisted on installing an alternative, three-person presidential council that would include former rebel leader Guy Philippe, who led the 2004 coup that ousted democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and was repatriated to Haiti in November 2023 after serving six years in US federal prison on drug charges. Since his return, Philippe, who is an ally of Moïse and considered close to the gangs, has been rallying public support and calling for Henry’s resignation, but he has rejected any plan brokered by the international community, echoing a position also expressed by Chérizier. Notably, the 11 March agreement prohibits anyone from participating in the presidential council who has been indicted or charged with a crime, who is designated under the Security Council’s 2653 Haiti sanctions regime, or who opposes the MSS mission. 

On 21 March, as gang violence in Port-au-Prince again appeared to be on the rise, media reported that PTT had reversed their decision and agreed to participate in the council after all. While that would complete the composition of the body, it had not yet been formally installed at the time of writing, in part because of concerns about the security of its representatives, some of whom have reportedly received death threats for their participation. On 27 March, the council issued a press statement saying that it had agreed on “criteria and mechanisms” to select its president and appoint a new prime minister and ministerial cabinet, and that it was finalising a document detailing its “mode of operation”. Notably, however, although the body is supposed to comprise nine representatives, the statement was signed only by eight, indicating that challenges to its composition persist. 

Preparations for the MSS mission also remain in flux. After the announcement of the 11 March agreement, Kenyan officials said that the deployment would be put on hold until a new interim prime minister had been appointed; Kenyan President William Ruto, however, later reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the mission. In addition to Haiti’s political situation, another impediment to the MSS mission’s deployment is a lack of resources. The US is the mission’s main financial backer, having previously pledged $200 million in support, but the release of those funds has been held up in the US Congress. Attending the 11 March CARICOM meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $100 million in US support from a funding source that has reportedly already been approved, which may accelerate the deployment timeline. Further, while the US has previously rejected sending its own troops to Haiti, General Laura J. Richardson, Commander of the US Southern Command, said at a 19 March event organised by the Atlantic Council that US forces “could be” part of international security assistance to the country. In late February, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said that five countries—Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, and Chad—had officially notified the UN of their intention to contribute personnel to the mission, as requested by resolution 2699. Additional countries have announced their intention to participate. 

On 6 March, the Security Council convened for a private meeting on Haiti to discuss the latest escalation in gang violence. In a press statement following the meeting, Council members expressed deep concern about the security and humanitarian situation in the country, condemned the “continued destabilizing criminal activities” of armed gangs, and expressed the “expectation and hope” that the MSS mission would be deployed as soon as possible. On 18 March, the Council convened another private meeting on Haiti to receive an update from BINUH and CARICOM on the 11 March agreement. On 21 March, Council members issued another press statement in which they took note of the agreement, reiterated their support for a Haitian-led political process, and again stressed the importance of swiftly deploying the MSS mission. 

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 27 March, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a new report on the human rights situation in Haiti. The report, which covers developments from 25 September 2023 to 29 February 2024, described the situation as “cataclysmic” and said that gang violence had “significantly increased” in intensity and geographic reach over the reporting period: between 1 January and 29 February 2024, OHCHR recorded a total of 2,131 victims of gang violence, a 40% percent increase compared with the two previous months. The report also described widespread sexual violence, forced recruitment of children, and severe restrictions on civilians’ freedom of movement in territories controlled by gangs. It noted that approximately 313,900 people had been internally displaced by the violence as of December 2023, a number that William O’Neill, the UN Expert on Human Rights on Haiti, said had likely risen to nearly 400,000 in a 28 March press conference presenting the report’s findings. 

Sanctions-Related Developments   

On 15 March, the 2653 Haiti Sanctions Committee convened for informal consultations to consider the interim report of its Panel of Experts. The panel has apparently proposed individuals from Haiti’s business community to be designated under the sanctions regime.  

Key Issues and Options    

The key immediate task for the Security Council is to support international and domestic efforts to stabilise Haiti’s political situation and stem the recent surge in gang violence. At April’s briefing, Council members may welcome the 11 March agreement on transitional governance arrangements as an important step towards consolidating political consensus among Haitian leaders, facilitating the deployment of the MSS mission, and, over the longer term, paving the way for national elections to address the root causes of the country’s instability. Members might also underscore the importance of adequately resourcing the MSS mission to enable its rapid deployment and call on the international community to provide sufficient support in this regard.  

Council Dynamics   

Council members are united in their concern about the spiralling situation in Haiti, including the most recent wave of violence, and generally agree on the need for a Haitian-led political solution that addresses both security and socioeconomic challenges.  

Views vary, however, on appropriate action by the international community to support this process. While most Council members support the 11 March agreement and CARICOM’s mediation role that facilitated the deal, Russia apparently questioned the inclusivity of the process during the Council’s 18 March meeting on Haiti, specifically criticising the provision that members of the Transitional Presidential Council must support the MSS mission as interference in Haiti’s domestic affairs. Because of these concerns, it seems that Russia opposed language welcoming the agreement in the 21 March press statement, resulting in language that simply took note of it. 

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Security Council Resolutions
19 OCTOBER 2023S/RES/2700 This resolution renewed the sanctions regime on Haiti imposed by resolution 2653 of 21 October 2022.
2 OCTOBER 2023S/RES/2699 This resolution authorised member states to form and deploy a Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to Haiti to help re-establish security in the country and build conditions conducive to holding free and fair elections.
14 JULY 2023S/RES/2692 This resolution renewed the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) for one year, until 15 July 2024.
Secretary-General’s Report
15 JANUARY 2024S/2024/62 This was the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on Haiti.

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