Haiti: Vote on Draft Resolution Renewing the Sanctions Regime*
Tomorrow morning (19 October), the Security Council is expected to vote on a draft resolution renewing for one year the sanctions regime on Haiti, which includes an arms embargo and targeted assets freeze and travel ban measures. The draft text was authored by Ecuador and the US, the co-penholders on Haiti.
On 21 October 2022, in response to the multidimensional crisis in Haiti, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2653, establishing a sanctions regime on Haiti that included targeted assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo measures. The designation criteria outlined in the resolution include engaging in or supporting criminal activities and violence involving armed groups and criminal networks; supporting illicit trafficking and diversion of arms and related materiel; obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to and inside Haiti; and attacking personnel or premises of UN missions and operations or providing support for such attacks. (For information on recent political, security, and humanitarian developments in the country, see the brief on Haiti in our October 2023 Monthly Forecast.)
An annex to resolution 2653 designated one person under the regime: Jimmy Chérizier (also known as “Barbeque”), who heads an alliance of Haitian gangs called the “G9 Family and Allies”. Recognising the need to ensure fair and clear procedures for delisting individuals and entities designated under the regime, the resolution also expressed the Council’s intent to consider authorising the Ombudsperson to receive delisting requests. (The Office of the Ombudsperson is currently responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on requests for delisting only from the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL/Da’esh] and Al-Qaida sanctions list.)
Additionally, resolution 2653 decided that the Council would review the continued appropriateness of the sanctions measures against progress achieved on key benchmarks. In this regard, it requested the Secretary-General—in coordination with the Panel of Experts (PoE) established to support the 2653 Haiti Sanctions Committee—to conduct an assessment of progress achieved by 15 September 2023. The benchmarks relate to the development of adequate judicial capacity to handle armed groups and criminality; a reduction in the violence committed by armed groups and criminal networks; a decrease in the incidents of illicit trafficking; and strengthening of local capacity in the areas of community violence reduction and human rights. The Secretary-General’s assessment, dated 15 September, said that “[n]o progress was achieved against any of these benchmarks” since the adoption of resolution 2653.
On 2 October, the Security Council adopted resolution 2699, authorising 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 elections. That resolution also modified the arms embargo imposed by resolution 2653, expanding its applicability from individuals and entities designated by the sanctions regime to the country as a whole, with exemptions for UN entities and Haitian security institutions as well as exceptions granted by the sanctions committee on a case-by-case basis. (For more information, see our 2 October What’s in Blue story.)
The co-penholders circulated an initial draft of the resolution on 10 October and convened the first round of negotiations on 11 October. On 13 October, the co-penholders circulated a revised draft and held a second round of negotiations. On Monday (16 October), they circulated a second revised draft and placed it under silence procedure until Tuesday (October 17), which was broken by China. The co-penholders then circulated a third revised draft, which they placed under silence procedure until 09:00 am today (18 October). That draft passed silence, but some technical edits requested by the UN Secretariat were placed under an additional short silence procedure until 12:00 pm. Those edits also passed silence, after which the co-penholders put the final draft in blue.
It seems that Council members generally agreed on the importance of renewing the sanctions measures and that the negotiations were relatively smooth. This was in part due to the fact that members had already settled the most contentious issue—the expansion of the arms embargo—through the adoption of resolution 2699.
It appears that one of the main issues under discussion was whether to include an annex to the resolution designating additional individuals under the sanctions regime. (To date, Chérizier remains the only sanctioned individual.) These designations would apparently be based on information provided by the PoE. While it seems that Council members agreed on the need for additional designations, some apparently held the view that they had not been given enough time to review the information provided by the PoE prior to negotiations and that including additional designations in an annex to the resolution would therefore be premature. These members argued that the 2653 Haiti Sanctions Committee should instead consider the PoE’s recommendations through the regular committee process. Other members accepted this rationale but sought language in the draft resolution signalling the Council’s commitment to take further action in this regard. Consequently, the draft resolution in blue contains a new operative paragraph proposed by China that directs the sanctions committee to consider expeditiously updating the sanctions list, taking into account the PoE’s reports.
Council members apparently also discussed the issue of due process and procedures for delisting. It seems that several members, including Switzerland, argued that the Council should follow up on its intention expressed in resolution 2653 to consider authorising the Ombudsperson to receive delisting requests. Others, however, apparently held the view that the Haiti sanctions regime was not the appropriate setting to expand the Ombudsperson or preferred to see a cross-cutting mechanism that would apply to all Security Council sanctions regimes.
In an apparent compromise, the draft resolution in blue contains new preambular language that no longer references the Ombudsperson specifically but recognises “the need to continuously strengthen due process and to ensure that fair and clear procedures exist” for delisting sanctioned individuals and entities. The draft text also contains a new operative paragraph expressing the Council’s “intention to support the further development of fair and clear procedures” for designated individuals and entities, “including through the Focal Point for Delisting”. (The Focal Point for Delisting is a Secretariat mechanism established by resolution 1370 of 19 December 2006 to receive and transmit to the Council delisting requests from designated individuals and entities. It is broader than the Ombudsperson, covering all sanctions regimes, but it does not play an independent advisory function and is not mandated to recommend specific action on delisting requests.) During the negotiations, some Council members apparently stressed that the reference to the Focal Point does not preclude exploring other options for strengthening delisting procedures, including the Ombudsperson.
Finally, the draft resolution in blue contains new language on the issue of arms diversion, deciding that countries “shall take appropriate steps to prevent the illicit trafficking and diversion of small arms, light weapons, and ammunition in Haiti”. It also includes a new operative paragraph clarifying the exemption to the expanded arms embargo, affirming that it “inter alia” applies to the UN, the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), the MSS mission, the Haitian National Police, and the Armed Forces of Haiti. Additionally, the draft resolution in blue includes a new operative paragraph calling on the MSS mission to implement weapons and ammunition management processes and oversight mechanisms, as well as to report any diversion of weapons and ammunition to the PoE.