UN human rights expert to make second official visit to Haiti
GENEVA, Switzerland (CMC) — The United Nations expert on human rights in Haiti, William O’Neill will make a week-long visit to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country starting today .
The October 23 to November 1 visit will be O’Neill’s second since his appointment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights just over six months ago.
During his visit, O’Neill will meet Haitian authorities, including Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Victor Généus, as well as other high-level officials.
He will also meet the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti, Maria Isabel Salvador, and delegates of other UN entities, representatives of the diplomatic community and civil society, human rights organisations and survivors of human rights violations and abuses.
O’Neill will travel to Cap Haitïen, Fort Liberté and Ouanaminthe where he will meet local officials and civil society organisations’ representatives.
Prior to his departure, the UN official will hold a news conference in Port-au-Prince on October 31.
In the meantime the Joe Biden Administration in the United States last Friday welcomed the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2700 that renews an arms embargo on Haiti to prevent the supply of weapons to non-state actors, as well as a targeted assets freeze and travel ban measures.
US Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said that, since October 2022, his country has taken steps to impose sanctions and visa restrictions on more than 50 individuals for, “undermining Haiti’s democratic processes, supporting or financing gangs and criminal organizations, or engaging in significant corruption and human rights violations.”
In addition, Miller said the United States continues to take steps to stem the illegal outflow of firearms from the US to the Caribbean, including Haiti.
“The US Government is using new criminal authorities in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to identify and hold firearms traffickers accountable,” said Miller.
To bolster these efforts, he noted that, in June 2023, US Vice-President Kamala Harris, the daughter of retired Jamaican economist Donald Harris, announced the creation of a Department of Justice Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions, including Haiti.
Miller said the Department of State is also supporting the regional Crime Gun Intelligence Unit in Trinidad and Tobago to help Caribbean partner nations solve gun-related crime cases, deter gun crimes in the region and bring criminals to justice.
He also said the State Department is partnering with US Homeland Security Investigations to create a Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit within Haiti “to facilitate investigations and prosecution of transnational crimes, including those with a US nexus”.