United States pushing for legislation to sanction Haiti’s gang leaders

WASHINGTON (CMC) – The Biden administration in the United States is reportedly pushing for legislation that will lead to sanctions on gang leaders in Haiti in the wake of an escalation of violence in the French-speaking country.

According to a report published by the Miami Herald, while the 77th United Nations General Assembly is underway in New York, the United States is preparing to circulate a resolution at the United Nations Security Council on Monday that would establish a new framework for sanctioning Haiti’s gang leaders.

The article also states that the Biden administration is not ruling out international intervention.

Speaking during a recent interview, assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A Nichols, said that gang leaders fuelling Haiti’s worst security crisis in decades — and those who finance and support them, including supplying firearms — “are in the crosshairs, and their actions to destabilise Haiti will be met with international travel and financial sanctions.”

The Biden administration is hoping for swift passage of the resolution “in the coming days,” Nichols said.

He said the resolution will create a United Nations framework to place sanctions on gang leaders, and those who support and facilitate and fund their activities.

“Those sanctions would target their financial resources and ability to travel,” said the US official.

The Haitian government has all but lost control over security in the Caribbean nation, and US officials say the country has reached a crisis not seen since the early 1990s.

According to the Miami Herald, Haiti’s neighbours have called for robust action from the United States and other permanent members of the Security Council.

So far, the neighbouring Dominican Republic has publicly requested a return of a multinational peacekeeping force, arguing that Haiti’s instability and rampant gang violence are increasingly becoming a threat to the region.

This would require Haiti to once more go under what is known as Chapter 7, which is an article of the UN charter that enables the Security Council to deploy international forces in a peacekeeping mission.

After 13 years, it ended in Haiti in 2017 when the UN Security Council, pushed by the United States and others, finally withdrew its military and peacekeeping operations in Haiti.

According to Nicholas, if Haiti’s government asks for that assistance – “the international community would certainly consider such a request.”

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