UNSC approves sanctions allowing it to impose an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on anyone who threatens peace or stability of Haiti, naming the Caribbean country's most powerful gangster as its first target.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) has agreed unanimously on a sanctions regime targeting the gangs terrorising the population in Haiti -- including an asset freeze on a powerful gang leader nicknamed "Barbecue".
After two weeks of debating and failing to reach a consensus on sending an international force to the crisis-hit nation, members adopted a resolution on Friday directly targeting the gangs that have seized control of the main port and blocked fuel deliveries.
It includes a one-year freeze on all economic resources owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by Jimmy Cherizier, aka "Barbecue," the head of the "G90 Family and Allies" group of gangs blockading the country's main oil terminal.
The resolution demanded an "immediate cessation of violence, criminal activities and human rights abuses" in Haiti, including kidnappings, sexual violence, human trafficking and the gang recruitment of children.
The Council also called for a one-year travel ban against people deemed to be involved in gang activity in Haiti and a ban on arms and ammunition being allowed to reach them.
Friday's action is a message to gangs "holding Haiti hostage" that friends of the country "will not sit idly by while you wreak havoc on the Haitian people," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
Sanctions will also target those who "support, sponsor and finance" gangs, not just armed members in the streets, said Mexican UN envoy Juan Ramon de la Fuente.
READ MORE: UN Security Council divided over 'external interference' in Haiti
NEW: The @UN Security Council just adopted a resolution to target criminal actors in Haiti who have been undermining stability and expanding poverty.— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) October 21, 2022
This is only a first step. We can and must do more to answer the calls for help from the Haitian people. pic.twitter.com/Y3YLzaE9Os
France keen on troop deployment
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has backed a call from Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry to send an international force to attempt to restore security.
But the United States, which has a long history of intervention in Haiti, has made clear it has no interest in risking troops' lives in the troubled country.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, on a visit to Washington, offered support if a force materialises.
"If an international police support force is set up, France would in all likelihood offer a material contribution," she told a joint news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
"The outlines remain to be seen but I must add that right now the priority is to move forward on creating such a force, with our efforts first and foremost being at the United Nations," she said.
Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor to President Joe Biden, pointed out that the United States has already contributed armoured vehicles and supplies to the Haitian Police Force, which it hopes can take the lead.
READ MORE: Haiti gets armoured vehicles from US, Canada to fight gangs
UN lists actions of 'Barbecue'
Cherizier, a former police officer, is the only gang-related person singled out by name in the resolution.
It listed a series of his alleged actions, including taking part -- as a Haitian National Police officer -- in a 2018 attack on civilians in a Port-au-Prince slum called La Saline in which at least 71 people died and 400 houses were destroyed.
Throughout that year and the next he led his group in "coordinated, brutal" attacks in areas of the capital, it said.
And the resolution says that since October 11 of this year Cherizier and his gang have been blocking shipments from Haiti's largest fuel terminal.
"His actions have directly contributed to the economic paralysis and humanitarian crisis in Haiti," the resolution charges.
READ MORE: Report: UN mulls sanctions against Haiti gang chief 'Barbecue', others