Haiti II



21 October 2022 - Present
(about 1 year)
Cease hostilities, Agreement negotiation, Democracy support, Human rights
Sanction Types
  • Travel (individual travel ban)
  • Asset freeze (individual/entity)
  • Arms (individual arms imports)
Non-UN Sanctions
Regional (EU), Unilateral (US)
Other Policy Instruments
Diplomacy, Peace operations


Haiti has experienced internal violence, inequality, human rights abuses, humanitarian disasters, and weak state institutions throughout its recent history. A UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) was created in 2004 to restore order in the country following the exile of former President Aristide and the armed conflict that erupted in the country after the 2004 coup. The mission concluded its activities in 2017, following controversies about its effectiveness and unintended consequences (particularly its association with the cholera outbreaks in the country in 2010). A new special political mission, the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), was created in 2019 to strengthen policing capacity in the country.

Following a protracted period of political, constitutional, economic, humanitarian, health, and security crises in the country, including delays to planned elections in 2019 and the expiration of mandates for the Parliament and a third of the Senate in 2020, President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home on 7 July 2021. He had been effectively ruling by decree, attempting to secure a referendum on significant constitutional reforms, including extending his term of office, and the replacement of the bicameral system with a single legislative body. He was succeeded by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who pledged to organize elections, and BINUH was tasked with supporting the electoral process.

Henry lacked full legitimacy, however, because although he had been appointed by Moise to succeed the outgoing Prime Minister two days before Moise’s assassination, he had not yet been officially sworn in as Prime Minister. Nonetheless, the outgoing Prime Minister handed over power to Henry in mid-July 2021. In August 2021, Haiti suffered a major earthquake, followed immediately by a large hurricane, which further added to the humanitarian crisis in the country. Henry signed an agreement with some oppositional political parties on 11 September 2021 for a consensual transitional government that called for elections in 2022, largely following the program of institutional reform initiated by Moise. When the renewal of BINUH came up in October 2021, China first expressed concern about the effectiveness of the mission and the growing gang violence in the country. The UN Security Council decided to extend the mandate, but only for a period of nine months, to July 2022.

Following a failed assassination attempt by a gang against Henry, a February 2022 Secretary-General Report noted the challenges of gang violence in the country. In April and May 2022, there was a spike in gang violence, and a fight between two different gangs complicated the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance to the country. By June 2022, a political stalemate between two political factions emerged in the country. Prime Minister Henry proposed a constitutional referendum to be followed by elections at the end of 2022. On the other side was the “Montana Accord” group, which involved 70 political organizations and social groups that grew out of the Commission for the Search for a Haitian Solution of the Crisis that emerged after Moise’s assassination and called for an interim government with greater involvement of civil society organizations and elections in 2023.

When the renewal of BINUH came up in July 2022 – in the midst of continuing political deadlock, increases in gang violence affecting the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and concerns about the effectiveness on the political mission – China proposed the idea of imposing sanctions, along with the creation of a multinational police force to restore order in the country, and a review of the situation in three months (October 2022). UNSCR 2645 (15 July 2022) renewed the political mission for another year and expressed the Security Council’s “readiness to take appropriate measures, as necessary, that could include assets freeze or travel ban measures, against those engaged in or supporting gang violence” within ninety days from the adoption of the resolution. The resolution also “called upon” Member States to deny arms to non-state armed groups “engaged in or supporting gang violence, criminal activities, or human rights abuses in Haiti.”

Violent demonstrations over fuel price increases in September 2022 were exacerbated by gang activity, and by 17 October 2022, gangs blocked access to critical infrastructure (Haiti’s main fuel import facility, the Varreux Terminal), threatening the provision of water distribution, sanitation, and garbage collection in the capital. Outbreaks of cholera were reported. The co-penholders on Haiti (the US and Mexico) had already begun drafting a sanctions resolution in early October, but the rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis amidst increasing gang violence, political stalemate, and the formal review of the situation triggered the introduction of a new sanctions regime on Haiti on 21 October 2022.


The analysis of the Haiti II case is divided into the following episodes (also navigable via the numbers in the top bar):