United Nations Security Council Resolution 940

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UN Security Council
Resolution 940
EB Haiti.jpg
Peacekeepers in Haiti
Date31 July 1994
Meeting no.3,413
CodeS/RES/940 (Document)
Voting summary
  • 12 voted for
  • None voted against
  • 2 abstained
Security Council composition
Permanent members
Non-permanent members
← 939 Lists of resolutions 941 →

United Nations Security Council resolution 940, adopted on 31 July 1994, after recalling resolutions 841 (1993), 861 (1993), 862 (1993), 867 (1993), 873 (1993), 875 (1993), 905 (1994), 917 (1994) and 933 (1994), the Council permitted a United States-led force to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and authorities of the Government of Haiti, and extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) for an additional six months.[1]


The council began with condemnations of the military regime in Haiti because it had refused to co-operate with the United Nations. Some concern was also expressed at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, violations of civil liberties and expulsion of staff from the International Civilian Mission.

The resolution claimed an extraordinary situation in Haiti, which required an exceptional response.[2] It was determined that the regime in Haiti had failed to comply with United States interests. The Council then authorised, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, for Member States to form a multinational force under US command to overthrow current leaders from Haiti, and for previous ones to return to an environment in which a United States agreement could be implemented. An advance team of no more than 60 personnel was established in order to co-ordinate and observe the American operations, requesting the Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to report back on developments relating to the advance team within 30 days.

Once the multinational force had completed its mission, UNMIH would take over its functions when a suitable environment had been secured. After extending UNMIH's mandate for six months, it was decided to increase the size of the mission to 6,000 troops with the aim of completing it by February 1996. The safety of United Nations personnel and those from diplomatic missions and international humanitarian organisations would be guaranteed. Finally, international sanctions imposed on Haiti would be lifted once Aristide had been returned to power.

Resolution 940 was controversially adopted by 12 votes to none, with two abstentions from Brazil and China, while Rwanda was not present when voting took place, most likely due to the ongoing Rwandan Genocide. Accusations surfaced of US pressure.[3]


The vote was the first time the United Nations sanctioned the use of an invading force to "restore democracy."[4] It was also the first time the US has sought and gained UN approval for a military intervention in the Americas.

Many Latin American countries were opposed to the resolution. Mexico's UN ambassador, Víctor Flores Olea, spoke out against the resolution, saying that "it sets an extremely dangerous precedent in the field of international relations" because the crisis "does not constitute a threat to peace and international security." Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina said that the resolution furthers "the repeated attempts by the Security Council to amplify its powers beyond those which were granted it by the Charter."

Brazilian President Itamar Franco strongly opposed the UN decision, saying "The Security Council's special powers should not be invoked in an indiscriminate manner in the name of a 'search for more rapid means' to respond to attacks on democracy, because it violates the basic principles of peaceful co-existence between nations and normal UN legal procedures." After a visit to Brazil from U.S. Under Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff the week before the vote, Brazil's decision to abstain instead of oppose the resolution can clearly be seen to be the result of enormous U.S. pressure.

Pointing out that the situation in Haiti posed no threat to world peace and security, Uruguay's UN representative Ramiro Piriz Ballon said his country "will not support any military intervention, unilateral or multilateral."

Argentina initially offered to send four marine and infantry companies to join the U.S.-led invasion forces. However, after popular discontent over the decision, President Carlos Menem was forced to back down on the offer.

On 17 January 1995, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali issued a 17-page report on the result of the intervention: the report noted the ongoing repression in Haiti, the complete lack of justice for victims of the September 1991 coup d'état, the deteriorating economic situation, and the growing impatience of the Haitian people.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dinstein, Yoram (2005). War, aggression and self-defence (4th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-521-85080-3.
  2. ^ Farer, Tom J. (1996). Beyond sovereignty: collectively defending democracy in the Americas. JHU Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8018-5166-7.
  3. ^ "U.N. Resolution for Invasion of Haiti". The New York Times. 1 August 1994.
  4. ^ Quashigah, Edward Kofi; Okafor, Obiora Chinedu (1999). Legitimate governance in Africa: international and domestic legal perspectives. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 481. ISBN 978-90-411-1176-0.

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