7911st Security Council Meeting: Peace and Security in Africa

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31-Mar-2017 00:40:39
The Security Council adopted its first resolution addressing Boko Haram’s presence in the Lake Chad Basin, expressing concern about the protection needs of civilians affected by terrorism, at 7911th meeting.

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Unanimously adopting resolution 2349 (2017), the Council strongly condemned all terrorist attacks, violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses by Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in the region, including killings, abductions, child, early and forced marriage, rape, sexual slavery and the increasing use of girls as suicide bombers. Those responsible must be held to account and brought to justice.

By other terms, the Council encouraged Governments to enhance regional military cooperation, and to move “vigorously and decisively” to cut funding flows to individuals, groups, undertakings and entities on the ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions List, including Boko Haram. It urged Lake Chad Basin Governments to implement consistent policies to promote defections from Boko Haram and ISIL, to deradicalize and reintegrate those who had already defected, and to ensure there was no impunity for those responsible for terrorist attacks.

On the humanitarian front, the Council urged all parties to the conflict to ensure respect for and protection of humanitarian personnel, and to facilitate safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to deliver aid. In terms of follow-up, the Council encouraged the Secretary-General to carry out a joint visit to the Lake Chad Basin region with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the World Bank Group and the President of the African Development Bank.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates welcomed the Council’s unity in passing the resolution on the heels of its mission to Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria from 2 to 7 March to better understand the conflict’s root causes. Several urged the quick disbursement of funds pledged at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, held on 24 February.

Cameroon’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, described the resolution as a “step change” in mobilizing international support for countries to combat Boko Haram. “We are fighting against terrorism,” he stressed, noting that the military response, while essential, should be part of a holistic approach. He pressed States to adopt and implement measures to tackle the causes and consequences of the current situation, expressing hope that the resolution would mark the start of more decisive support to regional countries, which had been forced to curtail spending on education, health and other efforts.

In similar vein, Nigeria’s representative welcomed the resolution’s call for enhanced regional military cooperation and coordination, emphasizing that his country was resolute in its efforts to defeat terrorism. The people of the Lake Chad Basin needed support, he said, pointing out that shrinking of Lake Chad had exacerbated their hardship, with cross-border knock-on effects making it difficult for Governments to meet people’s needs.

Senegal’s representative welcomed the resolution as “the first of its kind”, with its pledge to support the efforts of Lake Chad Basin countries to combat Boko Haram, and in so doing, to resolve the humanitarian crisis sparked in 2009 by that group’s activities.

Other speakers, while having joined the consensus, took issue with the Council’s working methods, with the Russian Federation’s representative emphasizing that the resolution had been rushed through under the United Kingdom Presidency. It did not recognize the irresponsible policy of interference by some States in the affairs of others, he pointed out, while also describing the text as “unrefined” in its description of the Lake Chad Basin situation as a “conflict”, when, in fact, it was of a counter-terrorism nature.

Egypt’s delegate also underlined the need for full participation by all Council members, notably those from Africa, when discussing issues on the continent. The Council must take the concerns and proposals of all countries on board to avoid unacceptable interference in internal State affairs, he added.

The United Kingdom’s representative added: “We will fail the people of the region if we do not respond to what we saw.”

Also speaking were representatives of Japan, Ethiopia, Bolivia and China.

The meeting began at 1:18 p.m. and ended at 1:55 p.m.
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