8646th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Central African Republic

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25-Oct-2019 00:50:05
Renew mandate of United Nations peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic with focus on elections, top official urges Security Council at 8646th meeting.

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The ranking United Nations official in the Central African Republic appealed to the Security Council today to renew the mandate of the Organization’s peacekeeping mission in that country with a focus on elections planned for 2020 and 2021, as well as other challenges.

“The Central African Republic needs all its partners and friends to transform the dream of peace, prosperity and development of millions of Central Africans into a lasting reality,” emphasized Mankeur Ndiaye, the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Presenting the latest report on the situation (document S/2019/822), he urged support for elections critical to the extension of State governance throughout the country and full implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic of 6 February 2019. Support for the Political Agreement has become a major effort of MINUSCA since it was signed, he added.

The Government’s significant progress towards implementation, with MINUSCA’s support, includes monitoring mechanisms put in place at the prefecture level, the deployment of mixed security units and other national forces, the demobilization of armed groups, building judicial capacity and funding development projects. He emphasized that MINUSCA’s robust posture under its protection mandate thwarted violations of the Political Agreement by the “3R” [Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation] armed group.

However, significant challenges remain, he cautioned, including human rights violations and violence linked to two signatory armed groups in the north-east since July. Further challenges include those brought on by the dry season, the radicalization of rhetoric by certain actors and the backlog of legislation required under the Political Agreement. He called upon the parties to redouble their efforts to fulfil their obligations under the accord, pledging MINUSCA’s continuing support.

Noting that local elections have not been held in decades, he said holding them would go a long way towards strengthening decentralization and local governance. Preparations have already begun, but progress is still threatened by a lack of resources, an appropriate mandate for MINUSCA and other obstacles, all of which reduce the confidence of the political class. He went on to warn that delaying the elections would be harmful, calling for international mobilization to prevent delays.

Also briefing today, Smail Chergui, the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, welcomed the support of neighbouring countries for the progress achieved — especially Cameroon, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — recalling that that more than 350,000 refugees and internally displaced persons returned to their homes between January and September. More returns are planned, he added. Urging the Security Council to grant MINUSCA an appropriate mandate, he also welcomed the convergence in the positions of the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union. “It is essential that the international community collectively continue to support the implementation of the [Political Agreement] which remains the point of reference for the return of stability in the country,” he added, stressing: “There is no Plan B.”

Turning to humanitarian challenges, he urged stakeholders in the Central African Republic as well as partners to remain focused on the needs of women and children, underlining the African Union’s commitment to a policy of zero tolerance for sex-related violence or exploitation of children.

Stefano Tomat, Director for Integrated Approach for Security and Peace within the European Union’s External Action Service, said the regional bloc would like to see the Government act with greater determination on transitional justice, in parallel with such issues as decentralization and the integration of former members of armed groups. More must also be done about including civil society, political parties, the military and women in the peace process, he added. Noting the continued fragility of the security situation, he said the bloc particularly supports MINUSCA’s robust stance, emphasizing that its assertiveness sends a positive signal to civilian groups. The European Union would also like to see the deployment of more special mixed security units, stressing the critical need to demobilize, disarm, vet and train combatants identified to join them. The European Union is prepared to extend its support for the mixed units and for the African Union’s military observers, but MINUSCA’s mandate must expand to support security and logistics in order to ensure elections are held on time.

Côte d’Ivoire’s representative, speaking also on behalf of Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, emphasized that the Council’s three African members support the lifting of the sanctions imposed on the Central African Republic. He urged signatory parties to the Political Agreement to push forward local peace and reconciliation initiatives, stressing that they must include women, young people and other members of civil society. He also called for the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission that would be responsive to the needs of victims.

The representative of the United States said MINUSCA’s top priority is to protect civilians, stressing that there is no contradiction between that task and the Mission’s good-offices mandate. He called for adequate vetting of former combatants wishing to join the mixed security forces.

The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 10:50 a.m.

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