5 April 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Do Not Let Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Process Falter,


Secretary-General Appeals to Friends of Central African Republic

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Friends of the Central African Republic, delivered by B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in New York on 5 April:

I am pleased to greet this meeting.

We are privileged to have Prime Minister [Faustin-Archange] Touadéra with us today to discuss how we can assist his country’s recovery.

With the world’s eyes on events in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa, the Central African Republic remains at the centre of a forgotten emergency.  Much has been accomplished since the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) two years ago, but the country still faces serious challenges.  These include extreme poverty, weak national institutions, corruption, human rights violations and impunity.  There is a high rate of violent crime perpetrated by armed movements and outlaws.

We must all do our utmost to help the Government pursue peacebuilding, reconstruction, security-sector reform, the implementation of peace agreements, and the sustainable disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.  State institutions need support and infrastructure needs to be restored, especially the nation’s road network.

Strengthening the democratic process is also critical.  The United Nations has supported a series of workshops bringing together opposition and Government representatives to discuss key political issues.  This is particularly necessary in light of the ruling party’s domination of Parliament and other institutions as a result of the opposition’s boycott of the electoral process.

The United Nations-supported dialogue can help to create much-needed inclusive political space and consensus.  We stand ready to continue to support the efforts of the Government in this regard.

The road ahead for the Central African Republic will not be easy.  Rebel and criminal groups control large tracts of territory, destabilizing not just the Central African Republic, but other Central African countries.  On the other hand, there is considerable national commitment to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  The Secretary-General is encouraged that politico-military groups and communities themselves are pushing the Government to expedite the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.

It is, therefore, crucial that the international community supports the Government’s efforts.  The Government has established an institutional framework for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, including a Ministry of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, and has contributed nearly $9 million to disarmament and demobilization activities in the north-west.  The Peacebuilding Fund has approved a further $2.4 million.  These efforts should help improve security in the country, and in the subregion.

The United Nations commends the Government for ratifying the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child last December.  In the north-west, the Government is planning the reintegration of children into the community, with the support of the United Nations.  We need to maintain this momentum by also supporting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for adult combatants.

We are all aware that there is frustration at the slow pace of progress.  Further delays will only accentuate tensions and undermine an already fragile process, with potentially disastrous results.  With the start of the rainy season in June, it will be difficult to conduct disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the north-east.

Beginning even small-scale operations before then would send a positive signal to the armed groups and communities that have been expecting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for some time now.  The Secretary-General appeals to the Friends of the Central African Republic to provide the necessary support, and not allow the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process to falter.

The United Nations and the Government of the Central African Republic are grateful to the African Union, the World Bank, the European Union, La Francophonie, neighbouring countries and bilateral partners for the support they have already provided.

All of us in this room are friends of the Central African Republic.  Let us demonstrate our friendship in concrete ways.  The fallout from a return to conflict would have profound consequences, not only for the Central African Republic, but for the subregion.  You have a fundamental role in preventing this.

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For information media • not an official record