Security Council, Concerned about Violent Extremism Plaguing West Africa, Strongly Condemns Boko Haram Terrorist Attacks in Lake Chad Basin

SC/12689
20 January 2017
7868th Meeting* (AM)

Security Council, Concerned about Violent Extremism Plaguing West Africa, Strongly Condemns Boko Haram Terrorist Attacks in Lake Chad Basin

Presidential Statement Welcomes Decisions on Gambia, Other Political Developments

Expressing its concerns over the prevalence of violent extremism that could be conducive to terrorism, the Security Council strongly condemned all terrorist attacks in West Africa, notably those carried out by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2017/2) read out by Olof Skoog (Sweden), its President for January, the Council stressed the need to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism, including by addressing the conditions conducive to its spread.  It expressed particular concern about attacks on civilians, the primary victims of terrorist violence.

Welcoming subregional, regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development consequences of Boko Haram’s operations, the Council reaffirmed that Member States must ensure that any counter-terrorism measures must be in compliance with all obligations under international law, particularly international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.

The Council urged Members States participating in the Multinational Joint Task Force to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination, deny safe haven to Boko Haram, and secure the conditions necessary to enable humanitarian access and facilitate the restoration of civilian security and the rule of law in areas liberated from the group.  “The Security Council reiterates deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation resulting from Boko Haram activities in the Lake Chad Basin region,” the statement said.

“In this regard,” it continued, “the Security Council calls upon the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the United Nations appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.”  The Council urged Governments in the region to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations, and to work with the United Nations and international partners to develop viable options for delivering aid.

Expressing deep regret over the tragic incident in Rann, north-eastern Nigeria, on 17 January, which had resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, including internally displaced persons and humanitarian workers, the Council urged the Government of Nigeria to investigate the incident swiftly.

According to the statement, the Council was encouraged by the decision by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) authority on the political situation in the Gambia, as well as decisions by the African Union Peace and Security Council that the regional bloc would cease to recognize outgoing President Yahya Jammeh as the legitimate President of the Gambia.  In that regard, it requested that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative continue to facilitate, through his good offices, interactions and negotiations aimed at ensuring a peaceful transfer of power to President Adama Barrow.

The Council went on to welcome recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the holding of free and peaceful elections in Cabo Verde and Ghana, and the outcome of the political dialogue in Guinea.  It also welcomed the steps taken to develop and institute political, institutional and constitutional reforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

“The Security Council encourages UNOWAS [United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel] to support peacebuilding and sustain peace efforts in other countries in West Africa where democratic gains remain fragile, following the comprehensive UN inter-agency approach in Burkina Faso.”  It encouraged further progress towards implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, including through support for the Group of 5 for the Sahel, and reaffirmed its continued commitment to addressing security and political challenges to the Sahel’s stability and development.

The meeting began at 11 a.m. and ended at 11:15 a.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2017/2 reads as follows:

“The Security Council takes note of the report (S/2016/1072) of the Secretary General on the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and welcomes the briefing on 13 January 2017 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed ibn Chambas.

“The Security Council welcomes the letter of the President of the Security Council dated 29 December 2016 and its annex concerning the extension of the mandate of the UNOWAS for a further period of three years, from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2019.

“The Security Council expresses full support to the Special Representative and looks forward to efforts to enhance ongoing activities undertaken by UNOWAS in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation and good offices, subregional and regional cooperation to address cross-border and cross-cutting threats to peace and security, the implementation of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel, as well as the promotion of good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights, and gender mainstreaming.

“The Security Council welcomes the recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the holding of free and peaceful elections in Cabo Verde and Ghana, and the outcome of the political dialogue in Guinea.  The Security Council welcomes the steps taken to develop and institute political, institutional and constitutional reforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

“The Security Council takes note of the steps taken by the United Nations system, in partnership with the authorities of Burkina Faso, to pilot a new approach to peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts in the country, including the development of a strategic framework to help consolidate stability in the post-transition period.  The Security Council encourages UNOWAS to support peacebuilding and sustain peace efforts in other countries in West Africa where democratic gains remain fragile, following the comprehensive UN inter-agency approach in Burkina Faso.

“The Security Council welcomes the ongoing work of UNOWAS to promote women’s participation in political, peace and security processes and, in this regard, welcomes positive developments in Liberia and Nigeria.

“The Security Council recalls its press statement (SC/12616), its presidential statement (S/PRST/2016/19) and its resolution (S/RES/2337), welcomes and is encouraged by the decision on political situation in The Gambia of the fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held in Abuja on 17 December 2016, and welcomes the decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council, at its 644th meeting held on 12 December 2016, as well as its declaration at its 647th meeting held on 13 January 2017 that as of 19 January 2017, outgoing President, Yahya Jammeh, will cease to be recognized by the AU as legitimate President of the Republic of the Gambia.  In this regard, the Security Council requests the Special Representative, through his good offices, to continue facilitating interactions and negotiations aimed at ensuring a peaceful transfer of power from outgoing President, Yahya Jammeh, to the President Adama Barrow.

“The Security Council expresses its concerns over the prevalence of violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, and terrorist threats in the region and their linkages to transnational organized crime.  In this regard, the Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, in particular in the Lake Chad Basin region, notably by Boko Haram.  The Security Council stresses the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including by addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  The Security Council expresses particular concern about attacks on civilians, who are the primary victims of these terrorist violence.

“The Security Council welcomes the subregional, regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development consequences of Boko Haram’s operations.  The Security Council takes note of the progress made in the operationalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).  The Security Council urges the Members States participating in the MNJTF to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination, deny haven to Boko Haram, secure the conditions to enable humanitarian access and facilitate the restoration of civilian security and the rule of law in liberated areas.  The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular, international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.

“The Security Council encourages Member States and multilateral partners to lend their support to the MNJTF to ensure its full operationalization, including the provision of modalities to increase the timely and effective exchange of intelligence to further the region’s collective efforts to combat Boko Haram, whenever possible and appropriate.  The Security Council underscores the importance of a holistic approach to degrade and defeat Boko Haram that includes coordinated security operations, conducted in accordance with applicable international law, as well as enhanced civilian efforts to improve governance and promote economic growth in the affected areas.  In this regard, the Security Council deeply regrets the tragic incident in Rann, north-east Nigeria, on 17 January 2017, resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians including Internally Displaced Persons and humanitarian workers.  The Security Council urges the Government of Nigeria to swiftly investigate the incident and recalls the obligation of all parties to armed conflict to comply strictly with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian, human right and refugee law.

“The Security Council reiterates deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by the activities of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.  In this regard, the Security Council calls international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the United Nations appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.  It also urges regional Governments to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations and to work with the United Nations and international partners to develop viable options for delivering aid.

“The Security Council expresses continued concern about piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as the trafficking of drugs and other illicit goods, the smuggling of migrants and human trafficking and stresses the need to strengthen the fight against illicit activities in the subregion.

“The Security Council welcomes the leadership demonstrated by countries in West Africa and the Sahel in spearheading initiatives to address security challenges in the region and encourages further collaboration among Member States, regional and subregional organizations, relevant United Nations entities and with other relevant stakeholders to enhance social cohesion and to address challenges to good governance.

“The Security Council commends the engagement of UNOWAS with subregional and regional organizations, in particular, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the G-5 Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Mano River Union, in order to promote peace and stability in West Africa and the Sahel.  The Security Council remains committed to working closely with these organizations through UNOWAS to strengthen subregional and regional cooperation to address cross-border security threats and prevent the spread of terrorism.  In that respect, they welcome the assistance of UNOWAS to the efforts of ECOWAS Commission to implement its Regional Framework for Security Sector Reform and Governance and to promote a coordinated security-sector-reform approach in the region.

“The Security Council notes the collaboration undertaken between UNOWAS and the Peacebuilding Commission and encourages continued close and effective cooperation in support of sustainable peace in the region.

“The Security Council commends the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS, as well as of Member States in West Africa and the Sahel to strengthen border security and regional cooperation, including through the G5 Sahel and the Nouakchott process on the enhancement of the security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahel and Sahara region.

“The Security Council encourages further progress by the United Nations system and its partners towards the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), including through support to the Group of 5 for the Sahel (G5), in order to assist in addressing the security and political challenges to the stability and development of the Sahel region and reaffirms its continued commitment to address such challenges, which are interrelated with humanitarian and development issues, as well as the adverse effects of climate and ecological changes, and, in this regards, highlights the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies relating to climate change impacts.

“The Security Council welcomes the conclusion of the independent evaluation of the UNISS.  In this regard, the Security Council requests UNOWAS to coordinate with States in the Sahel and all other stakeholders to provide strategic leadership, guidance and direction to the UN system for the effective implementation of the UNISS, including its thematic focus, coordination arrangements, partnerships and distribution of responsibilities among United Nations entities in the field and at Headquarters.

“The Security Council request UNOWAS to contribute to efforts aimed at sustaining international engagement by reenergizing the commitments and initiatives of all relevant stakeholders, including countries of the region, the various regional mechanisms, United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank,  emphasizes, in this regard, the importance of the convening role of the Peacebuilding Commission in peacebuilding efforts, and thus, in collaboration with UNOWAS, in mobilizing deeper commitment and partnership between the UN system, the countries of the Sahel and other international and regional partners with the view to advancing the implementation of the Strategy, in collaboration with UNOWAS and to adapting the Strategy to the evolving needs of the region.

“The Security Council further requests UNOWAS to provide the necessary support to the Ministerial Coordination Platform for the Sahel and its Technical Secretariat, as well as to the G-5 Sahel.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to periodically monitor progress made, and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to provide in the upcoming regular report due in July 2017 information on UNOWAS efforts with respect to the following aspects of its UNISS related mandate:  a) coherence in the political and programmatic aspects of  UNISS; b) streamlining and coordination of initiatives by international, regional actors in the Sahel region, with a view to ensuring that they meet the emerging challenges in the region; c) guidance and leadership of the overall engagement of the UN system and partners with a view to serving the overall objective of the Strategy; and d) advancing the implementation of the nine flagship projects of UNISS and the assessment of their impact; e) ensuring attention to all UNISS pillars, and funding gaps.”

__________

*   The 7867th Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.