Armed Groups Still Pose Significant Threat, Permanent Representative Stresses
The security situation in the capital of the Central African Republic had taken a turn for the better, but it remained a matter of concern in other parts of the country, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the Security Council today, emphasizing the need for ongoing international attention.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Central African Republic (document S/2017/94), Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous stated that security in Bangui had increasingly stabilized in recent months. However, the situation remained worrying in the north-west, where there was an otherwise peaceful seasonal cattle migration. In the central region, ongoing clashes between the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique and the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique had assumed troubling ethnic overtones.
He said those two groups were outside an ongoing dialogue, established by President Faustin Archange Touadera, with other armed groups that was making progress in such areas as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. The United Nations supported an initiative for a Central African Republic peace and reconciliation agreement recently launched by the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, as well as Angola, Chad and the Congo.
Adapting to changes on the ground, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was rearranging its deployment to ensure greater flexibility and dedicate more forces to its operations, he said. A Portuguese rapid reaction force was now in place, while France would deploy surveillance drones that could deter armed groups.
Turning to the humanitarian situation, he expressed concern over the absence of progress and peace dividends in areas outside Bangui. With 2.2 million people — more than half the population — needing food or facing food insecurity, and with 100,000 people newly displaced, the curtailing of humanitarian funding was worrying. The Central African Republic was the world’s most dangerous place for aid workers, he said, with 31 per cent of global security incidents involving non-governmental personnel reported there last year.
Going forward, he urged the international community not to give up on the Central African Republic, pointing out that all too often, it reacted at the height of a crisis, only to exit before economic development had taken root and human rights had been assured. If the partnerships that had been established endured, then lasting peace was within reach.
Ambroisine Kpongo (Central African Republic) said her country still faced challenges and the security situation remained fragile. Armed groups posed significant threats to the political process, as well as to peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. To advance progress, the Government had adopted the National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan, but it needed further support from the international community to achieve lasting peace. “Bilateral partners must take action now so that the progress made will not be jeopardized,” she emphasized.
Omar Hilale (Morocco), Chair of the Central African Republic configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the security situation remained volatile despite Government efforts and the presence of MINUSCA. Recent clashes had resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and displacement of thousands more. Those attacks had underscored the need to better address the security situation.
Welcoming the Government’s adoption of a national disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation strategy, a security policy, and a five-year capacity-building and development plan, he said authorities must now, with international support, tackle the root causes of the conflict. Noting that a conference in Brussels had generated $2.2 billion in pledges for the implementation of the National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan, he said the Commission would hold a meeting on the Plan’s three pillars: the promotion of peace; renewal of the social contract between the State and the population; and economic recovery.
Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine), Council President for February, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic, updated the Council on the sanctions regime. In particular, he noted the addition in August 2016 of two sons of Joseph Kony, the sanctioned leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, to the Committee’s Sanctions List.
He said the Committee’s meeting on 25 January — attended by representatives of the Central African Republic and other countries in the region — highlighted a number of recent alleged travel-ban violations by two sanctioned individuals. Several countries had underlined their lack of capacity to control their vast and porous borders and encouraged the international community to help them prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition. Given the abundance of arms in the Central African Republic, he emphasized the need to closely monitor the situation in order to protect civilians, efforts that called for better cooperation among regional States to counter illegal arms trafficking and the recruitment of foreign fighters by armed groups.
Elbio Rosselli (Uruguay) said the Government’s adoption of the national disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation strategy, the security policy, and the capacity-building and development plan were major steps in the right direction. Furthermore, the dialogue with armed groups sought to address the root causes of the conflict. Yet, ongoing clashes had jeopardized progress towards peace, he said, adding that half the population relied on humanitarian assistance to survive.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:59 a.m.