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Department of Political Affairs

22 April 2013 -- Remarks to the press on the Central African Republic, Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

 
I am visiting the Central African Republic today to express the grave concern of the United Nations about the deteriorating security and human rights situation in the country and to convey the solidarity with the people who are suffering and extremely vulnerable at this moment.
 
How to stop the suffering, ensure that security is restored and to help the Central African Republic back on a path to legitimate constitutional rule was the subject of my discussions in Cameroon on Saturday and again today in Bangui with Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and with representatives of political parties and civil society.
 
I have also spent time today with our team in the country. They have been doing their best under very difficult circumstances under the leadership of SRSG Vogt.
 
I met yesterday in Yaounde with UN staff who had to be temporarily relocated until security permits them to return to their jobs. Many of our own staff also face uncertainty and had their homes and personal property looted.
 
Of course our primary concern remains with the people of the Central African Republic.
 
Foremost at this time is the urgent need to establish law and order throughout the country and to protect civilians from abuse.
 
There must be a stop to the killing, the looting, the attacks on civilian population, the violations of human rights and the violent confrontations targeting segments of the population.
 
There must be an immediate stop to acts of sexual violence, and a stop to the recruiting of children into armed groups.
 
Those who have seized power must shoulder their responsibilities and control those elements under their command. The Secretary-General believes firmly there should be no impunity for violence and crime.
 
All actors, including Seleka, should facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid.  The extensive looting of humanitarian aid agency offices and warehouses and the disruption of vital humanitarian aid are having a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
 
The authorities must move quickly to establish security, with support from all who are in a position to help fill the vacuum. ECCAS has made a welcome announcement last week of its intention to increase the numbers of regional forces. More support may be needed.
 
In my meeting with the Prime Minister in Douala on 20 April, I have urged him to exercise leadership in helping to restore calm throughout the country.
 
On the political front, there must be a full return to constitutional order, as the United Nations, the African Union, ECCAS and many in the international community have demanded. We continue to emphasize that this transition should be carried out in an inclusive and transparent manner, in accordance with the Libreville Accord signed in January this year.
 
Winner-take-all politics has caused grave harm in the past. A peaceful future will require dialogue and compromise between Central Africans.
 
Let me add that the international community also has an important responsibility. It must remain focused on the Central African Republic and to provide sustained and timely attention and resources.
 
The Central African Republic cannot continue to be the “forgotten crisis” that emerges briefly on the international radar screen and then slips back into oblivion until the next tragic flare-up.
 
After security, humanitarian needs are paramount at the moment. With the current humanitarian appeal at just over 20% funded, we are calling on donors to increase urgently their contributions in order to address the immense needs and help to prepare us to move forward as security conditions permit.
 
The United Nations is looking at how it can enhance its assistance. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his deep concerns.
 
My discussions here will help to inform a report he will be making to the Security Council in the coming days, as we look to see how best the UN can use all of the instruments at its disposal to help build the environment of peace and security that the people of the CAR so badly need and deserve.
 
Thank you.