The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait):
The members of the Security Council met on 22 February 2018 to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic and the activities of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). They were briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Central African Republic and Head of the MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Special Representative of the African Union to the Central African Republic, Bédializoun Moussa Nébié, the Chair of the Sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic, Ambassador Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue, the Director-General of the European Union Military Staff, General Esa Pulkkinen, and the Chair of the Peace Building Commission Central African Republic configuration, Ambassador Omar Hilale.
The members of the Security Council renewed their support to President Faustin-Archange Touadera, and his Government, and welcomed again his efforts to advance the dialogue with armed groups and national reconciliation and to extend State authority in all parts of the country. In particular, they welcomed the deployment of prefects and subprefects, the resumption of criminal sessions in Bouar and Bangui, the efforts to operationalize the Special Criminal Court, as well as the first results of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration pilot project with the integration of former elements of armed groups into the armed forces. They called on the Central African Republic authorities to continue their efforts to implement transparent and inclusive measures that will address the root causes of instability, allow for stabilization and reconciliation in the Central African Republic and restore the effective authority of the State over all the territory of the Central African Republic, to fight impunity by restoring administration of the judiciary and the criminal justice system, to achieve the reform of the Central African Republic armed forces and internal security forces in order to put in place multi-ethnic, republican, professional and well-equipped security forces, to carry out the inclusive and effective, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation of armed groups, and to establish a functioning public financial management in order to meet the expenses related to the functioning of the State, implement early recovery plans and revitalize the economy.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic and its road map that was adopted in Libreville on 17 July 2017 and which constitute the main framework for a political solution in the Central African Republic, as agreed by Central African Republic authorities and under their leadership. They welcomed the launch of consultations by the Panel of the African Initiative and encouraged the Panel to work in a coherent manner and to implement an ambitious and inclusive dialogue with armed groups, as well as all segments of society, promoting the full and effective participation of women in this process, with continued support from MINUSCA and other partners, in order to reach a comprehensive political agreement. They also encouraged President Touadera to cement and broaden national ownership of the peace process, in close partnership with the Panel. They emphasized that the continued role and contribution of the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and neighbouring countries remains critical for the promotion of lasting peace and stability in the Central African Republic. They demanded that all armed groups lay down their arms and engage constructively in the peace process immediately and unconditionally.
The members of the Security Council expressed concern at the ongoing clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic and the attacks against civilians, in particular those perpetrated on a communal basis, United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, as well as incitement to ethnic and religious hatred and violence, which continue to destabilize the country and cause heavy civilian casualties and significant population displacements despite agreement by parties to the conflict to an immediate cessation of hostilities. In particular, they strongly condemned the recent violence that took place in Paoua, in the north-west part of the Central African Republic, and led to the displacement of nearly 60,000 internally displaced persons and 20,000 refugees.
The members of the Security Council deplored all attacks against civilians, attacks against hospitals in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as abuses and violations of human rights, including those involving sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, and the recruitment of children by armed groups, and reiterated the urgent and imperative need to hold accountable those responsible for such abuses and violations, irrespective of their status or political affiliation.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern for the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, including the unprecedented numbers of more than 545,000 refugees and 688,000 internally displaced persons, where half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. They reiterated their demand that all parties allow and facilitate the full, safe, immediate and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need. They encouraged Member States to scale up funding to urgently respond to the humanitarian needs in the country.
The members of the Security Council recalled the adoption of resolution 2399 (2018) and emphasized in that regard the critical importance of effective implementation of the sanctions regime, including the key role of the Central African Republic authorities, neighbouring States, as well as regional and subregional organizations in this regard. They recalled that committing acts of incitement to violence, in particular on an ethnic or religious basis, and then engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the Central African Republic can now be a basis for sanctions designations pursuant to resolution 2399 (2018).
The members of the Security Council welcomed the visit of the Secretary-General to the Central African Republic from 24 to 27 October 2017 and renewed their strong support to its Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga and to MINUSCA in the implementation of its mandate in support of Central African Republic authorities, in particular the protection of civilians, including through a proactive and robust posture, the support to the peace process, and the creation of a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in accordance with resolution 2387 (2017). In particular, they paid tribute to MINUSCA for its operation “Mbaranga” in Paoua in January to protect civilians. They also encouraged the efforts undertaken to continue optimizing MINUSCA’s performance and looked forward to the reporting on troop- and police-contributing country performance. In this regard, they took note of the special independent investigation on serious attacks against civilians that occurred in the south‑eastern prefectures from 1 May to 31 August 2017 and MINUSCA’s response to these incidents, and called on the Secretariat and MINUSCA to report on the implementation of its recommendations. They finally welcomed current efforts by the Secretariat to generate the additional authorized forces without delay to increase MINUSCA’s flexibility and mobility pursuant to operative paragraph 32 of resolution 2387 (2017).
The members of the Security Council noted the various measures taken by MINUSCA and troop- and police-contributing countries to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, which has led to a reduction in reported cases, but still expressed grave concern over allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse reportedly committed by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, as well as non-United Nations forces, and reiterated the need for troop- and police-contributing countries, and as appropriate, MINUSCA, to promptly investigate those allegations.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the work carried out by the European Union Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM‑RCA), as well as the support of other international and regional partners to the training and the enhancement of capacities of the national security and defence forces, and underlined the importance of effective coordination with MINUSCA and EUTM-RCA in this regard. They also took note of the ongoing good collaboration between the Central African Government and international partners, including MINUSCA and EUTM‑RCA, to prepare the sustainable redeployment of the Central African armed forces trained by EUTM-RCA within the broader framework of the extension of the State authority and security.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the commitment of the Secretary-General to present recommendations on the support that MINUSCA could provide to the progressive and coordinated redeployment of Central African Armed Forces units trained by EUTM-RCA to the Security Council for its consideration and possible approval by 15 May 2018 in line with operative paragraph 43(a)(iv) of resolution 2387 (2017).