The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium):
The members of the Security Council met on 20 February 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).
The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic (“the Peace Agreement”) one year after its signing in Bangui on 6 February 2019. They commended the efforts of Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his Government to fulfil their commitments as well as the support provided by the guarantors and facilitators of the Peace Agreement, including the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States and the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council expressed concern at the delays in the implementation of some key provisions of the Peace Agreement and urged all the signatory parties to fully respect their commitments. They also urged non-signatory parties and all political and civil society stakeholders to support the implementation of the Peace Agreement, which constitutes the only viable path for lasting peace in the Central African Republic.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned violations of the Peace Agreement and violence perpetrated by armed groups throughout the country, and most recently in the north and in the east of the Central African Republic, and demanded that they cease all forms of hostilities, incitement to ethnic and religious hatred and violence, violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses, including those committed against children and those involving sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, as well as attacks against humanitarian personnel. They recalled in this regard the possibility to apply measures, including sanctions, against non-compliant parties pursuant to article 35 of the Peace Agreement.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their call for neighbouring States, regional organizations and international partners to support the implementation of the Peace Agreement and encouraged coherence, transparency and effective coordination of international support for the benefit of the people of the Central African Republic. They welcomed the meetings of the joint bilateral commissions between the Central African Republic and Cameroon, Congo and Chad and called for the implementation of their decisions and for the reactivation of other similar commissions between the Central African Republic and other neighbouring countries.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the continued efforts of the Central African Republic authorities, in coordination with their international partners, to extend State authority, especially by redeploying the State administration and national defence and security forces and implementing the National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan (RCPCA). They called on the Central African Republic authorities to ensure that redeployments are sustainable, to adopt and implement the law on decentralization, and to strengthen their efforts to implement the RCPCA in order to contribute to the durable stability and sustainable development of all regions of the country and to boost peace dividends for all populations of the Central African Republic.
The members of the Security Council further welcomed the continued efforts of Central African Republic authorities, in coordination with their international partners, to advance the reform of the security sector. They called on authorities to continue to implement their national disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation programme and urged signatory armed groups to join this process without delay. They further called on all the signatory parties of the Peace Agreement to operationalize the special mixed security units following vetting, disarmament, demobilization and training, in a manner complementary to disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation and security sector reform processes. They further welcomed the progress made by the Central African Republic authorities to achieve the key benchmarks established in the statement of its President of 9 April 2019, which resulted in two successive easings of the arms embargo on the Government of the Central African Republic on 12 September 2019 and 31 January 2020, and encouraged them to continue their progress in the implementation of the benchmarks and to address challenges that remain.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the urgent and imperative need to hold accountable all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights. They welcomed the beginning of the investigations of the Special Criminal Court and called on the Central African Republic authorities and the international community to continue to provide support to the Special Criminal Court and the national judicial system. They also called on the Central African Republic authorities to swiftly operationalize the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission in order to meet the demand for justice expressed by the people of the Central African Republic and to contribute to efforts towards sustainable national reconciliation.
The members of the Security Council urged the Central African Republic authorities and all national stakeholders to ensure the preparation of inclusive, free, fair, transparent, credible, peaceful, and timely presidential, legislative and local elections in 2020 and 2021, in accordance with the Constitution of the Central African Republic, and including the full, effective and meaningful participation of women. They called on all parties to refrain from fuelling tensions and to address any outstanding issues regarding the electoral process through peaceful dialogue and legal procedures. They affirmed in this regard that there will be no alternative to the holding of the 2020/2021 elections within the electoral timelines. They also called on the international community to scale up financial and technical support to the upcoming elections.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Central African Republic, Mankeur Ndiaye, and for MINUSCA in assisting the Central African Republic authorities and the people of the Central African Republic in their efforts to bring lasting peace to the country, as mandated by the Security Council in resolution 2499 (2018). They expressed serious concern regarding continued attacks against MINUSCA and recalled that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes. They also expressed serious concern at a recent anti-MINUSCA media campaign disseminating false and unacceptable information on the Mission and its personnel as well as incitement to hatred. They urged all stakeholders in the Central African Republic to stop conducting manipulation campaigns that are likely to incite to violence against MINUSCA and its personnel, recalling in this regard that individuals and entities 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 could meet the sanctions designation criteria specified in paragraph 20 of resolution 2399 (2018) and extended by resolution 2507 (2020).