N’Djamena, Chad

09 January 2014

Secretary-General's message to the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) [Delivered by Mr. Babacar Gaye, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Off

I thank His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno and the Government and people of the Republic of Chad for hosting this extraordinary summit on the Central African Republic. I also commend the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), its Member States and the Mediator for the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), President Sassou Nguesso, for their continued leadership and commitment.

The events of last year have caused profound damage in the relationships between Muslim and Christian communities in the CAR. Distrust is high and violence has fuelled anger and a thirst for revenge. The security situation has gravely deteriorated in recent weeks, with unprecedented levels of communal violence. The danger of further upheaval along religious lines is real and poses a long-term danger to the country. I remain extremely concerned.

It is essential to rapidly address this challenge and prioritize reconciliation efforts. I commend the ECCAS Heads of State for proposing an inclusive national conference. This forum should provide all national actors with the opportunity to share their concerns, agree on common challenges, and collectively find a way out of this crisis, including through the preparation of elections.

The quick deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) and SANGARIS forces prevented the situation from degenerating even further. I salute the commitment and sacrifice of African and French soldiers serving to advance the cause of peace. I have appealed to the Security Council to give full support to MISCA. The United Nations will work closely with the African Union as well as all stakeholders in support of the upcoming donors conference in Addis Ababa on 1 February. 

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups is essential.  We must ensure that the conditions conducive to such an exercise are present, including the requisite funding. It is critical that disarmament activities are conducted in accordance with international standards and include all armed groups.

The humanitarian situation remains extremely troubling. Nearly half the population is in need of assistance and one-fifth of all the people of the CAR have fled their homes. In response to the crisis, the United Nations has stepped up our emergency response.

I am also deeply troubled by widespread human rights abuses. In accordance with Security Council resolution 2127, the United Nations is working to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to document abuses and human rights violations.  Together, we must send a strong message that those committing atrocities will be held accountable. 

The horrific cycle of violence and retaliation between communities must stop immediately. The Transition period must be used to establish a solid basis for long-term national stability.  Let us work together in close cooperation to prevent further atrocities and bring sustainable peace to the CAR.

Once again, I thank you for your leadership and continued engagement.