12 May 2014 - Security Council - Activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Abou Moussa for his briefing and the Secretary-General for his report (S/2014/319). The report of the Secretary-General on Central Africa is illustration of an alarming deterioration of the political, security and humanitarian situation in the region.
At the previous Council meeting on this subject, in November 2013 (see S/PV.7065), I sounded the alarm on the Central African Republic in order to mobilize our partners to address that crisis, which had been ignored for too long. Six months later, the regional consequences that we predicted have become a reality, and the humanitarian crisis in that country is a tragedy. Fortunately, the international community and the Council have rallied. We hope that the concerted commitment of the countries of the region, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and France will finally stop this downward spiral.
As can be seen in the report of the Secretary-General, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is taking advantage of the security vacuum in certain remote areas of the vast country of the Central African Republic and, it is likely, the complicity of armed groups, including the ex-Séléka. While the threat is diminishing in other regions, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we must continue our efforts to ensure that LRA members cannot thrive in those areas such as the Kafia Kingi enclave, on the border of the Central African Republic, the Sudan and South Sudan, where Joseph Kony and his entourage have again found refuge.
We welcome the work of the African Union Regional Task Force of the African Union-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and the commitment of its constituent countries and the partners that support it. The Task Force’s operations were successful, and we hope that the commitment of the main countries concerned will not falter until the threat is eradicated. Such robust military action must also be undertaken alongside continued humanitarian efforts for the victims of that insecure situation. We are happy to read that the number of displaced persons has decreased. We urge the Governments of the region to take interest in the fate of those who have returned home, who are often impoverished and have lost everything.
Finally, we must not forget the need for justice, and thus bring to justice the senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Joseph Kony is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 8 July 2005 that has still not been implemented. We encourage the States concerned that are parties to the Rome Statute to strengthen their cooperation and collaboration with the Court so that Kony can be arrested, delivered and held to account for his heinous acts.
While the threat of the LRA is diminishing, we are now witnessing the emergence of another movement on the regional scene, the Boko Haram and Ansaru terrorist groups. In that connection, the abduction of hundreds of young girls and the increasing attacks claimed by Boko Haram in Nigeria are disgusting. We condemn them firmly and reiterate our support and our sympathies for the Nigerian authorities. The Secretary-General’s report on Central Africa highlights the regional consequences of the group’s activities in Cameroon, and we cannot completely exclude their potential to affect the Central African Republic and Chad. We welcome the initiatives undertaken by States of the region to combat this threat and offer them our full support, including, as the President of France just announced, through a summit for the countries bordering Nigeria to be held in Paris on Saturday 17 May, in order to discuss the security problems linked to Boko Haram. We encourage the United Nations Regional Office to continue supporting the authorities in the region.
There are numerous transnational threats in the region, including not just terrorism but also trafficking in endangered species and drugs, as well as piracy. With South Sudan’s collapse into civil war on 15 December, there is little room for optimism. In this difficult atmosphere, we encourage States and subregional organizations in the region to continue to cooperate, and we call on every State to help them. The support of the United Nations Regional Office is essential and we are grateful for its efforts to conduct preventive diplomacy and dialogue in this area.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Abou Moussa for his commitment as Head of the United Nations Regional Office in Central Africa for the past three years, and to welcome his successor, Mr. Bathily, who has the difficult task of continuing to mobilize the countries of the region to combat these threats and destabilizing factors together.