29 May 2013 - Security Council - Activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and on the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected areas - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the
Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations
Regional Office for Central Africa, for his briefing on
the situation in Central African Republic, the activities
of the United Nations Regional Office for Central
Africa (UNOCA), and the efforts to combat the Lord’s
Resistance Army (LRA).
The many political and security challenges
in Central Africa require additional cooperation
from all national, regional, subregional and United
Nations stakeholders. In that regard, we welcome the
connections made between UNOCA and the Economic
Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the
International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.
In addition to the workshops and conferences
that are organized on a regular basis at the initiative
of UNOCA, it is crucial for the Office, as a matter of
priority, to concentrate its activities on prevention and
support for efforts to resolve the conflicts within the
subregion. The crisis in the Central African Republic,
the crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the fight against the LRA are matters for
follow-up by subregional organizations, the African
Union and the relevant United Nations peacekeeping
operations and offices. In that context, UNOCA’s
know-how should be drawn upon to directly support
The situation in Bangui and throughout the Central
African Republic following the takeover by Séléka
continues to be most worrisome. In spite of announced
measures to enforce the cantonment of Séléka troops,
public order remains tenuous. Human rights violations
and looting continue. Civilians are the primary targets
of the violence, which further complicates the delivery
of humanitarian aid.
Stabilizing the security situation must therefore
be the priority. We welcome the ECCAS decision
to strengthen the Mission for the Consolidation of
Peace in the Central African Republic (MICOPAX).
Cooperation between the ECCAS, the African Union
and the United Nations must continue to assess how the
United Nations, and the Security Council in particular,
could support the strengthening of MICOPAX, which
is necessary to ensure the re-establishment of order and
protect the people in the Central African Republic.
The crisis in the Central African Republic is taking
on an ever-broader regional dimension. Humanitarian
needs are growing every day. At the moment, there are
approximately 206,000 displaced persons and 50,000
refugees, primarily in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Chad, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo.
One million three-hundred thousand people are in a
situation of food insecurity. Against that backdrop, the
international humanitarian response remains, for the
time being, much too weak. The urgent appeal launched
by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs has only been covered up to 27 per cent of the
On the political front, the efforts of ECCAS and
the N’Djamena summits of 3 and 18 April allowed for
the development of a transition framework with a view
to the holding of elections in 18 months. The contact
group meeting in Brazzaville on 3 May confirmed that
positive momentum and encouraged the partners of
the Central African Republic to support the transition.
With the support of the international community, the
Prime Minister and the transitional authorities must
together make every effort to ensure that the agreed objectives are met, especially that of strengthening the
representative character of the transitional authorities.
While the efforts to stabilize the Central African
Republic continue, the fight against the threat posed
by the LRA must also continue tirelessly. The rebels
led by Joseph Kony, who is himself sought by the
International Criminal Court (ICC), continue their
atrocities, primarily in the Central African Republic
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also in
the Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. Over 25 years, the
group has killed more than 100,000 people in Central
Africa. And it has kidnapped or forcibly recruited
between 60,000 and 100,000 children and displaced
2.5 million people.
We welcome the concrete progress made by the
African Union to strengthen the tools for fighting
the LRA. The African Union Regional Task Force
against the Lord’s Resistance Army now comprises
3,500 troops. Its concept of operations and rules of
engagement have been finalized. We encourage close
cooperation between the Regional Task Force and the
United Nations peacekeeping operations on the ground
to achieve the disarmament and demobilization of the
LRA rebels, the arrest and transfer to the ICC of its
leaders, and better protection of civilian populations.
In terms of the role of the United Nations, UNOCA
has developed an implementation plan for the United
Nations regional strategy to address the threat and
impact of the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army
(S/2013/240, annex). Presented last April, that plan
details the funding needed for projects to combat
the LRA conducted by United Nations agencies
and non-governmental organizations. The plan will
allow for a better structuring of international efforts.
However, it must be further developed and updated to
ensure the effectiveness of the efforts undertaken.
Moreover, peacekeeping operations involved
in the fight against the LRA, such as the African
Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur,
the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have their own
monitoring and coordination mechanisms regarding
attacks and locations of members of the LRA. They
must actively employ those tools to encourage fighters
to defect and to welcome deserters, especially children.
I would like to conclude by addressing a worrisome
trend that the Special Representative of the Secretary- General also touched upon, that is, the growing scope of poaching in Central Africa to fund criminal activities,
including terrorism. This phenomenon, which threatens
both the security of the region and endangered species,
is now well established. In that regard, cooperation
between States in the region, ECCAS, the African
Union and United Nations must be stepped up.
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