Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Central African Republic
Statement19 October 2022
Thank you, Mr President.
I want to welcome the Foreign Minister of the Central African Republic to this meeting and the Representative of Rwanda, we look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you so much SRSG for your briefing, which was very helpful. I really want acknowledge the progress that been made under your leadership. You have our full support and Ireland fully supports the role of MINUSCA and its work.
I would also like to extend Ireland’s sincere condolences to the families of the peacekeepers who lost their lives on 3 October after a MINUSCA patrol hit an ordinance device. Explosive ordinance is a worrying threat in CAR, affecting civilian lives frequently. The work of MINUSCA and the national defence and security forces in countering this threat is vital.
We welcome progress in the political situation, including the timeline to accelerate implementation of the political agreement. The engagement of the Government with representatives of armed groups is vital. We encourage all parties to continue to communicate.
We appeal to all signatories to the APPR to commit fully to the agreement. The renewed impetus towards the peace process, shown by the Government, is encouraging. Ireland knows from experience that this work can be challenging, but it is vital. Regional partners such an Angola, Rwanda, the ICGLR, the AU, and Economic Community of Central African States, have been and will continue to be invaluable in supporting the peace process.
Progress on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration is encouraging. It is important that this process takes place in accordance with the national DDRR programme. The recruitment by national defence forces and other security personnel of demobilised former members of armed groups as proxies is extremely worrying, and must cease.
The use of proxies inflames intercommunity tensions and risks reversing hard won gains. The actions of mercenaries, including the Wagner group, in CAR is of deep concern.
We welcome the Government’s commitment to hold elections in 2023, separate from any potential constitutional referendum. These elections must be free and fair, with women engaged at every stage: As voters, as candidates, and as elected officials.
The humanitarian situation is of deep concern and has been exacerbated by violence and the challenging economic situation.
Levels of protection and humanitarian needs are staggering. Humanitarian personnel are saving the lives of Central African civilians, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances and they must never be the targets of violence.
We are deeply concerned regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. We note that armed groups have responsibility for 44.3 per cent of documented abuses. However, state agents were responsible for 45 per cent of documented violations and abuses during the reporting period. Any and all violations of human rights by state agents is unacceptable. Civilians must be able to trust the state forces.
We welcome the investigations and commencement of war crimes and crimes against humanity trials by the Special Criminal Court for the Central African Republic. The recent commencement of the trial of Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, a former Seleka commander, at the ICC should also serve as a reminder to all parties that severe crimes must not go unpunished.
We are concerned about further allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving peacekeepers in CAR. We welcome the recent visit of the Special Coordinator for Improving the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and encourage continued efforts to improve prevention and to hold perpetrators accountable.
We welcome the decrease in SOFA violations. However, they remain a concern. Challenges to the freedom of movement of the mission, including continued restrictions on night flights, make it difficult for MINUSCA to fulfil its mandate. I echo the Secretary General in urging the Government to uphold its commitment to take appropriate measures to prevent SOFA violations.
Once again, I would like to commend you, SRSG, and the mission, for your excellent work in the Central African Republic.