Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Central Africa
Statement08 June 2022
Thank you Madam President, and thank you Assistant Secretary General Pobee and President Verissimo for your briefing; I’m glad we could connect you in Libreville after all. And thank you also our civil society briefer, Jeanne-Danielle Nicole Nlate.
Ireland appreciates the extensive activities being carried out by UNOCA to support and improve regional cooperation, including with the Economic Community of Central African States and other regional organisations.
Enhanced cooperation is essential as the region faces multidimensional challenges, including the activities of armed groups as well as cross-border threats to peace and security such as maritime insecurity, farmer herder conflicts and the adverse impacts of climate change on security across the region.
We welcome the republican dialogue in the Central African Republic as an important forum for socio-political actors and community representatives to convene, and look forward to further progress on the path to peace. We welcome the work of UNOCA, in conjunction with MINUSCA, to mobilise support for a return to the 2019 Peace Agreement and the implementation of the Luanda Roadmap.
In Chad, Ireland views the national dialogue process as key to the political transition. We hope that the pre-dialogue will prepare the ground for an inclusive peace agreement. However, elections and a return to constitutional governance are urgently needed, and the security situation should not be used as an excuse for delay. We are concerned by the lack of meaningful participation by women’s groups in the ongoing peace negotiations.
Ireland continues to call for the link between climate change and security to be appropriately recognised in the Council’s work. UNOCA’s approach to climate and security is an example of how this link can be given prominence.
The Council should take note of the effects of climate change on the stability of Central Africa. The Secretary General’s report shows that we are seeing a rise in intra-communal clashes due to water shortages, and floods and drought leading to significant population displacement.
Ireland is pleased to note UNOCA’s implementation of its climate and security project, building on the 2021 scoping study. This work can inform efforts at the national, regional, and international level to address climate and security.
We welcome the ongoing work by UNOCA to further the Women, Peace and Security agenda across the region. Promoting the role of women in governance, mediation and peacebuilding processes, as well as engagement with women-led civil society, is vital for peace and security in Central Africa. We urge all Governments in the region to further integrate this approach.
We have heard again of the dire humanitarian situation facing countries across Central Africa, with significant increases in vulnerability and the displacement of people. Food insecurity is also increasing, exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the consequent global rise in food prices.
The numbers in need of humanitarian assistance are staggering. Within the most affected populations, women and girls are facing higher rates of sexual and gender based violence.
Ireland was appalled by the recent killing of a Médecins Sans Frontières staff member in the Central African Republic. Attacks on those working to assist the vulnerable, including humanitarian, health, and education personnel, must end.
Ireland condemns such attacks and calls for perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights to be held accountable. We urge all parties to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance.
Finally, Ireland welcomes the steps that are being taken in many countries in the region to strengthen their national human rights institutions. However much still needs to be done.
Human rights violations and abuses against civilians in Cameroon are persisting, with inexcusable attacks against schools now having deprived 700,000 students of their right to education.
In Chad too we are concerned at the violent repression of peaceful protests, the decline of press freedoms and the shrinking civil society space.
President, as I conclude I would like to express our sincere thanks to Francois Fall. As the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative, he has made a lasting contribution in support of peace and stability in Central Africa. We appreciate all that he has done and wish him all the best for the future.