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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel

Je voudrais commencer en répétant l’expression des condoléances du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères d’Irlande aux victimes et aux familles qui ont été touchés par l’attentat odieuse qui s’est passée au Niger la semaine dernière. Cet incident souligne le besoin urgent des efforts renforcés par rapport à la protection des civiles à travers le Sahel.


Je voudrais remercier Monsieur Lacroix et Madame Sinare pour leur contributions ce matin et je me félicite particulièrement de la présence de l’Ambassadeur Baroud ce matin.


Monsieur le Président,


La coopération régionale est essentielle afin de réaliser la paix et la sécurité au Sahel. Nous reconnaissons les efforts continus des Etats du G5 Sahel dans la promotion de la paix et la sécurité dans la région, ce qui sont soutenues par les contributions de l’Union Européenne. Nous prenons note des rapports de l’amélioration de la protection des civiles dans la région transfrontalière. Compte tenu du nombre élevé des morts parmi les civiles, nous encourageons plus de travail a cet égard.


Nous nous félicitons des options proposées par le Secrétaire-Générale pour soutenir la Force Conjointe du G5 Sahel. La durabilité de la Force Conjointe dépend sur le financement durable et prévisible. Nous espérons travailler constructivement au Conseil pour trouver une solution. Les voix des Etats membres du G5 Sahel sont vitales à cet égard. Une vision partagée de l’avenir au Sahel, et de la Force Conjointe elle-même, représente une partie intégrante du progrès significatif.


Mr. President,


Military action alone will never be enough to end insecurity in the Sahel. Root causes of instability need to be addressed through a holistic and integrated approach.


During the Security Council’s recent visit to the region, we met with political and civil society leaders, and heard first-hand how conflict is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel.  That crisis is compounded by multiple challenges, the challenges of climate change and food insecurity and we know that millions of ordinary Sahelians have been forced to flee their homes. Security incidents, attacks, and kidnappings are a tragic reality daily for the civilians of the region. Access to basic social services, livelihoods, and assistance remain critical challenges.


As we heard today from the eloquent testimony of Madame Sinare, women in the Sahel face many difficult challenges, from under representation at official and political level, to the ongoing and increasing risks of sexual violence and gender based violence. We salute the efforts of civil society, and indeed of ECOWAS, in working to address such challenges which we know are a constant and daily concern.


We also raise an additional concern in relation to the closure of schools, which is undermining educational opportunities for an entire generation of children in the region, and in particular and depressingly, for a whole generation of young girls; who are being deprived of the opportunity they need to grow into the educated young women that Madame Sinare spoke of who can assume supporting their societies to address the challenges, not just at community, but also at higher and official levels.


Mr. President,


A strategically focused and operationally effective G5 Sahel Joint Force has a key role to play. Protection of civilians, respect for the rule of law, human rights, and international humanitarian law are essential to achieving sustainable peace. Ensuring and demonstrating the safety of civilians is vital in rebuilding trust between populations and national and regional security forces. Greater inclusion of women, including at senior levels, can significantly enhance the effectiveness of those operations. More must be done to improve women’s representation within the Joint Force, at all levels. 


We welcome progress made by the Joint Force in integrating human rights into its structures and operations. If not underpinned by human rights, counterterrorism and peacebuilding efforts are ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst. I commend the G5 Sahel member states for their efforts in this regard, and thank the OHCHR for its support also. This work is imperative to the future of the Force


So too is accountability. We encourage the Force to increase efforts to gather and share information on the impact of operations, and, crucially, to differentiate national operations from those of the Joint Force. Adherence to the HRDDP is vital. MINUSMA’s continued vigilance in this regard is also welcome


Ireland remains deeply committed to supporting the countries of the Sahel in their efforts. In addition to our troop contribution to MINUSMA, we will continue to work bilaterally, through the EU and the UN, with partners right across the region to pursue peace and security.


Thank you, Mr. President

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