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Statement Delivered by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on Central African Republic

Merci Madame la Présidente,


Je voudrais tout d’abord remercier les briefers d’aujourd’hui pour leurs interventions très éclairantes. La présence des Nations Unies, de l’Union Africaine, de l’Union Européenne et de la société civile Centrafricaine au Conseil ce matin démontre l’importance de cette discussion. En outre, cela illustre l’engagement profond de la société Centrafricaine et de la communauté internationale en faveur de la paix et de la stabilité en République Centrafricaine.


Je voudrais remercier particulièrement Madame Ekomo-Soignet. Madame Soignet, votre travail illustre le grand potentiel de la jeunesse à amener du changement ainsi que le rôle crucial qu’elle peut jouer en établissant et en consolidant la paix. Nous partageons votre aspiration d’un avenir dans lequel la jeunesse de la République Centrafricaine pourra prospérer.


Madam President,

The increase in violence, and the targeted attacks on MINUSCA have tragically cost the lives of seven peacekeepers in recent weeks. This alone underlines the urgency for and responsibility of this Council to ensure that the mission is adequately resourced to safely fulfil its mandate. We have a shared responsibility to do that. We welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendations to augment MINUSCA’s numbers. We believe that this Council should support that proposal.


Within MINUSCA’s mandate, we believe that the fulfilment of its priority task of the protection of civilians is vitally important. We remain deeply concerned, indeed moved, by the suffering of the civilian population. The mission simply must have the capacity to help create conditions conducive to the advancement of the political process.


A better, more secure future is depends on peace, which we all know can only come from effective political dialogue. On the second anniversary of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation earlier this month, President Touadéra again indicated his intention to facilitate dialogue. We welcome this commitment. We view its implementation as a matter of urgency. A military approach will not solve this crisis.  We call on all parties to engage in a constructive dialogue to achieve reconciliation and peace. For that peace to be sustainable, it must also be inclusive. A national dialogue of course should include women. It should also include young people, civil society, IDPs and refugees.


Madam President,


Ireland knows from our own experience that the more inclusive the process, the more durable the result. The full, equal and meaningful participation of women is critical. Women must be meaningfully represented, we believe, in both the peace talks and government, including in appointments to the Council of Ministers. We call on the Government, with the support of the UN, MINUSCA and all relevant actors to help to ensure that.


Holding the presidential and first round of legislative elections within the constitutional timeline was indeed an achievement, and one that should be built on now through peaceful and inclusive elections on 14 March. I strongly encourage all parties to engage fully in the electoral process.


The engagement of regional states and organisations has been vital so far, and will continue to be. ECCAS, the AU, and the ICGLR have undertaken important outreach to progress a peaceful resolution to the current instability. As a Council, I believe it is our collective responsibility to support that and engage constructively with them. 


Madam President,


Sadly, the humanitarian situation remains grim, particularly the increasing levels of food insecurity, driven by the conflict. The arrival of humanitarian and commercial convoys to Bangui from the Cameroonian border is welcome. But it is far from enough to offer desperately needed relief. Put simply, the route must be secured as a matter of priority. We welcome the recommendation of an additional battalion to undertake this task. We see this task as urgent.


When aid arrives of course the task is just beginning, humanitarians need to be able to reach those in need without delay. We condemn attacks against humanitarian workers in the strongest terms. With over the half of the population of the Central African Republic in need, it is absolutely vital that humanitarian workers can operate and that humanitarian space is respected by all security actors.


The incidences of human rights violations and conflict-related sexual violence, along with increases in gender-based violence are shocking. As a matter of the most basic human concern, survivors must be able to access care and services, including health, psychosocial support and sexual reproductive health services. We call on all parties, including the national defence and internal security forces, to uphold respect for human rights and for international humanitarian law.


Finalement, Madame la Présidente,


Avant que la paix et la réconciliation soient possibles, il faut que les auteurs des violations du droit international humanitaire et du droit international des droits de l’homme soient tenus responsables. Les audiences dans les affaires supposées de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité à la Haye nous rappellent que la justice peut et sera rendue.


Nous nous félicitons des nominations des commissaires à la commission de vérité, de justice, de réparation et de réconciliation ; et nous attendons avec impatience le commencement de leur travail.


De notre propre expérience en Irlande, nous savons que l’établissement d’une paix durable n’est pas garanti lors du moment qu’on signe l’accord. Cela est un processus à long terme, qui devrait aussi être intergénérationnel. Nous avons une responsabilité de soutenir la République Centrafricaine dans la poursuite pacifique de cet objectif.


Merci, Madame la Présidente.

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