Central African Republic ‘very volatile’, despite important progress – UN peacekeeping chief

Despite a successful presidential election and other noteworthy progress, the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to be plagued by violence and volatility, the UN peacekeeping chief told the Security Council on Tuesday.

UN News | Updated: 25-02-2021 08:26 IST | Created: 24-02-2021 23:49 IST
Central African Republic ‘very volatile’, despite important progress – UN peacekeeping chief
Mr Lacroix told the Council that as “the main guarantor of security for the civilian population”, MINUSCA is addressing the volatile situation and responding to increased protection needs. Image Credit: Twitter(@UNGeneva)

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, praised the peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSCA, in providing security to thousands of internally displaced, helping to safeguard democratic order and protecting civilians "in the face of persisting attempts by the armed group coalition to asphyxiate the country".

However, notwithstanding these "outstanding efforts", he upheld: "The situation remains very volatile".

Alarming humanitarian situation

At the same time, insecurity has blocked the passage of more than a thousand trucks carrying lifesaving supplies, food and medical necessities, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing violence has also resulted in "significant renewed displacement and increased humanitarian needs and pushed civilians to again seek refuge in neighbouring countries", said Mr Lacroix.

The Central African Republic "is now the most dangerous place for humanitarian work", he added, noting that it accounted for over 46 per cent of worldwide incidents registered by international non-governmental organizations last month.

Glimmer of hope

And yet, in "a major achievement", the country is on track to successfully conclude a democratic transfer of power within the constitutional timeline, according to the UN official.

Two years since its signing, the Political Agreement remains "the only viable framework for peace", said Mr Lacroix.

"It is now essential that these democratic gains are preserved by completing the electoral process and advancing a peaceful resolution to the crisis", he asserted.

To start "healing the national trauma", the UN peacekeeping chief advocated for "inclusive and meaningful dialogue...without delay" and for the international community to support national efforts by "promoting cooperation and coherence in the peace process".

Bolstering the mission

Mr Lacroix told the Council that as "the main guarantor of security for the civilian population", MINUSCA is addressing the volatile situation and responding to increased protection needs.

However, warning that the mission is being overstretched, he recommended the addition of 2,750 military and 940 police personnel to "strengthen MINUSCA's ability to implement its priority mandated tasks...namely, to protect civilians, create the conditions for progress in the political process, and to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance".

Against the backdrop of seven peacekeepers killed in hostile attacks during electoral violence and two others in the line of duty during the same period, Mr Lacroix upheld that augmentation would also contribute to safeguarding UN staff.

A reinforcement would "address increased needs, as well as the existing capacity of MINUSCA", he continued, pointing to ongoing efforts to optimize the peacekeeping mission's performance.

MINUSCA/Hervé SerefioA woman casts her vote at a polling centre in the Central African Republic.

Advancing peace

Mr Lacroix painted a picture of rising human rights violations, increased civilian abductions and killings. Attacks against humanitarian workers, extrajudicial executions and conflict-related sexual violence are also on the rise, and he said that advancing peaceful dialogue must be coupled with fighting impunity, including for grave crimes committed in the electoral period.

"This will require a commitment by national authorities to pursue accountability for violations by State and non-State actors, while safeguarding human rights and preserving and expanding civic space", he said.

The UN peacekeeping chief underscored the importance of reviewing and adjusting security needs with a view to re-establishing operational readiness for national defence and internal security forces.

"The Central African people have suffered so much and deserve our steadfast support and attention", he said, while also recognizing the "bravery and sacrifice" of MINUSCA personnel in this "exceptionally challenging context".

Other voices

Meanwhile, Rita Laranjinha, Managing Director for the European External Action Service in Africa, outlined for ambassadors her support for all efforts to end impunity for rights abuses, as a key component of reconciliation and a sign of respect to and justice for victims and their families.

She stressed that official corruption must end and urged prompt attention to the "disinformation" and hate speech that endangers peacekeepers and undermines trust in governance.

Kessy Martine Ekomo-Soignet, Director of youth-led peace-building organization URU, spoke of a climate of "fear" that permeates much of CAR society but maintained that the cry for peace was still being heard, loud and clear. MW

"Our hopes are stronger than our fears", she said, calling for redoubled efforts to "silence the guns" and honour the dreams of communities for peace.

Visit UN News for more.



Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...


Latest News

Romanian PM fires health minister over handling of COVID-19

Romanias Prime Minister Florin City said on Wednesday he has fired Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu after weeks of mounting tensions over how to handle the new coronavirus pandemic, potentially endangering the center-right coalition governme...

No HC nod for mass prayers at Mumbai mosque during Ramadan

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused permission to a city-based trust to allow people to offer Namaz at its mosque in south Mumbai during the Ramadan period, saying the COVID-19 situation was serious and critical and the safety of cit...

Iran's Rouhani says 60% enrichment is an answer to attack at Natanz site

Irans move to enrich uranium up to 60 purity is a response to the sabotage at its key nuclear facility, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, adding the Islamic Republic had no intention of building a nuclear weapon. After an explosio...

CBSE cancels class 10 board exams, results to be prepared on basis of objective criterion developed by it: Ministry of Education.

CBSE cancels class 10 board exams, results to be prepared on basis of objective criterion developed by it Ministry of Education....

Give Feedback