France is committed to the stabilizing of Central Africa [fr]
Central Africa and the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 4 June 2019
Allow me, first of all, Mr. President, to wish Eid Mubarak to you and your team and all those celebrating today. I would also like to congratulate you on your accession to the presidency of the Security Council during the month of June, throughout which you can count on France’s full support.
I would also like to thank Special Representative François Louncény Fall for his briefing and for his work at the helm of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). The situation in Central Africa continues to be marked by political situations that are often volatile, fragile post-electoral circumstances and persisting abuses by Boko Haram, as well as violence related to transhumance and the predatory activities of certain armed groups.
In this context, the action taken by the Special Representative demonstrates the full added value of a regional approach to better understanding the dynamics of Central Africa and strengthening the preventive approach taken by the United Nations within the region. France therefore assures him of our full support, both in his missions of good offices and preventive diplomacy and in his missions to provide support to regional initiatives, particularly those of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). We hope that the upcoming strategic review will help to reinforce the work of UNOCA on all fronts.
I would like to underscore three situations that we believe merit a particular mention today: the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Boko Haram.
First, regarding the Central African Republic, the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic on 6 February in Bangui laid the prospects for an end to the crisis and for lasting peace in the Central African Republic. It is therefore essential that the Central African parties implement the agreement in good faith and in a timely manner. The recent violence by the Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation group in the Paoua region, leaving more than 50 civilians dead, must be particularly condemned. This constitutes a serious violation of the commitments made by that armed group, especially given it is a signatory to the peace agreement.
In this context, stopping the violence committed by such groups, as well as disarming and demobilizing them, in addition to the progressive restoration of State authority throughout the country, must be a priority in the implementation of the peace agreement. The Government must also initiate the process of adopting a law on decentralization and move to establish a truth, justice, reconciliation and reparations commission. The decentralization of transitional justice ensures that local administration is brought closer to the population and rendered more effective. This will also serve as a response to the demand for justice expressed by the people of the Central African Republic.
If the implementation of the peace agreement is to be successful, it is vital that the international community be fully engaged in a coordinated manner in the political and financial contexts. As such, the African Union, ECCAS and the countries of the region, as guarantors of the agreement, have a particularly important role to play. We therefore encourage the African Union and ECCAS to pursue their efforts, in close cooperation with the United Nations, and encourage the countries of the region to engage even further.
I now turn to the situation in Cameroon, on which we align ourselves fully with the assessment of the Special Representative. As we have stated on previous occasions, France is incredibly concerned about the deterioration of the situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. The human casualties have been heavy, the humanitarian situation is increasingly difficult and attacks on humanitarian and medical personnel, health-care infrastructure and schools are on the rise. The protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights and the guarantee of humanitarian access throughout the country are, nevertheless, non-negotiable obligations that must be prioritized above all else.
In this context, France is pursuing its efforts to encourage the Cameroonian authorities to launch an inclusive political dialogue, to implement measures to reduce tensions and to entrench decentralization. France also calls on all stakeholders to end the violence, ensure the restoration of the rule of law and respect the territorial integrity of Cameroon, which cannot questioned. To echo the point the Special Representative has just made, we believe that similar messages conveyed by the African Union and the region would be most useful in this regard. Moreover, we consider the recent visit of the Prime Minister to the North-West and South-West regions, his statements pertaining to the launching of dialogue and information on initial contacts with the parties concerned to be positive signs.
These announcements must now be implemented as soon as possible.
Regarding my final point, concerning Boko Haram, we remain concerned about the group’s activities in the Lake Chad basin region, despite the robust response of the countries of the region. Only the restoration of security will allow for the redeployment of basic services, the resumption of economic activity and longer-term development actions. France will therefore continue to support the Multinational Joint Task Force in its fight against terrorism. The reintegration of former combatants, reconciliation and the protection of women and youth are also vital to sustainably stabilizing the region.
United Nations regional offices such as UNOCA, are essential to enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations conflict prevention efforts. France will therefore continue to support the critical development of United Nations activities, in a spirit of strengthened partnership with African regional and subregional organizations.