Belgium: UN deputy chief urges donors to support peace consolidation in CAR

Brussels, Belgium (PANA) - United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has urged an international conference for the Central African Republic (CAR) to show solidarity and pledge the necessary financial support to the Government-identified priorities and reforms needed for the African country’s rehabilitation and stabilization.

“The Central African Republic is at a crossroads and we need to do all we can to support and unite the forces of good in the country,” Mr. Eliasson said in his remarks to the conference on Thursday, co-organized in the Belgian capital, Brussels, by the European Union, the Central African Government, the UN and the World Bank. The event aims to secure US$1.5 billion in funding to ensure a recovery and peacebuilding in CAR for the next three to five years.

The Conference agreed a Framework of Mutual Accountability for the country, according to a UN statement.

Mr. Eliasson stressed that peace and security, recovery, development, stabilization and human rights must go hand in hand, and noted the need for progress on the political front and for dialogue. “But without the rule of law, stabilization efforts will be futile,” he underscored.

Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country into civil conflict in 2013. Despite significant progress and successful elections, the CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest. More than 13,000 UN staff are currently based there as part of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country, known as MINUSCA.

“Less than three years ago, the [country] was on the edge of the abyss. We all remember images of the bloodbath, which flooded the media and caused a shock wave around the world,” Mr. Eliasson recalled, noting that the international community reacted by deploying troops from the subregion, the African Union (AU), France, the EU and the United Nations.

Noting his recent visit to the CAR, he said the security situation remains fragile. “Armed groups continue to pose a threat to civilians and destabilize the authority of the State. The troublemakers resort to violence to disrupt the political process and promote their interests. Human rights violations remain endemic and have multiplied with the recent intensification of violence,” he said.

The UN deputy chief went on to describe a country facing a disastrous humanitarian situation, with some 40 per cent of the population needing some form of humanitarian aid. Moreover, one fifth of the population has been displaced within the country or in neighbouring countries. “Many of these displaced are afraid to return home,” he added.

Stressing the importance of the Framework for Mutual Commitment between the Central African Government and the international community, which was to be signed by the President of the CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadera, Mr. Eliasson said: “This agreement will support the political advancement at the highest level to promote peace and ensure the implementation of the National Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding.”

“Coordinated and well-planned initiatives, such as those articulated in the National Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding will be paramount," he continued, noting that “while we are committed to all these fronts, the priority of saving lives must remain essential.”

Mr. Eliasson also stressed that progress on the political front is “more essential than ever, especially as a result of recent violence in the capital, Bangui, and elsewhere in the country".

He welcomed the recent adoption by the Central African authorities of key reforms and strategies on demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR), the security sector, police reform and reconciliation.

Stressing that “the United Nations will do its part,” Mr. Eliasson announced the immediate availability of US$15 million from the UN Peacebuilding Fund to cover relevant peacebuilding needs.

“Our peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, will continue to firmly counter the actions of troublemakers to prevent violence, ensure security and protect civilians," he warned.

He said that the UN will also continue political dialogue with the Government on the main priorities of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, security sector reform, reconciliation and social cohesion, restoration of state authority and the fight against Impunity.
-0- PANA MA 18Nov2016

18 november 2016 05:58:19

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