UN: UN official tasks CAR leaders on inclusive, transparent govt

New York, US (PANA) - UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous late on Friday in New York said Central African Republic’s (CAR) considerable progress over the past two years risks being reversed unless national leaders demonstrate commitment to inclusive and transparent governance, and address the root causes of the crisis afflicting the country.

Briefing the UN Security Council, Ladsous said CAR had made considerable progress since April 2014, adding that, "after two years of political transition, voters had cast their ballots peacefully and democratically".

"They have offered a positive example in a region where electoral outcomes are often either known in advance or contested,” he said, noting that the successful formation of a new government had raised expectations for lasting and positive change.

He, however, said that, CAR faced a host of challenges, including a security climate that remained fragile and reversible, and sometimes non-existent State capacities in various parts of the country.

"Division, exclusion and marginalization persist alongside low economic development and lack of access to basic services, especially security.

"Furthermore, armed groups control vast parts of the national territory, presenting a huge threat to civilians," the UN official stated.

Mr. Ladsous also presented to the Security Council, the findings of the UN Secretary-General’s special report on the strategic review of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), carried out from 7 to 17 May.

He explained that the report's goal was to ensure that the mission’s future mandate was adapted to a post-transition stabilization environment that would facilitate peacebuilding.

Recalling the 19 June detention of six members of the national police by a local self-defence group in the PK5 area of the capital, Bangui, he said that incident, as well as reported renewed efforts to unite the ex-Seleka armed group under the leadership of Nouredine Adam occurred alongside an alarming humanitarian situation that had rendered 2.3 million people, which was half the population, food-insecure, with some 20 per cent of the population displaced.

“This is a stark reminder of the fragility of the situation,” the UN peacekeeping chief said.

He also noted that the strategic review recommended that MINUSCA prioritized the protection of civilians, the creation of conditions to facilitate assistance and the return of refugees and displaced persons.

"The most important strategic objective over the next two or three years should be to support the reduction of armed groups.

"In that way, MINUSCA could assist in creating a secure environment for civilians, help to foster government services, establish an inclusive political climate favouring the protection of human rights, combat impunity and expand the rule of law," Ladsous said.

He said the special report recommended renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate for 18 months at the current authorised military and police strength.

The UN official outlined a “sequenced and flexible” three-pronged approach to achieving the proposed strategic objective.

He said the mission would also prioritized the development of a comprehensive approach to addressing the presence of armed groups, including in support of continued dialogue initiated by the country’s President.

Other recommended priority activities would include providing support for implementation of a national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme and a community violence-reduction programme, and the coordination of international support for security sector reform.

He said that, the activities would entail working with the European Union Training Mission and taking a lead role in reform of the police and gendarmerie.

Among other proposals, the UN official said the strategic review recommended continuation of MINUSCA’s urgent temporary measures mandate, at the government’s request, as well as efforts to assist in the formation of the Special Criminal Court to tackle impunity.

"MINUSCA cannot act alone in support of the government’s efforts," he stressed.

Ladsous also noted that, partnerships with Bangui, regional stakeholders and other international actors must underpin the strategy under the principles of complementarity and comparative advantages.

He further welcomed the government’s efforts to develop a mutual accountability framework, saying it should be endorsed by national and international partners, and go hand in hand with the identification of humanitarian, recovery and peacebuilding needs in advance of the donors’ and investors’ conference planned for Brussels in November.

He pointed out that President Faustin Archange Touadera had put together a Cabinet that included representatives from each of the country’s prefectures and had extended a hand to the armed groups.

"The President is clearly trying to break with the past and we need to understand that this is a long-haul effort," the UN official said.

Ladsous stated: "The sense of responsibility demonstrated by the new authorities would be essential to mobilizing collective efforts to defend the gains already made. MINUSCA has to be the last United Nations peacekeeping operation in the country," he emphasized.

Mr. Omar Hilale, Chair of the Central African Republic configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, provided updates on recent developments.

Mr. Hilale said that implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations would help the authorities move towards stability.

"The President is benefiting from strong popular support that must be maintained with international support.

"A transparent and inclusive political process would be the key to ensuring the entire population’s engagement and to facilitating rebuilding of the social contract," he said.

He also added that, "although the new political reality in the country is full of daunting challenges, it also brings opportunities never seen before".
-0- PANA AA/MA 9July2016

09 july 2016 07:35:30

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