Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Central African Republic/ MINUSCA
National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), 23 October 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
Let me begin by thanking all the briefers for their valuable input and perspectives, and also for their efforts to build peace in the Central African Republic. A special thanks to our colleague Ambassador Adom for his leadership of the Sanctions Committee as well.
We have been encouraged by the commitment of President Touadéra to advance the peace process, including recently at the High-Level meeting during the UNGA. National ownership and leadership is of course critical to make progress. Unified, well-coordinated and transparent international support is now needed. We therefore fully support the AU-led African Initiative, as a framework for all international engagement. We also welcome the proposal to appoint a Special Envoy to lead this initiative. This envoy should be supported to mobilize and coordinate regional and international engagement. MINUSCA should also have a strong role in supporting this process.
The African Initiative should however become more inclusive in its approach. In its current composition, there is for instance no space for civil society. Women hold key roles as mediators in local initiatives, and we believe there is potential for increased participation of women in the African Initiative’s Panel of Facilitators, as well as women as parties to the dialogue. We encourage the SRSG, as a new member of the Panel, together with Special Representative Nébie and others to work for greater inclusion of civil society, as well as the participation of women.
Progress in advancing the peace process is important also for stable and credible elections in 2020/2021. We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation to include limited logistical support to the electoral process in the MINUSCA mandate. This is needed to strengthen capacity, and ensuring that the constitutional timeline can be met.
The security situation remains volatile. We are concerned about continued widespread violence by armed groups, as well as targeted attacks against civilians and aid workers. Sexual and gender based violence is increasingly used as a weapon of war. Women have become an expendable “currency” in the political economy of this war. The Council sent a strong signal earlier this year by making SGBV-crimes a stand-alone designation criterion for the sanctions regime. This new criterion must now be effectively and actively implemented.
We like others commend and pay tribute to MINUSCA for impressive efforts in a very challenging and often dangerous environment. Given this dire security situation, MINUSCA must be able to effectively exercise its core mandate to protect civilians, and do this increasingly in partnership with national defense and internal security forces. There are good examples. The robust and positive operations in the North-Western province of Ouham-Pendé have led to a reduction in attacks on civilians and return of internally displaced persons. These operations have been based on a proactive approach by MINUSCA and coordinated with FACA activities.
We therefore support the recommendation that MINUSCA should provide limited logistical support to national defense and security forces, allowing it to increase its footprint outside Bangui. Central African security forces must be able to be fully operational in a manner that is sustainable. A formal monitoring process should be put in place to ensure that MINUSCA’s support is in full compliance with the UN Human Rights Due Diligence policy. The EU and its Training Mission has already made important contributions in this regard. Trilateral efforts between the UN, the EU and the African Union can play a significant role in restoring peace and security in the country.
We welcome efforts to address sexual exploitation and abuse in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and the new policy of the Secretary-General. We note with concern though, that nine new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse have been recorded against MINUSCA forces during the reporting period. We expect that these cases will be swiftly followed-up in accordance with agreed procedures.
With regards to the upcoming mandate review, we welcome the initiative by the Peacebuilding Commission’s CAR-configuration to provide observations to the Security Council. These observations include the importance of strengthened international support to the government in its implementation of reforms and advancement of the political peace process, and should now be duly considered in our review process.
As part of the peacebuilding efforts, transitional justice will be critical. The people of the Central African Republic have repeatedly expressed their demand that past grievances must be addressed. We therefore welcome the progress made in establishing the Special Criminal Court, and encourage further steps to secure financial support and political commitment for its functioning.
The humanitarian challenge in the CAR is immense. Half of the population is in need of assistance, and only about a third of the appeal is funded. More funding is urgently needed. But we also need initiatives that combine development, humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts for long-term sustainable peace.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
We must remain mobilized and united in our efforts to support the Central African Republic. The situation remains fragile, and only by working together can we help the country towards lasting peace.
I thank you.