Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard
U.S. Senior Adviser African Affairs
New York, New York
October 23, 2023
Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Special Rapporteur for your report.
The United States appreciates the Sanctions Committee Panel of Experts investigations of arms dealers and armed groups operating between the Central African Republic and Sudan.
Concerningly, this investigation documents reports of youth recruitment in the Central African Republic to fight in Sudan and Al-Jazouli Abdallah’s transfer of weapons to Sudan for the Rapid Support Forces.
The United States remains concerned about ongoing cross-border movements of weapons, financing, and fighters. We call for greater collective efforts to block arms trafficking and illicit revenues, especially from the mining sector, that enable the perpetration of human rights abuses.
We call on governments in the region to prioritize the protection of civilians, including members of civil society groups, in impacted areas in their territories. This is especially crucial given the influx of people seeking refuge from the conflict in Sudan, who face especially complex risks.
And we applaud UN efforts to monitor human rights abuses, but we are concerned about obstacles to their investigations, including cases in which the travel of UN monitors was blocked.
We call upon all actors to support unhindered investigation of human rights abuses and full accountability for perpetrators.
Whether in border areas or in Bangui, we must prioritize the safety of the civilian population. Central African citizens must be able to meaningfully engage in political processes and civic organizations without fear.
Our question is: how can the international community support the protection of individuals in rural areas, especially given risks associated with participating in upcoming local elections?