Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 22, 2020
Thank you, Mr. President, and Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, Commissioner Chergui, and Managing Director Vervaeke, for your briefings today.
First and foremost, today, we want to congratulate the Government of the Central African Republic on its efforts to advance preparations for credible, free, and fair elections. We were especially heartened by the Constitutional Court’s recent decision emphasizing that, quote, “any slippage of the electoral calendar should derive from broad national consultations seeking a consensual solution.”
We further congratulate the Government for issuing two decrees that are crucial for the timely holding of the elections. The first set the voter registration period, which starts today and ends on July 28 with the final voters list released in September. The second decree specified that the Central African diaspora will be allowed to vote overseas in 13 countries, including the United States.
According to the Secretary-General’s latest report, the UN recognizes there are approximately 697,000 internally displaced persons in addition to the 616,000 Central African refugees in neighboring countries. Today, we reaffirm our support for efforts to enable and encourage the full participation of refugees and IDPs in the election.
The United States remains committed to helping the Central African Republic hold credible and timely elections that will confirm the legitimacy of the elected government, improve the long-term stability of the country, and reinforce the democratic progress achieved by Central Africans in recent years.
We also continue to support UNDP’s role in providing essential assistance alongside MINUSCA, and we will conduct complementary programming ourselves.
The United States remains deeply concerned though that some armed groups continue to violate implementation of the Peace Agreement with the resurgence of violence perpetrated by armed groups in Birao, Bria, Ndélé, and Obo.
Following the Secretary-General’s March 23 call for a global ceasefire to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we note the FPRC, the FDPC, and the 3R armed groups publicly declared their adherence. However, the Secretary-General has assessed that these statements have yet to translate into action on the ground. It is deeply troubling that the same armed groups professing a commitment to a ceasefire are conducting military operations against their competitors and unarmed civilians.
As we have said before, MINUSCA’s top priority is the protection of civilians, as directed by the UN Security Council. There is no contradiction between protecting civilians and using MINUSCA’s good offices to support the success of the peace agreement – indeed, the two efforts are mutually reinforcing.
Finally, Mr. President, we understand MINUSCA suffered its first fatality due to COVID-19 on June 11 and we want to take this opportunity to express our sincere condolences to the entire mission and the staff member’s family.
Thank you very much.