U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 19, 2020
Thank you, Madame President. Thank you Special Representative for your briefing today, and thank you as well to the briefers from the AU and from the EU.
The Central African Republic has faced significant difficulties in the last year. This includes challenges responding to COVID-19, the arduous work of implementing the 2019 Peace Agreement, as well as preparing for a free, fair, and democratic election. However, as we said during the October 1 high-level meeting on the Central African Republic convened by the Secretary-General, the United States remains a strong partner ready to support the country and to foster its potential.
Madame President, today I will focus my remarks on the three challenges most directly affecting the Central African Republic’s future. First, on peace agreement implementation: the United States calls on all political actors in and outside of the government to respect the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation. This peace accord was not signed with any one political party, but by the sovereign Government of the Central African Republic. With the support and good offices of MINUSCA, the government has made significant progress in fulfilling the peace agreement’s commitments.
In this regard, we call on the Central African Republic’s neighbors and other facilitator countries to acknowledge their responsibilities and work with the government to put in place functioning border controls, re-establish legitimate commerce, and stop the flow of weapons into the Central African Republic.
We also urge the government to demonstrate its commitment to fighting impunity by expeditiously standing up and implementing justice mechanisms, including the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Criminal Court. The United States will continue to help in these important efforts through our assistance in developing the country’s security and judicial institutions. All Central Africans deserve access to justice.
Second, I want to stress the importance of free, fair, inclusive, and transparent elections in December. These elections will be an opportunity for Central Africans to demonstrate the strength and resilience of their democratic institutions, as they choose their head of state and national assembly representatives. We are encouraged by the UN’s efforts to ensure women are both on the ballot and registered to vote. We encourage the government to keep up this momentum to ensure the full, effective, and meaningful participation of women in the elections. Local elections – which have not been held since 1988 – will also be an important gauge of the success of the decentralization initiatives adopted by the National Assembly. While we were disappointed that voting for Central African refugees was not included in the amended electoral code, the United States will continue working with the government and our international partners to ensure the success of these upcoming elections.
And third, I’ll touch on the challenges the Central African Republic is facing because of COVID-19. This pandemic has affected the country’s economy, and further economic difficulties lay ahead. That is why the Trump Administration has provided more than $13.6 million in COVID-related emergency assistance as part of nearly $120 million in humanitarian assistance in 2020. We encourage others to join us and do more to support the country’s struggle against this pandemic.
Madame President, the United States recently concluded a four-week virtual monitoring and evaluation review of MINUSCA. The operational and security challenges in the Central African Republic are formidable by any measure. The scope of MINUSCA’s mandate is daunting. In fact, a recent evaluation of MINUSCA by the “Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network” noted that “MINUSCA has the most complex of all peace-keeping mandates.” In this context, we urge that attention be paid to ensuring full staffing for MINUSCA leadership positions, particularly as we enter this critical election period.
Unfortunately, despite many efforts by the mission to prevent it, we still see far too many instances of MINUSCA peacekeepers engaging in sexual exploitation and abuse. These abuses are unacceptable – they destroy lives, they erode public trust in the UN, and they undermine the credibility of peacekeeping. MINUSCA had the highest number of allegations of all missions in 2019 and in 2020. We urge all troop- and police-contributing countries to enforce the UN’s zero-tolerance policy and to swiftly and credibly address criminal allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN must increase its already strong efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, including by repatriating individuals and units who commit these crimes, as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2272.
We acknowledge MINUSCA’s success in reducing overall violence in the Central African Republic and its multifaceted efforts of negotiation, good offices, and kinetic action to reduce the threat of armed groups. The United States salutes MINUSCA’s relentless focus on protecting civilians, the outstanding work of the Humanitarian Coordinator to make MINUSCA an agile and responsive partner for responding to needs on the ground, and the overall leadership of the SRSG.
Madame President, in this highly demanding context, where the stakes are so high, and mission effectiveness isso critical, we fully agree with the Secretary-General that MINUSCA’s presence is key to maintaining peace and stability in the Central African Republic and we note his recommendation for the Security Council to extend the mandate of MINUSCA for one year, until November 15, 2021.
We should all continue to do everything we can to ensure a prosperous future for the people of the Central African Republic. Thank you.