Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 8, 2022
Thank you, Madam President. Let me start by thanking our two briefers this morning for their informative and useful reports, and my delegation looks forward to reviewing Ambassador Verissimo’s written statement if we are unable to connect to him later.
Let me begin by highlighting two issues that have been raised by several of my colleagues who have spoken before me, two issues that are causing a great deal of harm in the Central African region and exacerbating conflict: the climate crisis and food insecurity. The U.S. government reiterates that the climate crisis is a security crisis and a threat multiplier that contributes to instability in various ways. Within the scope of its mandate, we urge UNOCA to consider ways to effectively assess and take into account the impacts of the climate crisis.
We also remain concerned, as others do, about the impacts of the food security crisis across the Central African region. About 2.2 million people in the Central African Republic are projected to experience high levels of acute food insecurity classified in crisis or worse between April and August 2022, due to conflict, population displacement, and high food prices. Unfortunately, people throughout the Central African region have suffered from significant food, fertilizer, and fuel shortages exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s illegal invasion has affected the entire global food supply chain, increasing suffering and hardship for millions of people across the globe, but has caused particular harm in Africa. We call again on Russia to end its war on Ukraine.
I would like now to talk about several countries in Central Africa where people are owed greater progress towards democratic reforms, as we heard from our civil society speaker. The United States reaffirms the importance of a peaceful, timely transition to a democratically elected and civilian-led government in Chad. We urge the Chadian transitional government to signal commitment to the political transition by reaching a thorough and swift resolution to political-military negotiations underway in Doha. To achieve durable stability and prosperity in Chad, an inclusive national dialogue should begin as soon as feasible and pave the way for a constitutional referendum and free and fair elections.
We also, as others do, remain concerned about the continued violence in Cameroon, including the Far North, Northwest, and Southwest regions of the country. We continue to urge all participants to end the violence. A broader dialogue without preconditions is needed for a peaceful and durable resolution. And the United States supports UNOCA’s role in promoting inclusive political dialogue in Cameroon, and we strongly encourage transparency in efforts to investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuses.
With regard to the Central African Republic, we note the dialogue which took place in March, but urge tangible progress towards the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region roadmap and revitalization of the country’s 2019 peace agreement. We continue to urge the Central African Republic government, and all security actors in that country, to deconflict their operations with MINUSCA in line with existing UN resolutions and ensure their activities do not harm civilians.
Turning to Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, we condemn, as others have, their attacks against civilians. These terrorist organizations continue to threaten the region’s peace and development. The displacement of millions of civilians, compounded by the drought, is a terrible situation that requires significant humanitarian assistance. The United States supports the regional coordination and efforts by neighbors and the Multinational Joint Task Force to combat the actions of these terrorist groups and to implement holistic strategies that address the underlying drivers of terrorism.
The United States also is concerned about the destabilizing activities of the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, whose forces are reported to have committed egregious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Make no mistake: the Wagner Group threatens the safety and security of UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and Mali, and it prevents UN missions there from protecting civilians.
The ongoing reports of human rights violations and abuses by government security forces in Burundi are also alarming, and we call on the government to hold perpetrators accountable and cooperate with international human rights mechanisms.
Finally, Madam President, the victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army, past and present, still deserve justice. The United States offers a reward of up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of Joseph Kony, who is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. We urge anyone with knowledge of Kony’s whereabouts to contact our War Crimes Rewards Program and help bring him to justice.
Thank you, Madam President.