Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Central African Republic

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 18, 2021


Thank you, Madam President. And let me start by thanking SRSG Ndiaye. It’s great to see you again and I thank you for your briefing, which clearly conveys the enormity of the challenges confronting MINUSCA ahead of next month’s mandate renewal. I would also like to welcome Central African Republic President Touadéra, and thank him for his leadership in declaring last week’s ceasefire. I hope this represents a real turning point in the conflict in the Central African Republic; in fact – for the sake of the CAR people – it has to. Thank you also to Commissioner Bankole, Ambassador Skoog for your respective efforts, and for Pamela Derom, for your tireless efforts since the Bangui Forum and for speaking to us today.

And I’d like to give a special thank you – and we all should pause for a moment – to the women and men of MINUSCA, for the mission’s leadership and the troop- and police-contributing countries for their commitment to peace, security, and stability in the Central African Republic. We honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Today I’d like to discuss briefly four points: the ceasefire announced last week, our concerns about recent human rights violations and abuses and allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, the work of the Panel of Experts, and the future of the Peace Agreement.

First, Madam President, the United States welcomes this important ceasefire announcement. We call on all armed actors to lay down weapons immediately and recommit to the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation. Building on this positive step, we reiterate our commitment to work alongside Central African authorities, the UN, the AU, ECCAS, the ICGLR, and other partners to support a peace process. We hope this will include an inclusive and credible dialogue necessary for Central Africans to resolve questions of identity, end the violence, and build a better future for their children.

Second, the United States remains deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations and abuses against civilians, including those apparently directed at Muslim communities. MINUSCA investigations reveal that most civilian deaths in the past four months have been the result of indiscriminate, disproportionate, and excessive use of force by CAR Armed Forces – or FACA – and what the Secretary-General’s report calls “bilaterally-deployed and other security forces.” We all know what this term refers to: Russian-supported mercenaries invited by the CAR government. Reports indicate that FACA and individuals notified by the Russian Federation to the CAR sanction committee as “instructors” have committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights in the name of supporting the CAR government. We hope the announcement of last week’s ceasefire will bring these activities to a permanent halt.

The CAR government has taken an important step in investigating these deeply disturbing allegations and recognizing that perpetrators include so-called “Russian support forces.” Now, it must provide more detail on crimes identified and hold perpetrators accountable. Also, Russia must hold its citizens accountable for crimes committed in CAR, something CAR government officials have said they expect Russia to do.

In a similar vein, we must press for justice for those harmed by UN peacekeepers. I commend the Secretary-General for following the procedures and due process outlined in Resolution 2272. We strongly encourage the Office of International* Oversight Services to continue interviewing victims and to help ensure they receive the support they require. And we encourage all troop- and police-contributing countries with pending cases to take immediate action and ensure accountability for these offenses.

Third, we are concerned that the work of the CAR Panel of Experts has been blocked. The Council approved the panel to ensure independent reporting on the situation in CAR. And we urge the swift resolution of any concerns that some Council members may have so that the Council can resume this important work.

Fourth and finally, I want to underscore that the only durable solution to the crisis in CAR is through full implementation of the 2019 Peace Agreement and inclusive political dialogue. We welcome progress toward the organization of a political dialogue and contributions by regional leaders. We urge all partners to align their efforts to support the Peace Agreement, which would permit humanitarian assistance to reach civilians in dire need. The civilians of the Central African Republic deserve a political solution which will provide peace and prosperity to all, that will save lives – they have suffered far too long. Let us hope last Friday’s ceasefire announcement is the first step toward that bright future.

Thank you, Madam President.