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Statement on the situation in the Central African Republic

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations Saša Jurečko at the briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic

Thank you, Mr. President,

I would like to thank Special Representative Rugwabiza for her comprehensive briefing today. I also welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic H.E. Baïpo-Temon to this meeting.

Slovenia wishes to express its full support to MINUSCA and its work. We also pay tribute to troop- and police-contributing countries.

President, despite the stabilization dividend brought in part by the multi-year commitment of the United Nations to the country, the Central African Republic continues to face many challenges. In this regard, I would like to make the following three points. 

First, we strongly support the renewed commitment of the government of the Central African Republic to the full implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) and Luanda Road Map. Its pledge of 4.5 million dollars towards the organisation of the local elections shows increased national ownership and is to be commended. The European Union, one of the main partners of the Central African Republic, will also contribute 2.5 million dollars to the UN basket fund established to support the electoral process and we invite the international community to follow suit.

We urge the Central African Republic to ensure that the electoral process is inclusive, transparent and credible. Full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and youth in electoral and other political processes must be guaranteed, as well as an open civic space and respect for human rights, including freedom of expression. Credible elections, combined with other decentralisation measures, will help to ensure stability and further extend state authority across the country.    

Second, we remain concerned of persistently high levels of violence in the country, especially in the border regions. We call on all remaining armed groups, especially UPC and AAKG, to immediately cease their activities and return to the peace process.

The possibilities for a spill over of violence across the region are highly concerning. Uninterrupted flow of weapons, explosives and fighters across borders only aggravates the conflict. In this regard we call on all member states to comply with the arms embargo and other sanctions measures. We also commend border management initiatives by the Central African Republic and encourage other countries in the region to increase their cooperation. 

We strongly support the proactive role of MINUSCA in reinforcing exposed localities and establishing temporary operational bases in order to protect local communities at risk and ensure unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance. However, in order to do so, MINUSCA must enjoy unimpeded humanitarian access and freedom of movement throughout the country. All restrictions preventing uninterrupted use of unmanned aerial systems by MINUSCA should be lifted.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes are a key component of the peace process. To be effective, they need to be completed without delays. Any member of an armed group, who wants to be included in such a programme, should have an opportunity to do so. Furthermore, we warn against recruitment of members of armed groups into national defence forces without proper vetting procedures in order to ensure accountability and prevent further human rights abuses.

Finally, we express our appreciation to MINUSCA for the timely presentation of the annual human rights report and to the Central African Republic for its meaningful participation in the process. We call for the full implementation of recommendations contained in the report.

However, we share the concern by the reports on continued violations and abuses of human rights, grave violations of children’s rights, conflict-related sexual violence and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by all sides to the conflict. Further efforts must be made to stop them, and hold all perpetrators to account.

The issuance of an international arrest warrant against former president Bozize by the Special Criminal Court for crimes against humanity is a welcomed sign that there will be no impunity for violators of human rights. We wish to see all perpetrators of international crimes in the Central African Republic brought to justice.

In conclusion, President, Slovenia will continue to support the Central African Republic and its people on the way towards lasting peace, sustainable development and political stability.

I thank you.

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