Violence in Central Africa Threatening Efforts to Eliminate Lord’s Resistance Army, Security Council Notes, Increased Cooperation at Regional Level Vital (presidential statement S/PRST/2014/8)
7171st Meeting (AM)
In a presidential statement adopted today, the Security Council expressed concern at the deterioration of stability in parts of Central Africa, particularly in the Central African Republic, as well as maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, and called upon all stakeholders to increase cooperation to challenge the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and other armed groups.
Oh Joon ( Republic of Korea), the Council’s President for May, presented the statement, which, among others, had the 15-nation Council thank Obou Moussa of Chad, the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Office of Central Africa, noting his leadership and support towards consolidating peace and preventing conflict in the region. The Council also welcomed the appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal as the new Special Representative and Head of Office.
However, the Council condemned, once again, the appalling crimes against humanity carried out by LRA, and demanded an immediate end to all attacks and the release of all those abducted by the armed group. The diplomatic efforts of Mr. Moussa and Francisco Madeira, the African Union’s Special Envoy on the LRA Issue, had helped strengthen regional cooperation and had facilitated continued African Union-Regional Task Forces operations. Such enhanced operations against LRA had recently resulted in several significant defections of LRA fighters and the rescue of women and children from their ranks.
Nonetheless, because of the creation of potential security vulnerabilities resulting from the increased instability in South Sudan could be exploited by LRA, the Council urged all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the Regional Task Forces, providing basic provisions for their security forces. International support was important in such operations, and a continuing advisory and logistical support by the United States, as well as funding by the European Union, was noted.
The Council also urged all relevant United Nations and African Union missions in the region, notably the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and United Nations Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central Republic of Africa (MINUSCA) to continue their efforts to combat LRA. As well, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was mandated to cooperate and share information related to the regional threat of LRA and to coordinate its operations with the Regional Task Force, as well as with non-governmental organizations involved in tackling the threat of LRA.
Preceding the issuance of the presidential statement, Council members heard a briefing by Mr. Moussa, who introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter. The political and security situation in the region remained fragile, and since his last briefing before the Council, violence had continued to undermine efforts to stabilize the area, in particular community violence. The violence in South Sudan had jeopardized the initiatives of the African Union to eliminate LRA, with the Governments of Uganda and South Sudan having to withdraw troops from the African Union’s regional intervention forces. Further, the Boko Haram in Nigeria was a grave concern, with its exploiting vulnerable borders of Cameroon and Chad, and with its abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls near those borders.
However, he noted that the Office’s collaboration with the African Union, and its coordinating of international efforts within the United Nations regional strategy framework to address LRA had resulted in a decrease of LRA-related deaths, abductions and displaced persons, while military operations and the defections campaign had furthered weakened the armed group. Further, the recent convening of the first Interregional Working Group on the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre had reaffirmed the commitment of Gulf of Guinea States to combat maritime insecurity.
Among some of the Office’s achievements during his three-year tenure, Mr. Moussa highlighted the Framework of Cooperation the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) had signed and elaborated with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in 2012. Yet, despite Central Africa being rich in resources, it remained one of the most underdeveloped and volatile subregions in Africa. Its potential, however, was unlimited, and the political commitment of ECCAS member States to address critical challenges, such as the crisis in the Central African Republic and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was evident. Still, underscoring that the subregion remained fragile, he said that, with the Council’s continuing guidance, UNOCA would continue to play an instrumental role in supporting States in the area.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Chile, Australia, United States, Rwanda, Lithuania, Chad, China, Luxembourg, Jordan, Nigeria, Argentina, Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea.
The meeting began at 10:09 a.m. and ended at 11:51 a.m.