The situation in the Central African Republic is a tragedy. The country’s entire population — more than 4.5 million people — is being affected by a humanitarian crisis. The people are being terrorized by militias engaging in the worst sorts of abuses. Murder, rape and looting are the daily lot of thousands of men, women and children. The State, which has collapsed, is unable to protect its population, and the country is now in danger of succumbing to interreligious violence between Christians and Muslims.
History teaches us what can happen. It commits us to avoid the worst, and it compels the Security Council to act. The country risks descending into chaos, with uncontrollable and unpredictable effects on the entire region. The risk for mass atrocities exists, as has been unambiguously pointed out by the Secretary-General and the entire community of non-governmental organizations.
Hitherto, the Central African Republic had been a forgotten crisis of the sort in which the media were not interested. Given the crisis itself, however, indifference and inaction were not options. France felt it was our collective duty to support action by the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States to prevent mass atrocities.
In his statement at the general debate in September, the President of the French Republic was the first to sound the alarm and call for resolute action by the Security Council (see A/68/PV.5). And France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, along with the European Union and the United Nations, held a high-level meeting to highlight the humanitarian emergency. The interreligious incidents that occurred this morning in Bangui, with dozens of civilian deaths, only serve to underscore that it is high time to act.
The adoption of resolution 2127 (2013) finally makes it possible to take the awaited steps to support the African Union. The African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) is endowed with a robust mandate under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations that will allow it to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and neutralize armed groups that refuse to comply with instructions for cantonment and disarmament.
In accordance with the request made by the African Union and the transition authorities, the French forces also have a Chapter VII mandate from the Security Council to support MISCA. To that end, the number of French forces will be strengthened in the very near future. France wishes to thank all partners, particularly in Europe, that will support the operation to be carried out in the context of this resolution.
The United Nations will be responsible for supporting the financial mobilization in favour of the African Union. I note that the European Union, which is contributing €50 million, will be, as in Somalia, the top contributor to African Union operations. Other contributions will be mobilized on the occasion of the forthcoming donors conference.
Pursuant to the request of the African Union and the recommendations of the Secretary-General, this resolution lays the groundwork for the future. It calls on the Secretariat to undertake the preparations necessary for the eventual deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation and to prepare a concept of operations within a maximum period of three months.
Although restoring security is the priority, the resolution also steps up efforts with regard to elements that are key to the future of the Central African Republic. First, with regard to support for the transition process, the Council explicitly recalls the prohibition against the current transitional authorities participating in the elections, which are to be held by February 2015 at the latest. It also indicates its intention to adopt individual sanctions against individuals who threaten the transition process and thus fuel violence. Secondly, on the fight against human rights violations, at Rwanda’s initiative, an international commission of inquiry based on the Darfur model will be created. It will report its findings within six months.
The Security Council has finally shaken off its indifference. It is shouldering its responsibilities to support the African countries and organizations that had the courage to be the first to come to the aid of the long-neglected Central African Republic.
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