Secretary-General Urges Central African Security Forum Ratification of Conventions Curtailing Terrorists’ Access to Small Arms, Light Weapons

Following is UN Secretary-General’s message, delivered by Francois Lounceny Fall, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), to the forty-third ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC), in SAPound o Tome, SAPound o Tome and Principe, today:

I thank SAPound o Tome and Principe for hosting the forty-third ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, and I wish every success to the Sao Tomean presidency. I also thank the Central African Republic for ably leading the Committee for the past six months.

I commend SAPound o Tome and Principe, an island of stability, for the peaceful election that took place last summer. The Central Africa subregion has witnessed a busy, and at times turbulent, electoral year. I have repeatedly expressed concern about election-related tensions, which have led, in some instances, to violence. Lessons must be drawn from recent electoral processes to build consensus on frameworks that will enable the holding of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections. Only through inclusive and genuine dialogue can we achieve the necessary reforms to enhance democratic governance and the rule of law.

I am deeply concerned about the renewed violence in the Central African Republic and the further displacement it has caused. The individuals responsible, and their sponsors, must be brought to justice. It is critical that the region remains engaged in a constructive manner to support the country’s efforts to achieve reconciliation and stability.

In this regard, I welcome the holding of the donors’ round-table meeting, held in Brussels on 17 November, which pledged $2.2 billion in support of the Central African Republic recovery plan and peacebuilding efforts in the country. I also welcome the holding of an Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on 30 November that addressed the situation in the Central African Republic.

The subregion continues to face a number of security challenges, some transregional in nature. Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin region, pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea and the Lord’s Resistance Army know no borders and draw their strength from a lack of coordinated response. The Multinational Joint Task Force, the Interregional Coordination Centre for Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea and the Regional Coordination Centre for Maritime Security in Central Africa are important achievements that need to be supported and nurtured, particularly by the member States of this Committee.

I welcome the recent visit of the Bureau to Cameroon and Chad to assess the impact of Boko Haram. It is my fervent hope that ECCAS and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will closely work together to address these threats. I also hope that they will convene their planned joint Summit on Boko Haram as soon as possible, with the aim of developing a regional strategy that addresses the root causes that contributed to the emergence of the group.

Terrorists and criminals are able to operate because small arms and light weapons are readily available. I note with concern that the Kinshasa Convention, which has been open for signature for six years, has not yet entered into force. I urge the six remaining member States of the Committee to ratify the Convention without further delay. In the same vein, I encourage the member States of the Committee to take the necessary steps to ratify the landmark Arms Trade Treaty.

In these and other initiatives to promote stability in the subregion, the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa and my Special Representative will continue to support your efforts in collaboration with the relevant United Nations entities in the area.

This is my last message to the Committee, the work of which I valued over the past decade. I trust that the Committee and its members will extend the same level of excellent cooperation to my successor, Antonio Guterres. I wish you a productive meeting.

Source: United Nations

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