I thank the briefers for their insights from various perspectives.
Norway remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel – including in Tillabéri, Niger – and the loss of humanitarian space.
These crises must be addressed, and prevented from spreading to neighboring countries.
The death of late President Déby of Chad also highlighted the many cross-border linkages in the region. So did the recent loss of Niger's soldiers near the borders to Mali.
We pay our respects to them – and our condolences to Chad, Niger, and to those most affected.
We are encouraged by the progress made by the G5 Sahel Joint Force in fighting terrorism. As a regional response to regional challenges, the Joint Force merits our attention and support.
We understand the need for increased predictability, sustainability, and flexibility. Norway is ready to discuss how this can be done -- including through the U.N., and what this Council can do.
However, some questions still remain -- including: What options can overcome the operational and logistical challenges we see today.
And what support mechanisms are best suited to preventing and addressing violations and abuses of human rights -- and violations of international humanitarian law?
Norway is troubled by reported attacks against civilians committed by members of the Joint Force -- including allegations of sexual violence against women and girls. At the same time, we commend the recent examples where perpetrators have been removed from positions, or prosecuted. We also commend the Joint Force’s implementation of the Compliance Framework to prevent civilian harm. We hope that we have only seen the beginning of these efforts.
Let me be clear: Especially any international support that involves the U.N. would hinge on conduct that is fully in line with the U.N. Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
We recognise that the Joint Force is operating in a challenging context. However, professionalism and protection of civilians must be expected – in strict accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law. Particular attention should be given to children in armed conflict. To this end, Norway will continue to support the Compliance Framework expertly implemented by the U.N. OHCHR. In addition: an increased presence of police would be of help. The Force must also be expected to deliver on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
The positive attention of the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat to the role of women in leadership positions, should continue.
Military solutions alone can never transform conflicts to peace. Security measures must be complemented by understanding and addressing root causes – be it a lack of development, inequality of opportunities, or vulnerability to climate change. We should continue to enhance the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission in this regard.
The fight is not only against violent extremism, but also for gaining the trust of the civilian population through inclusive governance.
This was also a main message in a recent report from “The People's Coalition for the Sahel”. They call it the four “People's Pillars”:
One: Prioritise the protection of civilians;
Two: Create a political strategy to address the root causes of the crisis;
Three: Respond to humanitarian emergencies;
And four: Combat impunity.
I am glad to note that these signals are increasingly being recognized:
The G5 Sahel Summit in N'Djamena focused on a “civilian and political surge”. The road map of the Sahel Coalition also has pillars on: development, return of the state, and basic services -- such as schools and health clinics. In the end, this is what matters to people in their daily lives.
I thank you.