Allow me to thank SRSG Rugwabiza for her first briefing on CAR to this Council. Many thanks also to
Ms. Lina for your insightful remarks, and all your work to support women's leadership in the Central African Republic.
Norway commends the CAR authorities for organising the Republican Dialogue in March. We hope its conclusions and recommendations will be used to renew the impetus for advancing the peace process and make it even more inclusive.
The core of this process must be the 2019 Peace Agreement - and the ICGLR Road Map remains essential for its implementation. The Government, the opposition, and armed groups all share the responsibility of getting the peace process back on track. And we commend the SRSG for her personal commitment to the Peace Agreement and for her efforts to engage the authorities and the region.
We are encouraged by the renewed engagement in the region, particularly by Angola and Rwanda, and the 4 June meeting in Bangui. It is important that ICGLR, ECCAS and the AU remain actively involved.
For the peace and reconciliation process to be successful, it is crucial that it is as inclusive as possible: all segments of society should be engaged, including the political opposition, those armed groups that have renounced violence, and civil society. The full, equal, and meaningful participation of women is also fundamental to building peace in CAR.
Local elections - underpinned by a credible political process - provide a unique opportunity to extend the democratic space and build peace. We call on MINUSCA to provide logistical support to the preparations of these local elections, and to promote local dialogue and reconciliation.
Norway is concerned about the proposal to change the constitution to allow for a third presidential term.
Norway urges all parties to the armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and international human rights law.
We strongly condemn the reports of relentless gender-based and conflict-related sexual violence, grave violations against children, and the targeting of humanitarian workers. We also condemn the reported targeting of ethnic or religious minorities such as the Fulani and Muslims, including the use of Anti-Balaka as proxy forces. Protection from such violations must remain a key priority for this Council.
Furthermore, in the latest quarterly report of MINUSCA’s Human Rights Division, it is shocking to see that actions by “other security personnel” - which refers to the mercenaries of the Russian Wagner group – resulted in the highest number of victims of human rights and IHL related incidents during the reporting period, followed by the FACA. We call on the CAR authorities to investigate all incidents and hold perpetrators accountable.
Norway welcomes the final report of the CAR Panel of Experts. We hope that all members of the Council will come together to ensure that next year’s Panel of Experts will be able to do its work from the start, with a complete team.
We are encouraged by reports of improved relations between the CAR authorities and the UN, not least thanks to the efforts of SRSG Rugwabiza. And we hope this positive momentum will continue and can be used to improve the fate of the Central African people.