I thank the SRSG for the valuable insights. And I welcome the representative of C.A.R. and the representative of Rwanda.
Let me turn directly to the tragic loss of three brave MINUSCA peacekeepers earlier this month.
Their names were Jasim. Sharif, and Jahangir. They were 31, 26, and 26 years old. Leaving dependents and family behind.
We pay our deepest respects to the fallen – and convey our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones.
In consultation with the relevant and big TCC Bangladesh, we want to share two recommendations:
First: There must be accountability. C.A.R. authorities and MINUSCA must coordinate their investigations as closely as possible, so that the perpetrators can be apprehended without delay and charges can be pressed against them. In the interest of credibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of the investigation, MINUSCA must remain closely involved during the entire process.
Second: The existing operating procedure for evacuation should be re-evaluated and made more effective, and prompt. The missions must be provided with adequate resources and capabilities to always be able to ensure swift evacuation in case of attacks and injuries to peacekeepers.
Turning now to the political situation, we recognise some positive progress.
The Strategic Review Meeting of the Political Process on 4 June was an encouraging step. And as the C.A.R. continues to build on this – and prepare for its first local elections in 34 years – inclusivity should be high on the agenda.
We know that including women, civil society, and other groups in decision-making is a master key to lasting, peaceful, solutions - and successful elections.
Both in daily life, and around elections, it will be important for the Government, and MINUSCA, to ensure that all groups are heard and that no one feels threatened.
We are worried about the proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence, as well as the use of manipulation, misinformation, and disinformation in traditional media, and on social networks.
It is especially concerning that armed groups are threatening women to intimidate and dissuade them from exercising their right to participate in the electoral process. This could further erode trust, and hinder the reconciliation process.
We remain concerned by the security situation in the C.A.R. In the last years, we have seen the addition of elements of the Wagner Group to the security space. It is clear that the use of unreliable mercenaries cannot bring lasting peace and security. The only realistic solution is a negotiated peace through inclusive dialogue, with all affected parties.
We have also seen a worsening human rights situation, including conflict related sexual violence. The number of reported violations of international humanitarian law has also increased. This has to stop.
We are also worried about the continuing grave violations and abuses of international law against children. We urge all parties to conflict to release all children within their ranks.
On the positive side, we note the new national action plan to combat trafficking in children – which must be swiftly implemented with the support of the UN.
In conclusion, we commend SRSG for her leadership, and her efforts to build a trust-based relationship between MINUSCA and the host Government. And we hope it can help achieve progress in all mentioned areas – areas which will also be central for MINUSCA´s upcoming mandate renewal. You can count on our support.