I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her presentation and I welcome the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic and of the representative of Angola at this meeting.
As we approach the period of reflection on MINUSCA’s renewal, Switzerland would like to reiterate its full support for work of the Mission. We consider that MINUSCA's mandate remains fully relevant. While the protection of civilians must remain the Mission's main priority, its role in supporting the peace process, promoting human rights and supporting the extension of State authority also remain key.
Switzerland has taken note of the adoption of the new Constitution and the postponement of local elections until 2024. A free, transparent and inclusive process is necessary to ensure credible elections. Switzerland will continue its cooperation with the Central African authorities, MINUSCA and all partners involved in advancing the peace and reconciliation process in CAR.
In this context, I would like to raise three points:
Firstly, the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) remains the central instrument to consolidate peace in the Central African Republic. More than four years after its signature, the practical implementation of this agreement remains a challenge. We hope that the second strategic review of the political process held in CAR on 23 October will provide fresh momentum to these efforts. As mentioned in the final communiqué of this meeting, the decentralisation of the peace process must be accelerated. We welcome the government's initiatives to deploy the state's administrative and security authorities outside Bangui. This strengthening of State authority must go hand in hand with good governance at the local level.
Secondly, despite improvements in some parts of the country, the security and humanitarian situation remains fragile. Attacks by armed groups and violence in Sudan and Chad have affected the Central African Republic in recent months. More than 50,000 refugees and returnees from neighbouring countries have arrived in the country. In addition, unexploded ordinance and the use of improvised explosive devices by certain armed groups, particularly in the north-west of the country, are further reducing humanitarian space and posing a threat to civilians. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to allow and facilitate rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need.
Thirdly, respect for human rights and the fight against impunity are fundamental to achieving lasting peace. We welcome the recent adoption of the National Human Rights Policy by the authorities of the Central African Republic. The policy provides a basis for preventing human rights violations. Switzerland also believes that it is essential to maintain a democratic and peaceful dialogue between the authorities, the opposition and civil society. For such dialogue to be constructive, it is necessary to guarantee civic space, combat hate speech and respect civic and political rights.
In the fight against impunity, we welcome the progress made in the Central African Republic, both by the ordinary justice system and by the Special Criminal Court, which recently handed down its first appeal judgement. Switzerland will continue to support these efforts by seconding two judges to the Court. To help reconciliation efforts, we encourage the Central African Republic to redouble its efforts to operationalise the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission.
MINUSCA continues to play a key role in the consolidation of lasting peace in the country. We therefore encourage the Security Council to show unity when it addresses the mission's mandate. Switzerland stands ready to work with all members of the Council and to pursue a supportive and constructive dialogue with the Central African authorities.