Madam President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative, Mrs Rugwabiza, for her briefing and welcome the participation of the Representative of the Central African Republic to this meeting. I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and troop-contributing countries that have suffered casualties, in particular Cameroon.

The Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (the “APPR”), signed five years ago, has led to significant progress in terms of stability, security and peace in CAR, despite persistent challenges. In order to consolidate these gains and continue the process towards a lasting and inclusive peace in the country, we believe that three aspects are important:

Firstly, efforts to fully implement the APPR must be supported and strengthened. Switzerland welcomes the holding of the strategic review of the APPR and encourages the government and the remaining active armed groups to commit themselves resolutely to it and pursue a constructive dialogue, including at the provincial level. The successful and sustainable disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants is essential to encourage other armed actors to join the process. We also welcome the President's announcement to hold inclusive, transparent, democratic and peaceful local elections. This election will represent a crucial step towards decentralising the peace process and firmly anchoring the foundations of democracy.

Secondly, the progress made on the security and humanitarian fronts must be further consolidated. Switzerland welcomes the efforts of the government and MINUSCA to extend the authority of the state throughout the country. For the first time in several years, this authority is tangible in certain provinces. We are seeing a positive reduction in emergency humanitarian needs, allowing greater focus on sustainable development. However, the situation remains fragile and volatile in certain areas. The intensification of activities by armed groups during the dry season, particularly in border areas, threatens the safety of civilians. Protecting civilians must remain a priority. This is all the more important given that the effects of climate change are increasing instability in the region. In this context, Switzerland reiterates the importance of authorising the use of reconnaissance tools, such as drones, by MINUSCA for the implementation of its mandate to protect civilians, and above all for the safety of its personnel, especially the peacekeepers. This represents a collective responsibility towards the troop contributing countries and the Mission's personnel.

Thirdly, respect for human rights and access to justice are fundamental pillars of national reconciliation and essential to lasting peace. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are important requirements for an informed, participatory and democratic society. In this respect, we urge the Central African authorities and media to ensure the dissemination of quality information and to combat disinformation. Finally, while welcoming the adoption of the National Human Rights Policy, we encourage the authorities to continue their efforts in the fight against impunity. The opening of a second case by the Special Criminal Court and the holding of several criminal trials by national courts are positive steps forward. Similarly, in order to respond to the population's aspirations for truth, which is a fundamental step towards lasting reconciliation, it is essential that the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission is operationalized as soon as possible.

Madam President,

In conclusion, Switzerland remains committed to the quest for peace and justice in the Central African Republic. It calls on all armed groups to lay down their arms, and on all Central African actors to commit to an inclusive and peaceful democratic dialogue.

Thank you.



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