I would like to start by thanking Special Representative Fall for today’s informative briefing and also express my appreciation for the work UNOCA is undertaking across the Central African region.
Countries across Central Africa continue to face serious political, economic and security challenges that continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic. It is regrettable to witness that these challenges have worsened in the last six months.
The flare-up of violence in the Central African Republic has been most worrisome. Particularly concerning has been the rise of human rights violations in the conflict, most notably those perpetrated by government forces and their partners. Estonia strongly condemns threats made against UN personnel and any hampering of MINUSCA mandate delivery or humanitarian access in the country.
In Cameroon, violence and human rights violations and abuses have continued. Particularly tragic have been attacks against schools and schoolchildren, and the targeting of humanitarian workers. Estonia condemns such attacks in the strongest terms. There is no excuse for targeting civilians or firing at humanitarian aid providers. Accountability for these violations and abuses must be established in order to fight the establishment of a culture of impunity, which would only breed more violence. We welcome steps made in advancing a political dialogue which is the only path to finding a peaceful and lasting resolution to the conflict. The role of UNOCA in supporting mediation and political momentum towards reconciliation in Cameroon is most welcome.
It has been encouraging to witness active regional cooperation in meeting these challenges and we see great value in all regional initiatives which contribute to silencing guns, promoting civil rights and ensuring constitutional order. On the latter we continue to monitor closely the return to civilian-led democratic governance in Chad. Neighborly cooperation is essential for maintaining regional peace and security, ensuring safe and secure borders and also mitigating the effects of the pandemic.
I would like to conclude by noting that the complex and fragile situation in Central Africa continues to be adversely impacted by the destructive effects of climate change. There is no denying that climate change is affecting and will continue to have effects on international peace and security and this threat will continue to grow without focused action to tackle it. We commend UNOCA for addressing this issue in the report.