High-Level Meeting on the Central African Republic: Convened by the President of the Transitional Government of the Central African Republic

Published Date: 
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Speaker: 
William Lacy Swing, Director General

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Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Over the past week I have attended, along with many of you, a number of high-level humanitarian and development discussions, many of which have shared a common goal – to sharpen our focus on the challenges facing the global community; and to reinvigorate our efforts to provide humanitarian and development assistance to crisis-affected countries and their neighbours.

The crisis in the Central African Republic, for years referred to as “the forgotten crisis,” can certainly benefit from increased attention. It is fitting that we convene here today to discuss how to support the country and its Transitional Authority at this critical juncture.

It is even more critical that we sustain our efforts in the Central African Republic because of the displacement we have witnessed during this latest, unpredicted outbreak of violence. The drivers of displacement and its farreaching effects have become recurring themes in our discussions at the Sustainable Development Summit, and throughout the 70th Session of the General Assembly. This will carry through to the World Humanitarian Summit next year as well. But we cannot wait – the massive risks that ongoing forced displacement entails make it imperative that we continue to support immediate need of the newly displaced as well as community stabilization, rehabilitation, and peacebuilding efforts, including the disarmament and demobilization of all armed groups in the Central African Republic at this very moment.

I commend the Head of State of the Transition for her vision of peace and long-term stability in the Central African Republic. The country has made strides towards peaceful democratic elections and reconciliation. This progress, along with the future vision that has been laid out here today, must be supported by financial resources and technical assistance, but more importantly, by political will. As is the case in all man-made crises, it is the parties to the conflict that must put people over power; cooperate in principle and in practice; and work towards a lasting and peaceful political solution.

Unfortunately, recent events have shown us just how fluid and unpredictable the situation in the Central African Republic can be. IOM’s recent displacement tracking report enumerated more than 30,000 IDPs resulting from relapse into conflict over the last few days, and more displacement is expected to follow. Underlying drivers of relapse into conflict must be addressed and managed.

With the recent looting of IOM, UN, and NGO offices in Bangui fresh in my mind, I must temper my optimism with realism, and point out that any praise for headway that has been made thus far must come with the caveat that there is still continued violence and displacement, immediate needs to be met, and more stabilization work to be done. Despite recent setbacks, IOM is committed to staying the course in the Central African Republic.

So let us all continue to move forward in a pragmatic fashion, and provide the support necessary for the Transitional Authorities to realize their vision, and the vision of all Central Africans, for a democratic transition and a lasting peace in the Central African Republic.

Thank you.