MINISTERIAL-LEVEL MEETING ON THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
INTERVENTION OF THE CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE
AT THE 74th SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York - 26 September 2019
During last year’s High-Level Ministerial Meeting (27 September 2018), concern
was expressed regarding the precarious humanitarian situation across the
country. Lately, we have witnessed concrete signs of hope and some positive
steps. Since the signing in Bangui, last February, of the long-awaited Accord
Politique pour la Paix et la Réconciliation en République Centrafricaine
between the Government and fourteen armed groups, levels of violence have
dropped significantly. It must be reiterated that the complex crisis in the
Central African Republic cannot and will not be solved by recourse to violence.
Now that the new electoral code has been validated in view of the 2020/2021
elections, it is imperative that both the season of campaigning and the return
to the polls scheduled for late December 2020 be harnessed as a renewed
opportunity to set the country on the road to lasting peace and stability. The
international community is called to assist the Central African Republic to
ensure safe, free, fair and democratic elections.
In this context, it is crucial to ensure the full
protection of the civilian population and of humanitarian actors in
accordance with the principles of International Humanitarian Law.
The armed groups have committed specifically to upholding these
principles in signing the Agreement. Even though the country is
moving closer to stabilization, there is a danger that humanitarian
needs may be overlooked. An indicator of this is the fact that the
Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019 is less than 50 percent funded.
In particular, we cannot minimize the impact the conflict has had on children in
a country where still, to this day, three million people, some two-thirds of the
population, are in need of humanitarian assistance, over half of whom are
children. In this regard, I would like to note the contribution the Holy See has
made to support the general rehabilitation of the country’s only children’s
hospital, the construction of a specialized center for therapeutic nutrition,
and the continued formation of pediatric medical professionals,to ensure that the Complexe Pédiatrique de Bangui is able to offer high
quality service for many years to come. Pope Francis personally championed these
initiatives following his visit to Bangui in 2015.
The Central African Republic is a country with remarkable potential, not only
from the point of view of natural resources, but above all because of its young
and vibrant population. It is time for it to emerge from poverty and conflict
and for its citizens to move irreversibly along the path of integral
development. While this responsibility primarily falls on the leaders of the
country, it is incumbent upon the international community to help them to make
Thank you for your kind attention.