The UN Security Council expressed “grave concern” over the security situation and human rights abuses in central Africa and has tasked the world body’s Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) to develop a strategy to address these issues.
Additionally, it has to come up with ways to support regional antipiracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea.
In a statement released last week, the Security Council acknowledged UNOCAs role, in co-operation with partners in the region, in promoting dialogue, its work with the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWAS) to develop a strategy addressing the root causes of the security and humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin and piracy.
The statement highlights concerns over the security situation and human rights abuses. Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, ISIL (also known as Da’esh), the Lord’s Resistance Army and other armed groups, are ongoing. There is continued maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and a pervasive threat of transnational organised crime, including that of mercenary activities.
The statement notes ongoing violence by armed groups against civilians and UN peacekeepers, human rights violations against children and sexual violence. Incitement to ethnic and other religious hatred is on the rise, as well as manipulated hostility towards the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and other international organisations.
The Security Council tasks UNOCA with consolidating peace and resolving tensions following the various elections between 2015 and 2018, working to prevent election-related violence, improving maritime security in Gulf of Guinea, and combatting Boko Haram.
UNOCA, according to the Security Council, should take gender considerations into account (ensuring women play a key role in conflict prevention, mediation and resolution), counter the illicit trade in weapons and develop long-term strategies to build resilience in the face of climate change and natural disasters, which adversely affect regional stability.
To improve regional peace and security, the Security Council called on the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review of UNOCA activities, proposing ways to improve co-ordination between UN agencies in the region. These include UNOWAS, MINUSCA and the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).