Expressing their strong concern over the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), the members of the United Nations Security Council today condemned the attacks conducted by armed groups over the last few days in the country's north-east, as well as related human rights abuses.
"These developments threatened the civilian population and the stability of CAR," the Council members added in a press statement. "The members of the Security Council underlined that those undermining the process of consolidating peace, security and stability in CAR should be held accountable."
"The members of the Security Council," the press statement continued, "emphasized the necessity of enhanced political dialogue in order to identify ways out of the current crisis and preserve national unity in CAR."
Earlier Wednesday, the Council received a briefing on the situation in CAR from the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun.
Over recent days, CAR has experienced a flare-up of violence, with a number of cities reportedly falling under the control of armed groups, which, in turn, has led to thousands of people fleeing areas where fighting has taken place.
According to media reports, armed groups have also threatened to overthrow the Government. The groups reportedly want to discuss the compliance of a ceasefire agreement that pledged the release of political prisoners and payment for fighters who lay down their arms.
The central African nation has a history of political instability and recurring armed conflict. State authority is weak in many parts of the country, which are largely controlled by rebel groups and criminal armed groups, according to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA).
Coupled with ethnic tensions in the north, frequent armed incursions by rebel elements from neighbouring countries and the presence of members of the armed Ugandan group known as the Lord's Resistance Army, have added to insecurity and instability in CAR, which also has 170,000 people displaced internally.
"The members of the Security Council demanded that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities, cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui, return to peaceful activities and respect the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement," the Council's press statement noted.
Signed in June 2008, the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement helped bring an end to conflicts inside CAR, with the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA) playing a key role in encouraging the signing of the pact between the Government and three main rebel groups, as well as the holding in December that same year of the so-called Inclusive Political Dialogue between the Government, rebel groups, the political opposition, civil society and other relevant stakeholders.
Amongst other things, the Dialogue called for the creation of a government of national unity; the creation of a national human rights commission; and the launch of a programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants.
In their press statement, the Council members recalled resolution 2031, which they adopted in 2011 and which demanded that all armed groups cooperate with the Government in the DDR process, with the latter being implemented in "a transparent and comprehensive manner."
The Council members also reiterated their call on "all armed groups and the Government of the Central African Republic to renew their commitment to the national reconciliation process by fully observing the recommendations of the Inclusive Political dialogue which resulted from the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2008."