6 March 2017

Chad: Humanitarian Crisis in Lake Chad Basin - UN Security Council Promises Continued Support

The visiting delegation proffered solutions during a working session with President Paul Biya at the State House on Friday March 3, 2017

Gowing humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin masterminded by activities of the nebulous terrorist group, Boko Haram, may receive special attention from the UN Security Council, donors and other international bodies. A 15-man visiting delegation of the UN Security Council, the first of its kind since the dreaded group started wreaking havoc in Cameroon and other neighbouring countries, has pledged to step up support and advocacy.

Talking to the press after holding a working session with President Paul Biya at the State House on Friday March 3, 2017 to jointly seek sustained solutions to the humanitarian crisis, the leader of the delegation said time has come for things to be done differently. Matthew Rycroft, UK Ambassador to the UN Security Council, President of the Security Council for March and Co-head of the delegation told the press that, "We have come here with the view from New York that there is a large humanitarian crisis in this region which is being neglected." We have, "come in order to end that neglect, shine a spotlight on that situation here and in the Lake Chad Basin and to make sure that the international community, the donors, the UN are stepping up in response," the UK diplomat reiterated. He said factors that have contributed to the complexity of the crisis like the environmental factors, local development, issues related to poverty and good governance need integrated approaches to be sustainably addressed. Matthew Rycroft, like the other co-leaders of the delegation, notably Francois Delattre and Fode Secke respectively France and Senegal Ambassadors to the UN Security Council appreciated the time spent with President Paul Biya.

"We had a full cordial discussion with President Paul Biya and we pledged our continued support to him, his government and to the people of Cameroon for the interconnected challenges that they are facing. What we can do is to shine a spotlight on it, to encourage the whole international community to step up support in response and we can assure you that no longer shall this be a neglected crisis," the UK Ambassador to the UN Security Council and current President said. The working session that held at the Council of Ministers Conference Hall in the third floor of Unity Palace saw a face-to-face discussion between Cameroon and the visiting UN Security Council delegation. President Paul Biya was assisted by Ministers Joseph Beti Assomo, Rene Emmanuel Sadi and Minister Delegate Joseph Dion Nguti. Meanwhile, the visiting 14 UN Security Council Members from Bolivia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay all answered present. The Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Cameroon, H.E. Nikolay Ratsiborinskiy represented his country to bring the number to 15. The outgoing UN System Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi was also in attendance. President Paul showcased Cameroon's legendary hospitality and generosity to the delegation when he personally shook hands with each of the members before the working session as well as handed to each of them Cameroon's 50th Anniversary Medals after the in-camera discussions.

Réactions :

Matthew Rycroft: "We Commend Government's Efforts"

UK Ambassador to the UN Security Council, President of the Security Council for March and Co-head of delegation

"The first element of the crisis is terrorism. We stand with the government and the President of Cameroon in fighting Boko Haram. We have heard the analysis that there have been many successes against Boko Haram but the threat continues. We pay tribute to the sacrifices made and encourage the governments of the region to continue and intensify their work together including through the Multinational Joint Task Force. Secondly, we have been focusing on the humanitarian aspects of the crisis, the flood of refugees. We have been hearing of the refugees from Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African Republic. We commend the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria for signing the tripartite agreement with the UNHCR and we encourage its full implementation. Thirdly, we have been looking at the factors that contributed to complexity of the crisis; the environmental factors, local development, issues related to poverty and good governance. All these things are interconnected and making sure that there is proper protection, proper human rights and proper focus on girls and women who are disproportionately affected."

François Delattre: « La région du lac Tchad mérite une attention plus soutenue »

Ambassadeur de France auprès des Nations unies.

« Je voudrais au nom de la France et en ma qualité de co-président de cette importante mission du Conseil de sécurité, faire trois remarques. Premièrement, cette mission n'est pas une mission comme les autres. Elle est à bien des égards sans précédent sur trois points de vue. D'abord la région du lac Tchad, qui pour bien des raisons, est une priorité pour la France, n'a pas eu l'attention qu'elle méritait jusqu'à présent de la part de la Communauté internationale. Cette erreur qui est aussi une injustice est aujourd'hui réparée. Et c'est le premier objectif de cette mission du Conseil de sécurité. Je me réjouis énormément que cette mission ait commencé ici au Cameroun. Deuxièmement, cette mission est importante parce que nous arrivons avec une approche innovante, intégrée et globale pour traiter les trois grands défis qui se posent dans la région : la lutte contre Boko Haram, l'urgence humanitaire et le défi du développement. Troisièmement, je voudrais souligner que la région du lac Tchad a vocation à être exemplaire et nous sommes ici pour répondre aux défis que j'ai évoqués. Mais, il faut voir que cette région n'est pas seulement une zone de crise, elle est de notre point de vue une terre d'opportunités pour cette Afrique que nous aimons mais aussi pour le monde. Nous essayons de donner corps à cette vision qui est celle de nos pays et celle du SG de l'ONU de marcher sur les deux jambes : sur la jambe de la paix, et celle du développement durable. Pour toutes ces raisons, cette mission est essentielle. Le fait que nous ayons commencé par le Cameroun après ce diner chaleureux avec le président Biya, en dit long sur le rôle majeur du Cameroun pour la paix et la sécurité dans la sous-région ».

Fode Seck: « Le Cameroun doit demeurer un havre de paix »

Ambassadeur du Sénégal auprès des Nations unies.

« Le président de la République nous rappelait tout à l'heure qu'en plus des 360 000 réfugiés, il faut compter ceux qui n'ont pas été recensés qui habitent chez des Camerounais, les personnes déplacées à l'intérieur. C'est énorme pour une guerre qui a été imposée au Cameroun. Nous nous réjouissons donc que le Cameroun, pays stable, pays de développement et havre de paix soit à la pointe du combat avec les pays de la sous-région pour qu'il puisse y avoir paix et sécurité afin de nous consacrer aux défis du développement durable ».

Michelle Sison: "We Are Your Partners"

US Ambassador to the UN.

"The visit is an opportunity for us to underscore our role not only as a member of the UN Security Council but also as a strong bilateral partner of Cameroon. We are here to support not only in countering violent extremism but also in supporting long-term development and also supporting humanitarian needs not only of the displaced population. We are the largest donor with 3.6 million dollars over the past year. But beyond that, what we have heard from the President of the Republic of Cameroon and his Ministers is the special focus that Cameroon has had and we are looking on how all of us can best support women, girls and the youth who are directly targeted by Boko Haram and who have suffered as victims but who are now being integrated in a variety of programmes in partnership with all of us and the government of Cameroon so that their lives and the lives of their children can be improved. These women, girls and young people are part of the solution. By giving them the education, entrepreneurial skills and the economic opportunity, they can contribute to making a stable and prosperous region. So, we are your partners and we are with you." Propos recueillis

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