FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, Head of State of the Central African Republic, said the current General Assembly theme was one of “poignant topicality”, building resilience through hope. The pandemic crisis can only be overcome with more tangible international solidarity, he said, noting that despite limited resources, the Central African Republic has set about containing the crisis, which has jeopardized growth predictions for 2020 and 2021, as well as peacebuilding efforts. If the pandemic were to end within six months, the national economy will have lost 5.8 per cent of projected gross domestic product (GDP); if it drags on longer, the loss will be 8.9 per cent. His Government is working to safeguard financing of national development, aiming for a second programme with the IMF for 2020 to 2022. While the country must invest in a health-watch system and aim for collective immunity of the population, he stressed that universal access to vaccines for least developed countries must be an international security priority.
However, he noted other challenges remain, including preserving an environment threatened by emissions and atmospheric pollutions. Affirming that climate change is clearly caused by human activity, as “we consume more than nature can provide”, he pointed to excessive production of greenhouse gases causing floods and water shortages and overexploitation of fish stocks. Turning to the United Nations itself, he stressed that reform is required to maintain its position as the forum par excellence for multilateralism, especially the historic inequality depriving Africa of a permanent seat on the Security Council. The soul of the Charter of the United Nations is its respect for human rights, which is enshrined in the Central African Republic constitution.
Determined to fight impunity, he noted that after receiving a report from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), documenting human rights violations by national forces, the Government made efforts to shed all light possible through a special commission of inquiry established on 4 May 2021. Similarly, a Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission aims to make a major contribution to the peace process.
He emphasized his Government is committed to democracy, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons, and is preparing for the first local elections since 1988. In the interests of peace and reconciliation, he addressed armed forces of the Coalition of Patriots for Change that continue atrocities on civilians, calling for “unequivocal solidarity”, as national reconstruction requires reducing spoilers. Reiterating a call for the total lifting of the arms embargo, which unjustly weighs on national army efforts to protect the country, he also paid tribute to MINUSCA peacekeepers, Russian Federation and Rwandan forces, and participants of the African Union and European Union.