THE Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, UNOWAS, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has briefed the United Nations Security Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the activities of UNOWAS.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is severely impacting an already precarious security situation “is likely to exacerbate existing conflict drivers with implications for peace and stability in the region,” warned the Special Representative during his briefing to the UN Security Council.
Highlighting the deterioration of the security situation, the Special Representative said that “recent months have witnessed recurrent complex terrorist attacks against the civilian population and security forces.”
He noted that in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, “attacks have been accompanied by forced recruitment of children and abductions while exacerbating the humanitarian consequences on the populations of the affected areas.” Ibn Chambas voiced Human rights groups’ concerns over alleged abuses by self-defense militias and by security and defense forces, as some communities have resorted to them for protection, and urged authorities to do their utmost to ensure respect of human rights principals.
The Special Representative encouraged the United Nations System to “remain committed to working with all partners in order to enhance a more holistic and sustainable approach towards latent ethnic animosities and the absence of the State in peripheral areas,” emphasizing the fact that these challenges are being used by terrorist groups to advance their agenda.
In this regard, SRSG Ibn Chambas reiterated UNOWAS commitment to support ECOWAS in the implementation of its 2020-2024 action plan for the eradication of terrorism in the sub-region and advocated for increased support to the full operationalization of the African Union – Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC, Regional Stabilization Strategy for the Lake Chad Basin while accelerating the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, UNISS.
He also stressed the crucial need for “coordination amongst the various initiatives aimed at addressing development, peace and security challenges in the region is crucial”.
– Jul. 11, 2020 @ 13:05 GMT |