General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Briefing on UNOCA/LRA

[7 June 2021; 1000 hrs]

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Mr. President, allow me to begin by thanking SRSG François Louncény Fall for his briefing on the recent developments concerning the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the situation in the Lake Chad Basin Region. We deeply appreciate his contribution.


2. The SG’s report and today’s briefing have detailed the progress made by countries in the region on political, security and humanitarian fronts. My remarks today broadly cover these three points.


3. The holding of elections in the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon and the Republic of Congo reflects the positive trend of democracy taking roots in the region. We are cognizant of the complex challenges that the African countries face in holding elections. While there may be reservations in some quarters about the way elections were conducted, we believe holding of timely elections is fundamental to democracy. India welcomes these positive developments and congratulates the peoples and leadership of these countries for reaffirming their faith in democracy, and for their commitment to sustainable peace and development.


4. At the same time, we recognize that there exist forces inimical to this positive trend and that reconciliation and national dialogue may be required in some cases.  There is a need to ensure greater political legitimacy and inclusivity in governance and decision-making. We remain hopeful that political stakeholders will continue to respect the due process and that the decisions of constitutional bodies and institutions would be honoured.


5. We take note of the expectations expressed by the African Union Peace and Security Council in its communique of 20 May on developments in Chad.  We hope that the transition to democratic rule will take place within the 18-month prescribed period, and that the Transitional Military Council will adhere to the commitments made. We welcome the efforts of the African Union in supporting the transition process in Chad.


6. The Council will be deliberating on the situation in the Central African Republic in detail next week. Therefore, I will restrict my comments to underscore the urgent need for concrete action on the part of all stakeholders, including the Government, towards implementing the Political Agreement. The security situation in the CAR remains fragile, as is evident from last week’s clashes at a check post near the Chadian border, which resulted in the tragic killings of 9 security personnel. We hope that both sides will work towards de-escalation. Recent incidents, including restriction of movement, search, arrest, attempted assault and intimidation of MINUSCA and United Nations personnel in CAR are of serious concern. These incidents have put the safety and security of peacekeepers in jeopardy. It is also important to ensure strict compliance with the Status of Force Agreement.


7. The worsening security situation due to increasing terror activities of Boko Haram in Cameroon and Chad remains a cause for serious concern. We strongly condemn these attacks and killing of innocent civilians by Boko Haram. There is an urgent need to ensure an integrated and multi-country approach to address the terrorist threat presented by Boko Haram. The countries in the region need to urgently finalize the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected Areas in the Lake Chad Basin Region and start implementing territorial Action Plans. Needless to add, the countries in the region should continue to keep the pressure on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).


8. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a matter of concern. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recorded a rise in piracy and armed robbery in 2020, with approximately 95% of global kidnappings reported from within Gulf of Guinea waters, compared with the same period in 2019. In recent years, acts of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea have increased and Indian sailors have been most affected. There is an urgent need to increase surveillance for maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, through increased international collaboration.


9. Several countries in the region are facing a difficult humanitarian situation, due to ongoing conflicts. The economic impact of the pandemic has also added an additional burden on the economies. We hope the international community will continue to support the efforts of the countries to alleviate the humanitarian situation.


10. We commend the proactive role played by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in addressing the challenges faced by the region. We also welcome the adoption of UNOCA-ECCAS joint strategic plan for 2021-25 and look forward to its implementation.


11. India has excellent bilateral relations with countries in Central Africa. In recent years, India has opened diplomatic missions in Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Sao Tome & Principe, and very shortly in Chad. India has extended development cooperation assistance by way of lending soft loans of US $ 2 billion for projects in agriculture, transport, power and water supply. India has also extended relief under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative of G-20 to Central African countries. We will continue to engage closely with Central Africa and be steadfast in our support for lasting peace and prosperity in the region.


I thank you, Mr. President.