Security Council Press Statement on the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel
The members of the Security Council were briefed on 16 May 2019 by the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Bintou Keita, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Burkina Faso, Alpha Barry, the High Representative of the African Union (AU) for Mali and the Sahel, Pierre Buyoya, the Special Representative on the Sahel of the European Union (EU), Angel Losada, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, on the activities of the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S).
The members of the Security Council welcomed the recent steps taken by the G5 Sahel States towards the full and effective operationalization of the FC-G5S, including through the resumption of its operations on all boundary zones, the deployment of 75% of its operational capacity, as well as the increase of its civil-military cooperation activities. They encouraged the G5 Sahel States to ensure that the FC-G5S continues to scale up its level of operation in order to demonstrate increased tangible operational results.
The members of the Security Council welcomed further steps taken in the operationalization of a robust compliance framework to prevent, investigate, address and publicly report violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law related to the FC-G5S (“the compliance framework”), as called for in resolution 2391 (2017) and with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. They took positive note of the measures taken to this date by G5 Sahel States in response to human rights violations related to the operations of the FC-G5S, and called upon G5 Sahel States to ensure that those responsible for crimes involving violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law are held accountable and brought to justice without undue delay. They further welcomed progress made in the deployment of the police component of the FC-G5S, with a view towards ensuring the necessary coordination between the FC-G5S and the criminal justice systems of G5 Sahel States. They called for continued efforts in this regard, as well as international support thereto.
The members of the Security Council commended all relevant donors for their mobilization in support to the FC-G5S. They underlined the critical need for support to continue to materialize through a swift disbursement of all pledges announced, in order to accelerate the full and effective operationalization of the FC-G5S. They welcomed the significant amount of contributions already disbursed or in the process of being disbursed. They called on donors who have not yet honored their commitments to do so urgently. They recognized the valuable work of the EU Coordination hub in the identification of the needs of the FC-G5S as well as in the coordination of bilateral contributions in support to the FC-G5S, and commended the EU for its continued close work with the Permanent Secretariat of the G5 Sahel on this matter.
The members of the Security Council noted the request expressed by the G5 Sahel during the Security Council mission on the Sahel carried out in March 2019 that life support consumables provided by MINUSMA to the FC-G5S pursuant to the technical agreement between the United Nations, the EU and the G5 Sahel could be used by all G5 Sahel contingents operating in the framework of the FC-G5S. They considered MINUSMA’s upcoming mandate renewal as an opportunity to explore this request, including a potential clarification of the modalities through which reimbursable support from MINUSMA, in line with the provisions and expectations established in Resolution 2391 (2017), could be used and delivered.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the continued deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region, as well as about the recent extension of the threat of terrorism and of intercommunal violence, which have caused the loss of numerous innocent lives as well as unprecedented numbers of internally displaced people, people in critical need of assistance and children without access to education due to school closures. They expressed their willingness to continue to contribute to prevent a further destabilization of the security situation in Burkina Faso, in particular in parts of the country which are subject to cross-border challenges and have a bearing on peace and security in the Sahel. They encouraged the Secretary General to swiftly pursue the current assessment process aimed at adapting United Nations support on the ground to the evolving needs of the population, including in the fields of development, humanitarian needs, social cohesion, rule of law, human rights, fight against terrorism and capacity building of the Burkinabe security forces, in line with the priorities of the Government of Burkina Faso. They requested the Secretary General to provide regular updates on this process to the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as to the Security Council through its regular reporting on UNOWAS. They welcomed the holding of a meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on peacebuilding support in Burkina Faso on 16 May 2019, at the request of Burkina Faso, and encouraged further such interactions between the Peacebuilding Commission and Burkina Faso.
The members of the Security Council recalled that a military response to the threats faced by the G5 Sahel can only be effective: if complemented by full, effective and inclusive implementation of the Agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali; if accompanied by the rapid and effective implementation of inclusive regional strategies encompassing security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues; as well as if conducted in full compliance with international law, by taking active steps to minimize the risk of harm to civilians in all areas of operations. They encouraged combined efforts from political, security and development actors in support of long-term stabilization. They welcomed the mobilization of the Peacebuilding Commission on the Sahel region.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the continued determination of the G5 Sahel States to unite their efforts to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel region, as well as the mobilization of the Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel. They further welcomed the continued personal commitment of the Secretary-General to support the operationalization of the FC-G5S. They commended the United Nations, the AU and the EU for their positive roles on this issue.
The members of the Security Council expressed their intention to continue to monitor closely the security situation in the Sahel, the activities of the FC-G5S as well as the international support it receives.