Minister of State for Trade and Development
Joe Costello T.D.
High Level International Meeting on Humanitarian Action in the Central African Republic
Brussels, 20 January 2014
Madam Co- Chairs,
Thank you for convening this meeting which represents an important opportunity for the international community to demonstrate its commitment to, and solidarity with, the people of the Central African Republic who have been affected by this crisis. Indeed, I would like to take to this opportunity to commend you both for the personal commitment you have shown in highlighting the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, long before the crisis reached breaking point, and, in particular, your proactive engagement in visiting the country on a number of occasions last year.
Ireland has a policy commitment to addressing the humanitarian needs in protracted crises situations, particularly those, like the Central African Republic, that are underfunded and do not receive the attention they deserve. Ireland has been one of the top ten international donors to the Central African Republic since 2007. We are a founder donor to the UN Common Humanitarian Fund for Central African Republic and have provided €12 million to this fund since its establishment in 2008. For Ireland, this mechanism is essential in enabling us to meet the needs of a very vulnerable population in a coordinated and sustained manner. We therefore very much welcome recent decisions by other donors to support the CHF and encourage a sustained commitment to this important mechanism beyond the immediate crisis.
Last month, as the situation gravely deteriorated, I announced an allocation of €2 Million to this fund to support the United Nation’s efforts to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and education to those in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2014. In addition, a member of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps has been deployed to Bangui to support the vital work of UNICEF.
In this context, I would like this opportunity to refer to the preliminary finding of the report of UN Human Rights Team recent mission to the Central African Republic. I am particularly appalled by the impact of the violence on children. As noted in the report; like adults, children have been victims of killings, disappearances, torture, ill treatment, sexual violence. The recruitment of children by armed groups is also very disturbing. Those who have perpetrated acts of violence against civilians and contravened international human rights law must be held accountable without delay.
It is essential that, as we look at addressing the needs of the humanitarian crisis and beyond, we recognise that religion is not the root cause of the violence that we have witnessed in recent months but rather that this crisis is the outcome of years of endemic poverty, underdevelopment, weak democratic institutions and neglect by the international community. We must ensure that, in responding to emergency needs, we simultaneously work to address these underlying causes and ultimately seek to build the resilience of a very vulnerable population. In mobilising funds for the immediate humanitarian response, we must also look at ways to ensure that we continue to support the people of the Central African Republic into the future.
Let me assure you, that Ireland stands ready to prioritise and provide predictable funding in response to the immediate needs of the population and beyond. In this regard, I have instructed my officials to examine ways to provide further humanitarian assistance in 2014 to those affected by the crisis on the basis of needs on the ground.
I thank you.