Statement by Olivier Nduhungirehe, Deputy Permanent Representative, at the UN Security Council briefing on UN Policing

Madam President,

Thank you for convening this important briefing on the expanding role of policing in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Your presence here today aptly gives this meeting the merit it warrants. I also thank Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and our Police Commissioners, Greg Hinds of UNMIL, Fred Yiga of UNMISS and Luis Miguel Carrilho of MINUSCA, for their informative presentations.

As the concept note prepared by the Australian presidency reminds us, the last twenty years have seen an unprecedented growth of police components in peacekeeping and special political missions. This is due to the changing nature of peacekeeping, which, for the past years, is increasingly facing situations where there is no peace to keep and where mass atrocities are committed. Therefore, the role of the Police has become more important and more complex, as it moved away from its traditional mission of observation to that of protection of civilians.

Police in peacekeeping missions is also called to provide operational policing support across the whole spectrum of policing duties; including protection of VIPs, security of key installations, escort duties, crowd control and humanitarian assistance. This is done in parallel to their crucial mandate of supporting host countries, both in conflict and post-conflict settings, in strengthening the rule of law, through rebuilding and reforming their policing and other law enforcement institutions. This has flowed from the recognition of the central role that host-State policing institutions can play in the restoration and maintenance of law and order, security and stability in post-conflict contexts, including in building trust between the government and population, with police officers often the main interface between the government and community on security issues.

Madam President,

As the seventh largest UN Police Contributing Country, Rwanda is well aware of these rapidly growing demands on the police component and this operational context has guided us in the ways we prepare our contingents. In recognition of the importance of the police component of peacekeeping operations, Rwanda supported resolution 2185 we just adopted, which outlines practical steps to improve the effectiveness of Police components in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions, as the need for policing expands in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding environments.

We are very much aware of the importance of the Police contingent in peacekeeping operations; nonetheless, it is important that this Council take serious note of the letter sent by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to the President of this Council, reminding that “UN policing is an integral part of the United Nations peacekeeping operations and that the Security Council should not act in any way to encroach the mandate of the General Assembly, especially the mandate of the Special Committee on peacekeeping operations (C34) of the UNGA 4th Committee.” As we know, a mission is best executed when using an integrated and coordinated approach. Therefore, all components of peacekeeping operations, mostly the military and police, are very much compatible and complimentary.

Madam President,

I just have a few comments and questions for the Heads of Police components that are here with us today.

On UNMIL, I would just thank Commissioner Greg Hinds and his entire team for their efforts in their support to the Government of Liberia’s response to Ebola. We would be grateful to hear you speak more on the progress in the implementation of UNMIL roadmap related to reforming and restructuring the Liberian Police Force and other law and order institutions, especially factoring in the Ebola Outbreak. Also please share with us your experience on the deployment of the Liberian Police Force throughout the territory.

On MINUSCA, the UN Police have a critical role to play in protecting civilians, reestablishing the rule of law, and assisting the transitional government in the fight against impunity. Question for Commissioner Carrilho: given the challenging operating environment, how can the Council ensure that Individual Police Officers and Formed Police Units are adequately equipped and appropriately trained to carry out their mandate? What do they need to perform their mandated tasks that they don’t already have? And do you think that deploying more Specialized Protection or Support Units will boost MINUSCA’s efforts to protect civilians, and if so, are there certain areas of expertise that you urgently need to fill?

I have also a question for Commissioner Fred Yiga: UNMISS mandate was reinforced to improve the protection civilians, the monitoring of human rights, and to support implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement. Are there best practices that UNMISS police could share with others in implementing out this mandate? We all know that the Government of South Sudan has the primary responsibility to protect its people, and if we foresee a time when UNMISS will handover these tasks to the South Sudanese authorities. It is therefore important that we find ways to build their capacities. We were told that you recently trained the South Sudanese Police; is there a framework that you put in place to monitor and couch your trainees in implementing their police duties?

For both Commissioners Carrilho and Yiga, I have an additional question: given the need to be able to rapidly respond to new violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic, how are you reinforcing coordination with the military component of the Mission? Is the division of labour and areas of responsibility between the military and police clearly or do you see some overlaps?

And on a final note, Madam President, allow me to share Rwanda’s experience as one of the highest contributors of female police officers to UN Missions. As the Rwandan Constitution requires the appointment of at least 30% of women in decision-making organs, a third of Rwandan police officers are women. Therefore, we have been able to deploy female police to UN Missions, who are fulfilling critical tasks as IPOs and FPU members, in policing communities, connecting with local women, and offering expertise in reporting and investigation in sexual and gender-based violence.

Unfortunately, not all countries have reached the point where they can draw from large pools of qualified female candidates ready for deployment to the field or to UN Headquarters for senior directorship posts. Perhaps relaxing some of the rigid recruitment requirements, like requiring fifteen years of relevant experience in some cases, would allow more member states who want to contribute females to step up and do so. It is of course necessary for Member States to create incentives for women to enter the police forces, but it also requires a little creativity and flexibility from the UN Secretariat, without compromising the quality of the candidates.

I thank you.

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council debate on combatting terrorism and violent extremism

Your Excellency Ms. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia and President of the Security Council

His Excellency, Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General;

Honourable Ministers,

Dear colleagues,

Allow me, at the outset, to welcome your initiative, Madam President, of convening this open debate on the “International Cooperation on Combatting Terrorism and Violent Extremism”. The holding of this high level debate, only three months after the 24 September Summit on Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), as well as the adoption of resolution 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), are a demonstration of the greater commitment of the Security Council to follow through its decisions and address the ever growing phenomenon of terrorism and violent extremism.

I thank you for the presidential statement adopted today and thank the Secretary General for his briefing and for his leadership in mobilizing the UN system in combatting terrorism.

I also take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania, Chair of the Counterterrorism Committee, and Ambassador Gary Quinlan of Australia, Chair of the 1267/1989 Committee for their respective briefings.

Madam President,

Terrorism is a global threat, which has affected all continents and all peoples without distinction of race, religion or social class. As the concept note for this debate reminds us, the average age of terrorists is much younger than the previous generation of terrorists, with many teenagers enrolled in terrorist organizations. In most countries, the youth continues to face serious challenges related to education, poverty, unemployment, bad governance or discrimination. Through social media, extremist propaganda and religious radicalization, young people can easily be recruited and indoctrinated by jihadists and other extremists. Therefore, any comprehensive approach against terrorism will require our continued resolve to address political, economic and social challenges of our societies.

Nevertheless, socio-economic hurdles that our countries face should never be a justification for criminal activities. This would be an insult to a huge majority of law-abiding young people, whose ambition is to face those challenges and improve their lives through education, employment, innovation, culture, sport, or any other contribution to the society. Every terrorist, whatever background he/she may have, should be held accountable for widowing mothers and fathers, for orphaning children and for devastating communities.

Madam President,

As we have said in the past, terrorism should never be identified with any religion, faith or culture. Terrorism is pure evil and should be combated as such. Nonetheless, religious and community leaders have an important role to play in combating terrorism and violent extremism. Those leaders should unequivocally dissociate themselves with terrorist activities, reject extremist and violent narrative, and protect the youth from radicalization and recruitment by terrorist organizations.

Regarding Foreign Terrorist Fighters in particular, it is important that countries of origin, transit and destination work together and agree on a common approach to prevent recruitment, training and travel of these killers, in accordance with resolution 2178. In this regard, as terrorist organizations abuse civil liberties such as freedom of speech or freedom of press, it is critical that all countries put in place appropriate measures to counter the dissemination of hatred ideology on social media and other information and communication tools. We need to ensure that extreme rights and freedoms do not fuel extremism and lead to the violation of the most important right of all; the right to life.

Madam President,

To effectively curtail the growing trend of mobilization and recruitment of youth in the ranks of terrorist groups, the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies have to be vigilant and proactive. Using the example of the recent public announcement of another Jihadist group in Egypt, Ansar Beit al-Maqdess, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), the 1267/1989 Sanctions Committee on Al Qaida and associated individuals and entities should be ready to continue imposing sanctions against groups that support sanctioned entities like ISIL.

Another tool in addressing the threat posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters is financing. Most terrorist groups such as Al Qaida, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram have been financing their activities through online fundraising, illegal taxes and extortion, as well as kidnapping for ransom. Others such as ISIL and Al Nusra Front have secured huge amounts of money from the illicit trade of oil. In this context, we call on all states to fully implement the Presidential Statement of 28 July and ensure that their nationals and residents not engage in any commercial or financial transactions with ISIL, ANF, as well as other sanctioned entities. We also recall resolution 2133 (2014) which calls upon all Member States to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions. We have to work together to drain that bloody river that fuels terrorism and spreads death and devastation in our communities.

Madam President,

Specific to our region, Africa, terrorism and extremism have spread to the Sahel and beyond with unprecedented security and humanitarian consequences. Terrorism is increasingly becoming interconnected throughout Africa, from Boko Haram in Nigeria; AQMI and Ansar Adine in Mali, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Al Shabaab in Somalia; and many others; from the Maghreb to the Horn of Africa with link to Syria and other parts of the world. This is a worrying situation threatening African stability. We need now to have pro-active policies, mechanisms and concrete measures to prevent further spreading of these negatives groups and eradicate them while sustaining the resilience of communities. These measures, can only succeed if the UN work hands in hands with regional and sub-regional organizations to enhance and sustain innovative mechanisms aim at eradicating this scourge.

Additionally, we should never lose sight of the fact that the core of this evil is always radical ideology, be it religious or political. While Rwanda was so far not affected by ISIL or Al Qaida-linked terrorism, it is important to recall that, as stated by President Kagame in the recent Council Summit on FTFs, Rwanda has faced, even in our capital city, terrorist activities carried out by elements linked to the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), based in eastern DRC, and which is driven by its genocide ideology since 1994. It is therefore important that, while combating global terrorism, we pay attention to the most immediate threat of our respective populations.

To conclude, Madam President, terrorism and violent extremism remain a global threat to international peace and security. No country, however powerful it may be, can deal alone with this threat. Therefore, coordination between States, international assistance and cooperation, information exchange, sharing of best practices are some of the best ways through which the international community could defeat this threat of terrorism and violent extremism. Rwanda is committed to continue playing its part, in the region and beyond.

I thank you.

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Securty Council briefing on Ukraine

Thank you Mr. President,

I thank Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Assistant Secretary-General ad interim for Political Affairs; Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, for their respective briefings on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. I also acknowledge the presence among us of the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN.

Since our last briefing on October 24th, the security situation in Ukraine has further deteriorated, despite extensive diplomatic efforts deployed in the region over the past months. It seems that when the region always makes a step forward, the parties respond with two steps backwards, to the expense of the civilian population. Let’s remember that, as reminded by Ambassador Tagliavini, the winter is around the corner and that, with the increased fighting, coupled with the shortage of gas in Ukraine, a humanitarian disaster is looming.

Mr. President,

It is disappointing that despite the signing of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, on 5th and 19th September respectively, parties seem not willing to implement those agreements. We express grave concern at the continued violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the massive reinforcement of armed separatists with heavy weaponry, including through military convoys, as well as the continued shelling in populated areas, including on a school last week.

In this context, we commend the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission for its continued role in the verification of the ceasefire on the eastern border of Ukraine. We note that the Mission is facing serious challenges that include the safety of its personnel and the lack of necessary equipment. We urge all parties, particularly the armed separatists, to facilitate the Mission in the implementation of its mandate; and we also encourage those who have the capacity, to provide the monitors with the required equipment, in order to improve the Mission’s activities.

Mr. President,

It is unfortunate that the deterioration of the security situation in Ukraine follows the parliamentary elections of October 26th, which were viewed as free, fair and peaceful, despite the fact that there were no polling stations in the rebel-held areas. In this respect, we believe that subsequent elections organized by armed separatists on November 2nd are unconstitutional and undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In this context of heightened tension and escalation, we noted with concern statements from all sides that may put in jeopardy even the provisions of the Minsk Agreements that had started to be implemented, such as the exchange of prisoners of war and the law on interim local self-government.

It is therefore imperative that, given this alarming situation, all the signatories recommit to implement the Minsk agreements and that members of the Trilateral Contact Group use their influence to end this dangerous escalation. Otherwise, despite our collective commitment yesterday on the occasion of the “Remembrance Day”, this situation could get out of hand and lead to another full-blown regional war on the European continent.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, by recalling that, despite the fact that we all agree that the situation in Ukraine has become a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council is still discussing it based on letters sent by Permanent Representatives in New York back in in February and April respectively. While I am aware of the deep division in this Council on the substance, as demonstrated by the persistence lack of pronouncement of this Council, I believe that it is time for the fifteen to at least agree that the Council needs to remain seized on the matter, under a specific agenda item: “the situation in Ukraine”.

I thank you.


Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the Security Council debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Madam President,

I would like to thank Mr. Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for presenting the forty-sixth report on the implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina. We commend his continued support to the parties in BiH towards the full implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. I also recognize the presence among us of the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Madam President,

In May this year, Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced devastating floods that killed 20 people, displaced 90,000 people, destroyed over 2,000 homes and damaged infrastructures. Rwanda is concerned by the economic impact of this disaster that has amounted to more than € 2 billion. We applaud the international community for the solidarity shown towards the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and we are particularly encouraged by the outcome of the International Donor’s Conference held on 16 July in Brussels, which resulted in significant pledges, critical to the recovery of the affected communities.

Madam President,

Rwanda welcomes the holding, on 12 October, of free, fair and orderly-conducted elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as attested by the OSCE Monitoring Team. Despite reported irregularities in some polling stations, we commend the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina for enabling its people to exercise their right to vote in a peaceful environment. However, we regret that the elections in Mostar, which were set to take place in October, were not held. We urge all political parties involved to seek a way out, with a view to ending this gridlock and implement the 2010 ruling of the Constitutional Court. In this regard, we encourage the authorities to consider Mr. Inzko’s letter to the Joint Collegium of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, with a proposal for a one-time local elections.

We hope that the elected authorities will make the necessary reforms to address, as a matter of priority, the socio-economic situation in the country, particularly the youth unemployment that has reached a dangerous rate of 60%. In this regard, it is unfortunate that despite the February demonstrations, which should have been a wake-up call, political tension and gridlock persisted in the country.

In this context, we remain concerned by the continued failure to make any progress on the outstanding 5+2 objectives to meet the prerequisite for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.  The stalemate in the political situation is an impediment for the BiH authorities to reach their Euro-Atlantic integration goal, and we hope that the benefit of the integration will be a driving factor to resolving the gridlock. In this regard, we recognize the important contribution of EUFOR-ALTHEA for the security and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past years.

Madam President,

As Rwanda stated in previous debates, we find it is unfortunate that so much efforts are devoted to divisive rhetoric that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH. We urge the ruling party in the Republika Srpska to engage in a constructive manner that is geared towards nation-building and to disassociate itself from statements publicly advocating for secession and dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As recalled by Mr Vanlentin Intzko, self-determination in this case would be a blatant violation of the constitution and the Daytona Accords.  We therefore call on all political actors in the country to act responsibly and always promote reconciliation and national unity.

Madam President,

Rwanda notes that, under the period under review, there was no vote on any of the proposals submitted to correct the systematic discrimination addressed by the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdic-Finci case.  We hope that the current Parliamentary Assembly will consider these important proposals that would create an environment with equal political rights for all, including minorities.

I will conclude, Madam President, by recalling that Bosnia and Herzegovina is preparing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. In this respect, Rwanda welcomes the adoption, by the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of amendments to entity Criminal Code to make genocide denial a criminal offence. As we believe that fighting genocide denial is critical for reconciliation and healing, we hope that there will soon be a consensus on this issue in the country. And let’s hope that 2015 will enable all communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to turn a dark page in their history.

I thank you.


Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the Security Council briefing on ICC-Libya

Thank you Mr. President,

I thank Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), for her briefing on the activities of her Office, for the presentation of the eighth report and on the implementation of resolution 1970 (2011) and for the work her team is doing in a challenging environment in Libya.

The continued deterioration of the political and security situation in Libya is indeed very concerning. We took note of the 6 November ruling of the Supreme Court, which declared the House of Representatives unconstitutional. We hope that this decision will not be mishandled to cause more divide in Libya but that it will rather be an opportunity to forge a way forward towards a sustainable political solution to the crisis in the country. There are important tasks ahead, and we urge all parties involved to put aside their political interests and engage constructively towards building an inclusive government.

Mr. President,

As reminded by the Prosecutor of the ICC, Rwanda also notes with concern that all sides in Libya continued to commit the most serious crimes since February 2011, including indiscriminate shelling, assassinations, torture and ill-treatment of conflict-related detainees, abduction of civilians, as well as mass displacements of Tawerghan. We are also alarmed by the continued intimidation of judges and prosecutors, assassination of security forces, which all affect the efficiency of the justice system, not to mention threats to media workers and human rights defenders. Despite the current situation on the ground, it is critical that the Government of Libya does its part in ensuring that all perpetrators of mass atrocities committed in the country are brought to justice and receive a fair trial.

We do understand that security challenges in Libya hamper the work of the justice system and that of the investigation’s team of the ICC, but we emphasize that no level of insecurity can deprive the victims of their basic right to justice and reparation. Accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity is in fact the best guarantee to end the cycle of violence in Libya; and failure to break this blooming culture of impunity will negatively affect efforts to restore peace and security in the country.

In this regard, the Government of Libya should reiterate its commitment to the full implementation of the Law 29/2013 on the Transitional Justice, which requires authorities to charge or release all detainees “affiliated to the former regime”, as well as the Law 10/2013 criminalizing torture, ill-treatment and discrimination. We note that no militia member or state official was brought to justice to face such charges and we call on the Libyan Government to make additional efforts in this regards.

Mr. President,

Our long-standing position on the international criminal justice is well-known. We believe in the importance of accountability for the most serious crimes, through national or international jurisdictions, based on the principle of complementarity. We stress that national jurisdictions are ultimately better placed to provide justice and promote reconciliation but at the same time, we are of the view that national sovereignty should never be a pretext to deny justice. In the case of Libya, we note the Government’s continued commitment to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and we once again highlight the importance of the complementarity clause contained in the Rome Statute.

Nonetheless, we recognize that Libya continues to face serious challenges in rebuilding its judicial sector; and, in this context, we support your recommendation, Madame Prosecutor, to establish a Contact Group of Libya’s partners on justice issues, through which material and legal support could be provided regularly to enhance Libya’s efforts to bring justice to the victims. This technical support can come in handy, especially as it relates to the case of Abdullah Al-Senussi, for which the Court upheld Libya’s request to hear it domestically.

Lastly, Mr. President, we would like to emphasize that accountability for mass atrocities is one of the building blocks of post-conflict peacebuilding. Therefore, the international community, which had in 2011 rightly exercised its responsibility to protect in the case of Libya, must redouble its efforts and support the Libyan people; in restoring peace and security, but also in strengthening the national judicial system. Indeed, an efficient judiciary in Libya will significantly contribute to end the cycle of violence in the country and to promote justice, reconciliation and long-term stability.

I thank you.