Bria: The prefecture of Haute-Kotto on its way to reconciliation
The forum for inclusive reconciliation in the Haute-Kotto ended, Wednesday 24 April in its capital, Bria. A final statement containing seven points was adopted by the participants.
As most regions in the Central African Republic, the Haute-Kotto prefecture has suffered the unprecedented military and humanitarian crisis following clashes like those of 21 November 2016 between armed groups, which consequently created division among communities previously living peacefully in harmony. A series of actions were since conducted in favor of peace in the region.
This forum was initiated by local authorities as a continuation/follow up of these past actions, with the support of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), to promote peaceful cohabitation among communities of the Haute-Kotto, and guarantee cohesion and sustainable peace.
It took place at the City hall with 124 participants among whom 35 women, mainly community leaders, members of the ‘’Comité Technique de Sécurité (CTS)’’ and the ‘’Comité de mise en œuvre préfectoral de l’Accord Politique pour la Paix et la Réconciliation en Centrafrique (CMOP-APPR)’’. Participants all agreed that ‘’to reinforce social cohesion, all natives of the haute Kotto must disarm their hearts and forgive one another, to reach real reconciliation’’. The also agreed on the importance of ‘’fighting against fake news, rumors and avoiding all kind of manipulations that cause hatred and violence.
Prefect Thierry Evariste Binguinendji, president of the forum and signatory of the final statement, welcomed the ‘’strong recommendations in the statement signed both by representatives of different communities in presence of armed groups’’. He also expressed his optimism to see the situation improve.
From his side, Imtiaz Hussain, Chief of MINUSCA regional office, stated that ‘’The aim was to get people who were divided to make peace. The fact that populations get along on common causes is a big step forward, as they are working together for social cohesion, in lieu of using armed conflicts’’. He furthermore encouraged all political, military and civilian actors, as well as religious and traditional authorities to keep the dynamic on, and work for peace and reconciliation.
Recalling that MINUSCA’s support is in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2448 which recommends to assist Central African authorities and the civil society organizations in elaborating and implementing programmes of reduction of community violence, Jean Emile Vincent Nkiranuye, MINUSCA civil affairs officer, promised to continue, in collaboration with the other components of the Mission, to support the reinforcement of the communities comprehension of the deepest causes of the conflicts suffered by Bria, so as to facilitate their good management and reconciliation of communities.
As part of recommendations of the final statement, MINUSCA and other partners will reinforce their support to activities promoting social cohesion through the broadcast of peace and reconciliation messages, the support to high intensity labour and income generating activities, without any discrimination. A monitoring committee will be designated to follow up the implementation of the recommendations.