Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Central African nations to ratify as soon as possible a regional convention curbing light arms and small calibre weapons, pledging United Nations support for the measure in the furtherance of peace and stability.
“I urge you bring an end to armed violence, to close down the trans-border trade in illicit weapons, and to fight against the looting and trafficking of raw materials,” he told the 32nd Ministerial Meeting of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa, taking place in Sao Tomé.
In a message read out by the acting chef of staff of the UN Office for Central Africa, Bruno Mpondo-Epo, Mr. Ban hailed the holding of presidential and legislative elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) in January and legislative elections in Chad in February, calling on other regional countries where polls are due to this year to ensure that they take place in a climate of peace and security.
But he regretted that despite progress in recent months, armed violence continued to prolong a climate of insecurity in certain parts of the region.
“In this respect I condemn once more the rapes and murder of civilians – women, men and children – in particular in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the eastern region of CAR,” he said.
Mr. Ban also expressed concern at acts of piracy off the coasts of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.