United Nations, Fen 5: With mercenaries undermining global peace and security and weakening States’ capacities to protect their people, the UN Security Council spotlighted on the activities as a source of destabilisation in Africa.
“From antiquity to the medieval era to the present-day, those who fight for financial reward or other material compensation have been a near constant on the battlefield”, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Council, noting that the shadowy nature of mercenary activities has evolved over the years.
“Today they are exploiting and feeding off other ills such as transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism”, he told the meeting, which was convened by Equatorial Guinea, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month.
Their activities in Africa require “work across the spectrum”, Mr Guterres stated, “from prevention to prosecution, and from mitigating the impacts of mercenary activities to addressing the root causes that give rise to them”.
He zeroed-in on mercenary activities in the Sahel, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and emphasized specific actions needed to resist their scourge, including strengthening legal regimes and frameworks.
Mr Guterres vowed that the UN Regional Office for Central Africa and the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa would continue to help advance the African Union’s ‘Silencing the guns by 2020’ agenda.
He pointed to the importance of cooperation, such as mixed border commissions, joint border security monitoring mechanisms and intelligence-sharing between national defense forces, highlighting as “vital”, strategic partnership between the UN, African Union (AU), Economic Community of Central Africa States and region countries.
He also said it was critical to create opportunities for youth to reduce “the lure of mercenaries and the threat of radicalisation” – underscoring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can help with this and more.
African Union Commission Chair calls for bolstered international support to tackle scourge
Speaking via teleconference from Addis Ababa, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, recalled since the 1960s, the continent’s history has been “punctuated by the of involvement of mercenaries in activities of destabilisation, including coups, interventions in armed conflicts and attempts to seize control of natural resources in the countries concerned” – endangering the harmonious development of African States. (UNI)