Washington, D.C. (April 10, 2014) — Following the Security Council’s vote today to approve a new United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign, made the following statement:
“In approving a CAR peacekeeping mission, largely thanks to U.S. leadership, the UN Security Council has taken strong action to prevent further atrocity — a step whose importance is ever more profound as we observe the 20-year commemoration of Rwanda’s horrific genocide. With 11,800 peacekeepers, it is a robust mandate that can profoundly change the lives of civilians, millions of whom are facing humanitarian disaster.
“Still, for the U.S., our obligation does not end here. While approving this mission gives rise to hope that violence can be halted in CAR, to truly back this effort, the U.S. must also fund its part.
“When President Obama submitted his FY 2015 budget request to Congress this year, he wisely anticipated needs in places like CAR, creating a ‘Peacekeeping Response Mechanism’ to pay for the U.S. share of a potential mission. Now, the ball is in Congress’ court to see if the U.S. will follow his lead, and set aside such funding to pay new bills for a CAR mission next year.
“As it stands, the U.S. is already in the red on its UN peacekeeping dues. The current FY’14 budget underfunds UN peacekeeping by a debilitating 12 percent. It provides no funding for the UN mission in Mali — a mission the U.S. specifically asked for in the Security Council, and which Republicans and Democrats hailed.
“If we fail CAR in the same way we have failed Mali—if we continue to make promises we cannot keep—the U.S. will show without doubt that little has been learned from the horrors of Rwanda.”
An explosion of violence between Christian and Muslim militias has brought CAR, an already unstable nation, to its knees in recent months. The United Nations estimates that thousands have been killed. More than one million have been driven from their homes, and some 2.5 million people—over half CAR’s entire population—face humanitarian disaster. The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is expected to deploy in September.
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.