In a press release dated 4 May 2020, the Birao-based Central African armed group has pledged to promote pandemic prevention measures, fully cooperate with health authorities, as well as guarantee the safety of humanitarian organisations. The MLCJ has also called on its combatants to respect the rules of International Humanitarian Law and to promote peaceful coexistence by preventing community conflicts through dialogue and mediation.
The MLCJ is a signatory to the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (APPR) that officially ended the civil war in the CAR on 6 February last year. Its recent statement reaffirms the armed group’s commitment to peace during this tense period for the country. MLCJ’s declaration follows those of Retour, Réclamation, Réhabilitation (3R) and the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), for a total of three Central African armed groups united in peace to address the developing COVID-19 situation.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) welcomes these gestures of goodwill and calls on all signatories to the APPR to commit to the fight against the pandemic and to the stabilisation of the CAR.
Following the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire on March 23 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, HD launched a series of negotiations with armed groups with the aim of enabling humanitarian pauses. MLCJ’s engagement is the sixth of its kind in Africa, with other declarations having been announced by Southern Cameroon’s Defence Forces (SOCADEF), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), the 3R and the FDPC.
The statement of the MLCJ can be accessed here: https://www.hdcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Déclaration-solidarité-Covid-19_MLCJ.pdf