March 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 February 2009
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Expected Council Action
Council members will be following closely in March the transition from the EU Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (EUFOR), which concludes on 15 March, to a UN military component for the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). A statement recognising the contribution made by EUFOR in improving security in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (CAR) is possible.

Council members will also be looking forward to a report in April by the Secretary-General on progress towards the full deployment of MINURCAT and the Détachement Intégre de Sécurité (DIS), a UN-trained Chadian force responsible for providing security inside refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) camps in eastern Chad. It was concluded that a report would be of more use once the transfer was complete despite the requirement for a report every three months. Victor da Silva Angelo, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURCAT, may brief the Council.

Resolution 1778 of 25 September 2007, which established MINURCAT and authorised EUFOR, required the EU to report to the Council at the end of EUFOR’s operation. A briefing by EU High Representative Javier Solana is possible.

The mandate of MINURCAT expires on 15 March 2010.

Recent Developments
The humanitarian and security situation in eastern Chad continues to be of concern with ongoing attacks, banditry, the militarisation of refugee camps, recruitment of child soldiers, gender-based violence, lawlessness and impunity. There are concerns rebels may attempt to attack N’Djamena before the rainy season begins in May.

There continues to be approximately 180,000 IDPs, 57,000 refugees from the CAR and 263,000 refugees from Darfur who receive humanitarian assistance in Chad. Given continuing insecurity in Sudan and Chad, refugees are unlikely to return in 2009.

In mid-January UN and international NGO staff were evacuated from the town of Ndélé in northeastern CAR because of approaching rebels. Also in January, more than 10,000 refugees from northeastern CAR fled fighting between the government and rebels into southeastern Chad.

On 14 January the Council authorised deployment of a military component to replace EUFOR in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR on 15 March. Five thousand and two hundred military personnel (including 300 for CAR) were authorised to replace the 3,300 EUFOR troops. MINURCAT’s mandate was also extended until 15 March 2010. France, which contributes 1,660 of EUFOR’s 3,300 troops, plans to withdraw at least 1,000 troops by mid-2009. On 13 February the UN and Chadian government signed a memorandum of understanding formalising the transfer of EUFOR infrastructure and assets to the UN.

MINURCAT completed its target of training 850 officers for the DIS in February, and approximately 530 officers are currently deployed. An assessment of the Chadian government’s request to raise the total strength of DIS to 1,700 is expected following the deployment of the first 850 officers. On 28 January the DIS and UN Police conducted their first joint operation, seizing military uniforms, charges and ammunition from Am Nabak refugee camp in northeastern Chad during a search operation.

In December 2008, Chad’s National Assembly (in which President Idriss Déby’s party is in majority) passed draft bills related to the electoral law and the establishment of the National Electoral Commission provided under the EU-sponsored Inter-Chadian Agreement of 13 August 2007 between the government and the political opposition. The main opposition coalition, known as the Coordination of Political Parties for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC, or Coordination des Partis politiques pour la Défense de la Constitution), questioned the independence of the proposed National Electoral Commission and has threatened to boycott the elections unless the legislation is revised. In 2007, parliamentary elections were postponed until 2009. Key precursors such as the population census and voter registration remain outstanding.

On 19 January Chadian rebel leader Timam Erdimi was appointed as the chief of the Union of Resistance Forces (Union des Forces de résistance, or UFR—a coalition of eight rebel groups formed in late 2008) during a meeting of Chadian rebels in Sudan. The Union’s aim is to remove Déby from power.

Relations between Sudan and Chad have again deteriorated amid renewed accusations of a proxy war on both sides. The Chadian government claims Sudan is supporting the UFR, and the Sudanese government says Chad supports and protects the Darfur rebel group known as the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The AU has expressed serious concern at current tensions. An AU mission chaired by former Burundian president, Pierre Buyoya, visited the region in October and November 2008 at the request of the AU Peace and Security Council in June. It has yet to release its recommendations.

On 17 February the Sudanese government and JEM signed an agreement pledging to resolve the Darfur conflict. The host of the peace talks, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, reportedly said the peace negotiations should be broadened to involve an agreement between Sudan and Chad.

The AU-sponsored Dakar Agreement Contact Group, formed in March 2008 to follow up implementation of measures to normalise relations between Chad and Sudan, failed to meet in Khartoum in January. Following its last meeting in N’Djamena on 15 November, the Group indicated a peace and security force of Sudanese and Chadian troops would monitor the common border in January. This deployment appears to have been delayed.

In December 2008, the CAR held an inclusive political dialogue involving all parties, including the ruling administration, rebels, the legal opposition and civil society leaders. In line with the dialogue’s recommendation to appoint a government of national unity, President François Bozizé appointed a new government on 20 January. Lawlessness, impunity and the absence of state authority continue to plague many parts of the country.

Options for the Council include:

  •  taking no action in March and waiting for the report in April;
  • adopting a presidential statement recognising the contribution made by EUFOR (whose mandate expires on 15 March) and calling for progress with the current political initiatives aimed at improving security in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR;
  • taking up the recommendation by the Sudan sanctions Panel of Experts to include monitoring of the arms embargo within MINURCAT’s mandate;
  • adding the names of Sudanese rebel leaders who receive sanctuary in Chad (and possibly their Chadian supporters) to the Sudan sanctions consolidated list;
  • welcoming the CAR’s inclusive political dialogue and increasing pressure on the Chadian government, rebels and political opposition to take concrete steps towards a similar all-inclusive dialogue; and
  • requesting the Secretary-General to report on the action plans of armed forces party to the conflict in Chad to end the recruitment and use of children, as recommended by the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in September 2007 and December 2008.

Key Issues
A key practical issue for the Council is that between the UN and the EU a sizeable and capable force is maintained in Chad and CAR during the transition period.

A major humanitarian issue is the continuing lawlessness and decreasing humanitarian space in eastern Chad, the politicisation and militarisation of refugee camps and the limited ability of MINURCAT and the government to protect civilians. Related issues are the delayed deployment of MINURCAT, EUFOR’s limitations in dealing with criminality and banditry, delays in training of the DIS, and the Chadian government’s capacity to improve security. A critical factor is the need to strengthen the rule of law in eastern Chad to support the DIS deployment.

An underlying issue is the deteriorating relationship between Chad and Sudan and the continued proxy war in which each government supports rebels in the other’s country. There is a need for credible border monitoring.

Council Dynamics
The focus of the Council remains on how best to protect civilians and contain the spillover of the Darfur conflict into Chad. Council members unanimously supported a follow-on UN military force to succeed EUFOR in eastern Chad. Despite also authorising a 300-strong UN force in northeastern CAR, several Council members were initially more inclined to accept the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the threat assessment in this region did not warrant such a sizable force.

Despite the strong Council support for political resolution to Sudan’s internal conflicts, there seems to be continued reluctance from the Council to ask Chad to take serious steps to address its internal political problems.

Most members appreciate the seriousness and the interconnected nature of the security situations in both Sudan and Chad. However, few Council members seem ready to advocate for stronger Council leadership on the regional dimension of the issue.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1861 (14 January 2009) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate and authorised the deployment of a military component to replace EUFOR.
  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) established MINURCAT and authorised EUFOR.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/760 (4 December 2008)
  • S/2008/532 (7 August 2008) was a report on children and armed conflict in Chad.

Latest Briefings

  • S/PV.6042 (12 December 2008) was the meeting to discuss the Secretary-General’s latest report.
  • S/PV.6029 (3 December 2008) was a briefing by John Holmes, the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on the situation in Chad and the Sudan.

Other Relevant Facts

MINURCAT: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Victor da Silva Angelo (Portugal)

MINURCAT: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Authorised strength (commencing of 15 March): 300 police, 25 military liaison officers, 5,200 military personnel and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
  • Strength as of 31 December 2008: 235 police and 44 military observers, 316 international civilian personnel, 183 local civilian staff and 98 UN volunteers
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2008–30 June 2009: $315 million

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires on 15 March 2010

EUFOR: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Expected strength: 3,700 troops and 600 on reserve
  • Strength in area of operation as of 28 January: 3,306 troops
  • Main contributors: France (1,661), Ireland (446), and Poland (394).
  • Cost: €119.6 million

EUFOR: Duration

17 March 2008 to present; mandate expires on 15 March 2009

Full forecast

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