July 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2009
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
In July the Council is expected to consider the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), including an update on the development of a strategic work plan with indicative timelines to measure and track progress on the implementation of benchmarks. The current mandate of MINURCAT expires on 15 March 2010.

Key Recent Developments

On 24 April Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s first report on the MINURCAT since the transfer of authority from the EU Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (EUFOR) to the UN on 15 March. Mulet said critical shortfalls in equipment had weakened MINURCAT’s operational capability. Its military component, mandated for 5200 troops, stood at about half its strength as of 22 April.

Mulet advised that the UN-trained Chadian force known as the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), which is tasked with providing law and order in refugee camps and other humanitarian sites in eastern Chad, was fully operational with 850 personnel. Challenges for the DIS were ill-discipline and its vulnerability to attack, prompting the Chadian government to propose equipping them with AK-47 submachine guns. He said the UN Secretariat would conduct a midterm review of the concept and performance of the DIS.

The Chad-Sudan border situation deteriorated significantly in May. At talks in Doha from 29 April to 4 May, both countries had agreed to renew diplomatic ties and cease cross-border attacks. However, Chad on 5 May accused Sudan of “sending several armed columns” into its territory and on 6 May requested a meeting of the Council “to discuss the attack perpetrated by the Sudan against …Chad.”

On 8 May the Council held an open meeting during which it was briefed on the unfolding situation by Assistant-Secretary-General for Rule of Law in Peacekeeping Dmitry Titov. He said MINURCAT lacked the ability to observe and track developing incidents. He urged the Council to join the Secretariat in appealing to potential troop contributors to provide MINURCAT with the missing capacities in order to enable it to carry out its mandate. Titov indicated that, at the time of meeting, the MINURCAT force stood at 2396 personnel—representing 46 percent of its authorised strength—and lacked 14 of the 18 military utility and reconnaissance helicopters.

Representatives of Chad and Sudan traded accusations, assigning unilateral faults to the other country for the then ongoing Chadian government forces military clashes with the rebels.

Subsequently, the Council adopted a presidential statement condemning renewed military incursions in eastern Chad by “Chadian armed groups, coming from outside”. It expressed concern at the consequent threat posed to the safety of the civilian population and the conduct of humanitarian operations and called on the parties to respect and implement their mutual commitments.

Chad’s armed forces entered Sudanese territory to attack Chadian opposition fighters, while Sudan was also reported to have undertaken military strikes against Sudanese rebel camps in eastern Chad.

On 12 June the Chadian government released 84 child soldiers, from among 236 insurgents captured in clashes with rebel units in eastern Chad in late May, to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF said the children had been coerced into joining rebel ranks.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), while there was marked progress in implementing the recommendations of the December 2008 national dialogue held between the government, opposition, rebel groups and civil society, the security situation in the northern parts of the country remained volatile, with continued reports of resurgent rebel activity. Two major attacks were carried out by insurgents in June on the town of Birao which falls within the mandate of MINURCAT. The last attack took place on 21 June resulting in the death of three civilians and injury of six members of the armed forces, the torching of over 100 homes and a massive displacement of the town’s population. The head of MINURCAT, Victor da Silva Angelo, visited the CAR capital Bangui on 23 June to discuss the deteriorating security situation with national authorities.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is that the progress towards fulfilment of the MINURCAT benchmarks remains elusive in light of the worsening political and military situation.

A related issue is the delayed deployment of the full complement of MINURCAT and the resulting need to ensure that MINURCAT effectively carries out its mandate to contribute to protect vulnerable civilians (including refugees and internally displaced persons) as well as UN and associated personnel, and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Another issue limited to the wider regional context is the need for capacity to credibly monitor the border, to help resolve the security tensions between Chad and Sudan which have been manifested in the apparent proxy wars in which each government has supported rebels in the other country’s territory.

Options
Options available to the Council include:

  • issuing a statement based on key issues raised by the Secretary-General, and developments on the ground, including a call for international support to assist MINURCAT meet the full complement of its authorised capacity;
  • increasing the size of the DIS based on the Secretary-General’s recommendations (at press time the Secretariat was undertaking an assessment mission to Chad to review the work of the DIS, but it was not yet certain whether the mission’s findings will be incorporated in the Secretary-General’s report or submitted separately);
  • taking a fresh look at the possibility of assigning a border-monitoring mandate to AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and MINURCAT, to constrain cross-border rebel activity;
  • organising a separate informal technical briefing at the expert level on conduct and structure of the MINURCAT ahead of the Council’s consideration of the Secretary-General’s report, in line with paragraph 28 of resolution 1861. This provision requests the Secretary-General “to provide the Security Council, with the same regularity [i.e. as his quarterly report on the security and humanitarian situation, along with the fulfillment of the exit benchmarks and MINURCAT’s mandate] a specific update on the military situation”. (Similar requirements were recently inserted in mandates for regular technical briefings to improve the quality of Council oversight of missions, for example, in the DRC and Côte d’Ivoire); and
  • adding the names of Sudanese and Chadian rebel leaders who receive sanctuary in Chad and Sudan respectively to the Sudan sanctions list.

Council Dynamics
There is consensus among Council members about the need to uphold MINURCAT’s protection of civilians mandate and to contain the spillover of the Darfur conflict into Chad.

Council members remain concerned with the difficulties of force generation and obtaining related military assets.

While members are aware of the high stakes of continued tension between Chad and Sudan, and mindful of the potential benefit should the mission’s mandate be modified to monitor the border, no Council member has emerged to promote this course of action.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1861 (14 January 2009) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate until 15 March 2010 and authorised the deployment of a military component to replace EUFOR.
  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) established MINURCAT and authorised the EUFOR.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/13 (8 May 2009) condemned renewed military incursions in eastern Chad by “Chadian armed groups, coming from outside”.
  • S/PRST/2008/22 (16 June 2008) was a statement on the June rebel offensive in Chad.
  • S/PRST/2008/15 (13 May 2008) condemned a Darfur rebel attack near Khartoum.
  • S/PRST/2008/3 (4 February 2008) contained an expression of support to external military assistance to the Chadian government.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/199 (14 April 2009) was the most recent MINURCAT report.
  • S/2008/601/Add.1 (15 September 2008) described the financial implications for the establishment of a UN military force.
  • S/2008/532 (7 August 2008) was a report on children and armed conflict in Chad.

Other

  • S/PV.6121 and S/PV.6122 (8 May 2009) were verbatim records of the Council meetings to discuss renewed cross-border rebel activity in Chad.
  • S/2009/232 (6 May 2009) was a letter from Chad requesting a Council meeting on the situation between Chad and Sudan.
  • S/2009/231 (5 May 2009) was the note verbale from the Chadian government accusing Sudan of facilitating the renewed cross-border rebel activity.
  • S/PV.6111 (24 April 2009) was the meeting of the Council to consider the Secretary-General’s MINURCAT report.
  • S/2009/214 (21 April 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General transmitting two reports on the activities of the EUFOR.
  • SC/9614 (17 March 2009) welcomed the successful transfer of authority on 15 March 2009 from EUFOR to MINURCAT.
  • 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 as of 14 January 2009: 300 police, 25 military liaison officers, 5,200 military personnel and an appropriate number of civilian personnel
  • Strength as of 31 May 2009: 3,043 total uniformed personnel, including 2,770 troops, 32 military observers, and 241 police officers, as well as 364 international civilian personnel, 215 local civilian staff, and 114 UN volunteers.
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France
  • Main military contributors: France and Ireland
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2008–30 June 2009: $315 million

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires 15 March 2010

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