February 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 January 2010
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
In February, the Council is expecting a report from the Secretary-General on developments in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic. The report will come against the backdrop of a recent request by the government of Chad, conveyed to the Secretary-General, not to renew the mandate for the peacekeeping operation MINURCAT, which expires on 15 March. No Council action is expected in February, but intense behind the scenes discussions are likely. A meeting with troop and police contributors to MINURCAT is expected. Input from UN humanitarian agencies and NGOs working in the camps of displaced persons protected by MINURCAT is also likely.

Key Recent Developments
On 19 January the government of Chad requested that the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) be withdrawn. On 25 January the Secretariat responded by sending a technical assessment mission to the country.

Humanitarian groups present in Chad have expressed alarm at the possibility of MINURCAT’s withdrawal, concerned about the security situation for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and their own operations.

The message from the government of Chad that the operation should be withdrawn by the end of April came unexpectedly. MINURCAT’s key role had been training and advising the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), of the Chadian police force to assume responsibility for security in camps for refugees and IDPs, as well as sites with concentrations of IDPs and key towns in neighbouring areas. MINURCAT also maintains security conditions conducive to a voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and IDPs by facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (CAR) and by creating favourable conditions for the reconstruction and economic and social development of those areas. MINURCAT has also been charged with a number of Chapter VII tasks in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR, including contributing to protecting civilians in danger, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel by helping to improve security in the area of operations, and protecting UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment.

On 22 October 2009, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet briefed the Council and reported progress made in implementing the 13 August 2007 agreement between the government and the political opposition that would prepare Chad for November 2010 parliamentary elections, in particular the release of census data, which was accepted by parties; adoption of key legislation; and the establishment of the Electoral Commission. On CAR, Mulet stated that situation in the northeast has stabilised, but continued to be unpredictable because of sporadic interethnic clashes and weak state institutions. He encouraged the government of CAR to redouble its efforts to facilitate intercommunity dialogue and begin a credible disarmament process in the region.

The October 2009 Secretary-General’s report had noted, however, MINURCAT’s limited progress on the benchmarks in the strategic workplan, which include strengthened security coordination with DIS and national police, peace consolidation efforts and voluntary return of refugees and IDPs to their areas of origin. The report also said the lack of a comprehensive solution to the conflict with armed groups in eastern Chad and on broader governance reforms impacted any positive political development.

December 2009 saw increased violence (including banditry) in northeastern CAR, areas with a high population of refugees from Darfur. On 23 December MINURCAT increased its presence in areas near a refugee camp in Sam Ouandja as tensions in the area led to clashes between the rebel group, Union of Democratic Forces for Unity, stationed in the area and Darfurian refugees. Two members of the rebel group were killed.

Tensions between Chad and Sudan remained high, with limited progress made towards implementing previous commitments to refrain from using force against each other and cease providing support to armed opposition groups. The presence of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement in border locations in northeast Chad and Chadian armed opposition groups on the Sudanese side of the border has continued, jeopardising security in the region.

On 21 December, the Council issued a presidential statementwelcoming the establishment of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) on 1 January. It called on the government to strengthen security sector reform and condemned ongoing attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in CAR.

Human Rights-Related Developments

Chad: The absence of a delegation from Chad during the consideration of its report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 5 November 2009 drew adverse comment from the chair of the Committee. The Committee also expressed concern about high levels of illiteracy amongst women in Chad and questioned the degree of independence of Chad’s National Human Rights Commission.

CAR: The 8 December 2009 Secretary-General’s report on the situation in CAR described the human rights situation as “worrisome” especially in northern and northwestern regions of the country. The LRA was seen as responsible for instances of human rights violations, including summary executions, abductions, rape and systematic pillaging in the Haut Mboumou area. Impunity remained a major source of concern all over the country.

Key Issues
An overarching issue for the Council is whether the request for MINURCAT to leave in April is driven by tactical issues or practical problems that can be resolved.

A key issue is the security and welfare of the refugee and IDP population since aid groups may be unable to do their job if MINURCAT is withdrawn.

In light of Chad’s parliamentary elections expected in November, an issue for the Council is whether MINURCAT’s departure in April might contribute to creating a situation of electoral instability.

A practical issue for the Council is how to address lack of progress highlighted on key benchmarks that have been elaborated, including demilitarisation of refugee and IDP camps to be evidenced by a decrease in arms, violence and human rights abuses and improvements in the government’s capacity to ensure security and protection of civilians, necessary for sustainable voluntary return of refugees and resettlement of IDPs.

A related issue is whether Sudan and Chad will move forward with the implementation of their recent agreement to conduct joint border control and address the fighting between rebels and government forces in Chad, which impacts the security of civilians in eastern Chad. A related issue is management of localised sources of conflict between ethnic groups, which is crucial for the return of IDPs.

Underlying Problems
The military component of MINURCAT was authorised in 2009 after the previous EU peacekeeping force, EUFOR, decided to withdraw and requested the UN to fill the vacuum. The UN force, though authorised at 300 police and 5,200 military personnel, has so far reached only about 65 percent of its strength. Thus, it has not been capable of fully delivering on its mandate. This in turn has prompted complaints in Chad that civilian elements of the mandate, in particular those aimed at creating favourable conditions for reconstruction and economic and social development in returnee areas, have not been fulfilled.

Options

Immediate options for the Council include:

  • encourage the Secretary-General to engage in direct dialogue with the government of Chad to resolve his concerns;
  • engage with the government of Chad at the ambassadorial level in New York and at the central government level through Council members’ embassies in N’Djamena;
  • agree on specific benchmarks for measuring the transition of MINURCAT’s mandate as it is fulfilled (in this context, given the centrality of refugee and IDP security to the mandate, one benchmark could be a determination that DIS is fully operational and fulfilling the requirements necessary for humanitarian protection of vulnerable populations); and
  • use the meeting with troop and police contributing countries to MINURCAT to discuss and review complaints by Chad about MINUCRAT and consider possible ways to address them.

Council Dynamics
Council members seem concerned that any sudden termination of the mandate would have adverse implications for security in both Chad and CAR, leaving already vulnerable populations at a yet higher risk. There is therefore little or no support for the Chad position. The overall financial climate may affect the willingness of some members to agree to any costly new measures to appease Chad. However, some practical accommodation may be explored in the coming weeks.

France is the lead country.

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 EUFOR.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/35 (21 December 2009) welcomed the establishment of BINUCA.
  • 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 on the June rebel offensive in Chad.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/535 (14 October 2009) on MINURCAT.
  • S/2009/277 (29 May 2009) was a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
  • S/2009/214 (23 April 2009) was the letter transmitting report on the
  • S/2009/199 (14 April 2009) on MINURCAT.

Other

  • S/PV.6204 (22 October 2009) was a meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad and Central African Republic and the subregion.
  • S/PV.6172 (28 July 2009) was a meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad and Central African Republic.
  • SG/SM/12373 (20 July 2009) was the statement of the Secretary-General condemning violence in West Darfur, Chad and Sudan border.
  • S/PV.6121 and S/PV.6122 (8 May 2009) were 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/2009/214 (23 April 2009) was the letter transmitting the report on the activities of the EU military operation in Chad and CAR.

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 30 November 2009: 3,032 total uniformed personnel, including 2,743 troops, 23 military observers, and 266 police officers, as well as 419 international civilian personnel, 323 local civilian staff, and 137 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 2009–30 June 2010: $690.75 million

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires 15 March 2010

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