March 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 March 2010
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action

Complex discussions of MINURCAT are expected in March in light of the request on the part of Chad not to renew the operation’s mandate when it expires on 15 March.

The head of UN peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, at the Council’s request, visited the country and met with President Idriss Deby in the last week of February. Le Roy is expected to brief the Council in early March, before any decisions will be taken mid-month.

Key Recent Developments
On 17 February, members of Security Council were briefed by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Le Roy on all aspects of the mission, including humanitarian developments. Holmes told the Council that MINURCAT plays a critical role because of ongoing concerns for the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Human Rights Watch wrote to the Council expressing concern that withdrawing MINURCAT would have a negative impact on civilians at risk.

In January, the Secretariat sent a technical assessment mission to Chad, where its members met with local officials, IDPs, refugees and NGOs in the eastern part of the country. All of them confirmed that MINURCAT contributed positively to security in the area. However, senior Chadian government officials who met with the assessment team called for MINURCAT’s focus to be changed and for only the civilian component of the UN mission to stay.

In January and February, Sudan and Chad, in an effort to improve their relations, took a step forward by agreeing to deploy a joint force to patrol the border. President Deby’s visit with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum led to agreement on normalising relations and some common approaches to security concerns. From 2006 to 2008, several past agreements quickly collapsed as the two countries went back to openly supporting each other’s rebel insurgencies. The 2010 agreements seem so far to be holding and seem to have contributed to a greater sense of confidence on the part of Deby.

MINURCAT was established by Security Council resolutions 1861 (2009), 1834 (2008) and 1778 (2007). Resolution 1861 authorised the deployment of a military component as part of MINURCAT to take the place of EU peacekeeping force (EUFOR) in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic established in 2007 and whose mandate ended in 2009.

According to resolution 1861 the mission was focused on three main areas:

  • Security and protection of civilians, including supporting, training and advising elements of the Détachement intégré de sécurité of the Chadian police force to maintain law and order in refugee camps and areas where IDPs are concentrated.
  • Human rights and the rule of law, with particular attention on reducing sexual and gender-based violence and on urging the authorities to take action in fighting impunity.
  • Bolstering regional peace efforts, by working with the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur to assist the governments of Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic in improving their relations.

The Secretary-General’s October 2009 report noted the lack of a comprehensive solution to the conflict with armed groups in the east and lack of progress on broader governance reforms.

The Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of IDPs, Walter Kälin, visited Chad from 3 to 9 February 2009. Kälin stated that, because of the lack of security, protection continues to be a concern. He said that as long as there is no progress in the domestic political negotiations between the government, political opposition and armed opposition groups, the situation in eastern Chad could continue to deteriorate, leading to displacement of more civilians. He urged that the UN continue to provide support, assistance and protection services for IDPs.

Key Issues
A key issue is whether the mission can continue at all if the military component is withdrawn.

A second key issue is whether there are any other options for the protection of IDPs and refugees and humanitarian workers, who are currently dependent on the mission for protection.

A third key issue is the time frame for responsible and efficient withdrawal of the mission, if in the end consent from the government of Chad is withdrawn.

A fourth issue is the impact on the Central African Republic.

Underlying Problems
Between EUFOR and MINURCAT the international community has been providing security for IDPs and refugees and for the humanitarian operations in the area for two and a half years. All of the independent information suggests that the risks continue and the government of Chad is not yet capable of providing security in the east.

Recent history suggests that weak security in the east is not just a function of the violence in Darfur but is also influenced by serious domestic political problems including lack of the rule of law and poor governance. This is an issue that MINURCAT has not been permitted to address.

A potential underlying problem is maintaining sufficient essential assets for the operation.

Options
One option for the Council is a rollover resolution for several months to allow for further discussion with the Chad government.

A second option, if the government escalates its position, is to decide to phase down the operations to zero but instruct the Secretary-General to undertake withdrawal in a cautious and responsible manner with a view to ensuring the least cost to the UN or diminution of UN assets and protection of civilians for the longest possible time and to review the situation no later than June.

Another option is to hold an Arria-style meeting to discuss ways to address the humanitarian situation with key humanitarian actors in the country and countries in the region.

Council Dynamics
France has the lead on the issue in the Council. On the one hand it seems to have ongoing concerns about the potential negative impact on civilians. On the other hand, however, by contrast to its energetic activism in the Council on the Chad item in the past, it now seems very restrained in the Council.

African members of the Council and China feel that the Chadian government position must be supported. Others, including most of the P5, believe there might still be compromise possible to solve the issue if some additional time can be achieved.

Most Council members were always sceptical about assuming the financial burden of a mission like MINURCAT from EUFOR in the absence of a mandate which enabled the underlying political reconciliation aspect to be addressed. They agreed to the mission as a result of strong lobbying by the French and because of concern about leaving the civilians protected by EUFOR exposed. But having taken on the task few are comfortable agreeing to Chad’s demands for an abrupt withdrawal. Most are worried about the precedent this will set for future peacekeeping missions.

It is also clear that some Council members are worried about the impact withdrawal would have on the regional situation. Most members welcome the rapprochement between Chad and Sudan, but are concerned that it is too early to assume it will have a significant impact on the security of the region and allow sustained return of IDPs and refugees.

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 Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2009/13 (8 May 2009) condemned renewed military incursions in eastern Chad by “Chadian armed groups, coming from outside”.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Other

  • S/PV.6204 (22 October 2009) was the verbatim record of the latest meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad and Central African Republic and the subregion.
  • SG/SM/12373 (20 July 2009) was the statement of the Secretary-General condemning violence in West Darfur, Chad and the Sudan border.


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 December 2009: 2,777 total uniformed personnel, including 2,489 troops, 24 military observers, and 264 police officers, as well as 419 international civilian personnel, 429 local civilian staff, and 148 UN volunteers.
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France.
  • Main military contributors: France and Ireland.
  • Approved Budget as of 1 July 2009–30 June 2010: $690.75 million

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires 15 March 2010.

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