June 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 May 2010
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
In late June the Council expects to receive the Secretary-General’s first report since the reconfiguration of the mission in the Central African Republic (CAR). The Special Representative, Sahle-Work Zewde, is also expected to brief the Council.

Key Recent Developments
A presidential and parliamentary election has been scheduled for 2010 in CAR, but political and organisational difficulties have caused the elections to be postponed on two occasions. On 30 March, President François Bozizé rescheduled the elections, originally slated for 25 April, to 16 May. Opposition groups had been hoping the elections would be postponed until late in the year and were disappointed with the new date, arguing that the conditions—including delays in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process and the preparation of electoral lists—were not conducive to organising free and fair elections.

An agreement was reached in late April between the president, opposition groups and the Independent Electoral Commission to further postpone the elections to a yet-to-be-determined date. With no election date and with the president’s constitutionally mandated term expiring on 11 June, agreement also had to be reached on extending his term. A constitutional amendment that allows the president to retain power until elections are held was adopted by the National Assembly on 10 May and promulgated into law on 13 May.

The electoral commission will set a new election date based on an achievable timeline for logistical preparations. The postponement is generally seen as a positive step towards conducting free and fair elections, but some opposition groups have expressed discontent with the constitutional amendment as opposed to having all actors simply reach a political agreement.

On 21 December 2009, following the Secretary-General’s report, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the situation in CAR, which demanded that the CAR government and all political stakeholders “ensure free, fair, transparent and credible preparation and conduct of the 2010 elections, and that the elections take place within the timeframe set by the Constitution.”

The statement also welcomed the establishment of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA), which on 1 January replaced the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in CAR. The Council also requested that the Secretary-General provide a set of clear and measurable benchmarks to guide the progress made by BINUCA and to enable the mission to evaluate its progress against its mandate. It reiterated the Council’s call to the government of CAR to strengthen and accelerate efforts at security sector reform (SSR), particularly DDR initiatives. The statement also called for enhanced regional cooperation to combat the threat posed by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

On 15 December 2009, when the Council held its last debate on the situation in CAR, Jan Grauls, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s CAR configuration, briefed the Council on peacebuilding developments.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)

The PBC undertook a mission to CAR from 3 to 10 December 2009. Jan Grauls, chair of the CAR configuration of the PBC, led the delegation. In its report following the visit, the PBC noted that there have been encouraging developments in SSR and that “the government has demonstrated real ownership in the implementation of short-term commitments” in this area. It also noted that while DDR is technically ready to start, the process continues to be hampered by political and security challenges. In January the PBC completed a review of progress in the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in CAR, and in February issued recommendations on the framework that addressed the role of the government, international partners and civil society in the peacebuilding process. The PBC is likely to hold a country-specific meeting on CAR in June.

Human Rights-Related Developments

During a visit to CAR on 18 February, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay praised the government for its willingness to work with the UN human rights system, as well as for the recent adoption by the National Assembly of revised penal and criminal procedure codes. Pillay said that she hoped the revised laws “will improve the administration of justice in CAR, in particular the independence of the judiciary and the fight against impunity.” She urged the government to address the continuing impunity for human rights violations, especially among law enforcement agents and members of the armed forces. Pillay expressed deep concern “about the widespread sexual violence facing women in CAR—allegedly at the hands of both state and non-state actors, including the LRA.”

Key Issues
A key issue is the need to prevent a relapse into violent conflict. Achieving this is largely contingent on a free and fair electoral process and progress with the DDR process.

A second key issue is the absence of state authority in much of the country which will impact on the holding of free and fair elections and present security and logistical difficulties.

A third key issue is SSR and good governance including establishing rule of law capacity in terms of moving forward with the peacebuilding process.

A fourth key issue is better integrating Council and PBC action to address these challenges. A related question is the nature and scale of PBC involvement in the Council debate.

Council Dynamics
There continues to be general consensus among Council members on the need to support peacebuilding in CAR. The contents of the Secretary-General’s report will likely influence the Council’s next steps, as will developments concerning the electoral process.

France is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2009/35 (21 December 2009) welcomed the establishment of BINUCA and called for all political stakeholders to “ensure free, fair, transparent and credible preparation and conduct of the 2010 elections, and that the elections take place within the timeframe set by the Constitution.”

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

PBC Related Documents

  • PBC/4/CAF/5 (11 February 2010) contained the recommendations and conclusions on the first biannual review of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in CAR.
  • PBC/4/CAF/2 (7 January 2010) was the review of progress in the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in CAR.
  • PBC/4/CAF/1 (17 December 2009) was the report which followed the 3-10 December 2009 PBC visit to CAR.

Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6240 (15 December 2009) was the debate on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the situation in CAR.

Other

  • SC/9816 (15 December 2009) was the press statement following the most recent debate on CAR.

Full forecast