August 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 July 2010
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
In August, the Council expects to receive the Secretary-General’s report on MINURCAT. Resolution 1923 requested the Secretary-General in the aftermath of the request by the Government of Chad for MINURCAT’s withdrawal, to report on the eroding security and humanitarian situation, including movements of refugees and internally displaced persons in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (CAR), and on the progress towards the fulfillment by the Government of Chad of the tasks and benchmarks set out in the resolution addressing protection of civilians and voluntary returns. A briefing by the head of MINURCAT, Youssef Mahmoud, is likely.

MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 31 December 2010.

Key Recent Developments
The request by the Government of Chad in January that the UN Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) be withdrawn led to numerous diplomatic efforts undertaken at the highest levels to dissuade the government from its decision. The Council held several meetings in the first months of the year and rolled over MINURCAT’s mandate twice in the hope of resolving the situation. The diplomatic efforts, however, were unsuccessful and on 25 May in resolution 1923 the Council decided to reduce the military component of MINURCAT in July and to conduct the final withdrawal of the mission by 31 December 2010.

Resolution 1923 also asked MINURCAT to focus on:

  • training and monitoring elements of the Détachement intégré de Sécurité (DIS) to contribute to the security of refugees and humanitarian workers;
  • supporting the Government of Chad in the promotion of the rule of law;
  • assisting the Government of Chad and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in their efforts to relocate refugees in camps near the border; and
  • exchanging information on security threats to humanitarian activities with UN missions in Sudan and CAR, including UNMIS, UNAMID and BINUCA.

During the meeting, the Council also took note of the 21 May letter from the permanent representative of Chad, expressing his government’s commitment to assume full responsibility for the security and the protection of civilian populations in eastern Chad by:

  • providing security and protecting civilians in danger, including refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs);
  • improving security in eastern Chad to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel; and
  • guaranteeing security and freedom of movement for MINURCAT staff and UN and associated personnel. On 15 July, the process of reducing MINURCAT’s military component from its original 3,300 troops to 2,200 military personnel began.

On 3 June, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes briefed Council members on his recent visit to the region and referred to the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad as precarious. More than 260,000 refugees from Darfur and 171,000 internally displaced Chadians remain in that region. Also, an estimated 57,000 refugees from CAR are in southern Chad.

Security threats from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continued to displace civilians in CAR in the recent two months. On 24 May, US President Barack Obama signed into law the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. The bill commits the US to support efforts to protect civilians in central Africa facing threats from the LRA, including those residing in the DRC, in southern Sudan and CAR.

The 14 July the Secretary-General’s report on Darfur welcomed the progress made on Sudan and Chad relations as the Joint Border Force, which was established in February 2010 has had a positive impact on trade and movement across the border.

Human Rights-Related Developments

Chad and CAR
During the Council’s debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on 7 July Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said that in Chad it was critical that the government fully assume its protection of civilian responsibilities and benchmarks outlined in resolution 1923. He hoped that the withdrawal of MINURCAT from the east of the country would not expose refugees, IDPs and the local population, as well as humanitarian actors, to new security threats.

CAR
The Secretary-General’s Representative on the Human Rights of IDPs, Walter Kaelin, visited CAR from 10 to 17 July 2010. At the end of his visit, his third since 2007, Kaelin said in a press release, “Respect for the rights of the 200,000 remaining internally displaced persons, and sustainable solutions to their displacement, are an integral part of the peace building process in the Central African Republic.”

The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in CAR, Jean-Sébastien Munié, has expressed concern about the displacement in May of a further 15,000 people in southeastern CAR, bringing the total number of IDPs to more than 180,000. He noted that insurgents of the LRA were responsible for this displacement. In 2010, the LRA has carried out 13 raids in CAR, killing 45 people, abducting ninety others and destroying hundreds of homes.

Key Issues
The key ongoing issue for Council members is the impact of the reduction of the military component of MINURCAT on the ground and of the upcoming termination of the mission. A related issue is how best MINURCAT can, in the remaining time, assist the government in its efforts to:

  • create sustainable long-term conditions for the voluntary return and resettlement of IDPs;
  • decrease arms in refugee and IDP camps;
  • improve its capacity to provide the necessary security for refugees, IDPs, civilians and humanitarian workers with respect to international human rights standards; and
  • strengthen its authority in the northeastern part of the country.

A second issue is how to encourage MINURCAT to strengthen coordination among UN entities and humanitarian actors so they can continue with their programmes, while also assessing the security developments in the region affecting civilians.

A final issue is the ongoing Council oversight of the details of MINURCAT’s plan for the coming months until final withdrawal of its military personnel in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR.

Underlying Problems
The continued challenges to the credibility of government institutions in Sudan as well as Chad have meant that the Chadian government continues to have limited ability to create security conditions allowing for the sustainable return of the large number of IDPs and refugees remaining in the eastern part of the country. Improved Chad-Sudan relations are an important development but genuine regional approach to addressing security remains elusive as the Darfur crisis continues.

Options
An important option for the Council in August is to use the discussion of MINURCAT to reassert the importance of the implementation of the protection benchmarks in resolutions 1923 and 1861 . An informal interactive dialogue with Chad would be a useful device for achieving this goal.

Other options might include issuing a formal statement:

  • welcoming the Secretary-General’s report and progress made by MINURCAT and signalling its ongoing concern over the situation in its area of deployment;
  • urging the commitment of the Government of Chad to ensure sustaining the DIS after MINURCAT leaves;
  • noting the recently established joint Government of Chad and the Secretary-General high-level Working Group assessing Chadian government’s efforts to provide security and protection for refugee camps and IDPs sites;
  • supporting the establishment of a forum between the UN and the Government of Chad to coordinate issues related to protection of civilians, humanitarian access and security arrangements; and
  • requesting the Secretary-General to develop recommendations for international and regional plans for Chad and CAR as MINURCAT’s departure approaches.

Council Dynamics
Many Council members, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and the US in particular, seem to continue to hold grave concerns about a premature drawdown of MINURCAT while the security situation in both countries is still fragile. Council members are interested in how the governments of Chad and CAR will strengthen their responsibility to protect civilians.

In CAR, there is a common view among Council members that MINURCAT has been a stabilising factor in north-eastern CAR. Most worry its departure might leave a vacuum in the region.

France is the lead country.

UN Documents 

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES1923 (25 May 2010) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate until 31 December 2010.
  • S/RES 1922 (12 May 2010) rolled over MINURCAT’s mandate to 26 May 2010.
  • S/RES/1913 (12 March 2010) rolled over MINURCAT’s mandate to 15 May 2010.
  • 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 Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/35 (21 December 2009) welcomed ongoing national reconciliation efforts in CAR.
  • 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 Reports

Other

  • S/PV.6354 and resumption 1 (7 July 2010) was a meeting of the Council on protection of civilians in armed conflict.
  • S/2010/292 (3 June 2010) was a letter from the Secretary-General informing the Council of his intention to appoint Youssef Mahmoud as his Special Representative for MINURCAT.
  • S/PV.6321 (25 May 2010) was the verbatim record of the latest meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad, the CAR and the subregion.
  • S/2010/250 (21 May 2010) was the letter from Chad expressing his government’s commitment to assume full responsibility for the security and the protection of civilian populations in eastern Chad.
  • S/PV.6204 (22 October 2009) was the verbatim record of the latest meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad, the CAR 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.
  • S/2009/232 (6 May 2009) was a letter from Chad requesting a Council meeting on the situation between Chad and Sudan.

Other Relevant Facts 

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Youssef Mahmoud (Tunisia)

MINURCAT

  • Authorised strength as of 25 May 2010: 300 police, 25 military liaison officers, 2,200 military personnel and an appropriate number of civilian personnel
  • Strength as of 30 April 2010: 3,671 total uniformed personnel, including 3,425 troops, 22 military observers, and 224 police officers, as well as 421 international civilian personnel, 567 local civilian staff, and 146 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
  • Duration: September 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2010

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