Expected Council Action
In October the Council is expecting the Secretary-General’s report on MINURCAT ahead of the second phase of drawing down forces in Chad and CAR. Special Representative and Head of MINURCAT Youssef Mahmoud is expected to brief the Council.
MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 31 December 2010.
Since 27 May, when the Chadian government assumed responsibility for security and the protection of civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), there have been no reports of the deliberate targeting of civilians or new trends of internal displacement. However, the situation is fragile and banditry continues to threaten security in eastern Chad.
Chad’s national electoral commission announced on 25 September that it would delay parliamentary and local elections due to difficulties with preparations. Legislative elections, previously set for late November, will be held on 20 February 2011 and local elections on 27 March 2011. First-round presidential elections, originally set for April, are now slated for 8 May 2011.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), the security situation in the northeast remains precarious. The government continues to struggle to establish an effective presence due to a lack of logistical and other resources. Inter-ethnic conflict and movement of armed groups continues to pose security threats.
The presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) also continues to compromise security in CAR. On 6 and 7 September the LRA twice attacked the town of Ouandda Djalle in northern CAR, leaving 16 dead, including two civilians. On 2 September attacks by the LRA were reported in Davaq, a remote area of South Darfur. The attackers were said to have come from across the nearby CAR border. According to a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report the LRA also continues abduction campaigns in southeastern CAR along the Congolese border. Tens of thousands have fled the area since large-scale abductions began in July 2009. HRW also reported that in the past few months the government of CAR has deployed troops to protect civilians in the area, but that the number is “too few to provide adequate protection.”
CAR has set 23 January 2011 as the date for parliamentary and first round presidential elections (initially scheduled for October). Second round elections are proposed for 20 March 2011. Government and opposition parties and former rebels signed an agreement on 11 August establishing the election timetable. An electoral census is currently underway.
On 20 September the Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) country-specific configuration for CAR and the World Bank organised a high-level event to draw international attention to the peacebuilding and development challenges in CAR.
In a 7 September letter to the Council, the Chadian government outlined its plan for sustaining its forces, the Détachement integré de sécurité (DIS), after the departure of MINURCAT. The plan, which outlines security strategies, as well as financial and logistical plans, was requested in resolution 1923.
On 10 August Special Representative to the Secretary-General and Head of MINURCAT Youssef Mahmoud gave his first briefing to the Council on the situation in Chad and CAR since the adoption of resolution 1923, which authorised MINURCAT’s drawdown. Closed consultations followed the briefing.
On Chad, Mahmoud reported on the government’s assumption of responsibility for security and protection of civilians and humanitarian workers and noted that “the Government had spared no effort to rise to the challenge”. He also reported that there have been encouraging reports of returns of some IDPs.
Concerning CAR, the Secretary-General’s report had outlined two options for mitigating the impact of MINURCAT’s withdrawal. The first was to establish a UN peacekeeping force that would remain in the area until the CAR government develops sufficient capacity to ensure security. The second option was to provide international assistance to train and equip the Central African Armed Forces and strengthen capacity for ensuring security and rule of law in the northeast in conjunction with longer-term security sector reform and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration efforts. During a 22 July meeting with the Secretary-General, CAR President François Bozizé expressed his preference for a capacity building option over the establishment of a peacekeeping mission.
A related issue for the Council is the sustainability of the DIS efforts to assume protection responsibility in the time remaining before withdrawal. (The reports of the joint Chadian/UN high-level working group on the security situation and Chad’s performance vis-à-vis the benchmarks on the voluntary return and resettlement of IDPs, the demilitarisation of refugee and IDP camps and the improvement in the capacity of authorities in eastern Chad outlined by resolution 1861 will be particularly helpful in assessing the mission’s progress in this regard.)
A further issue is the Council’s response to the options on the table for filling the security vacuum in CAR that will result from MINURCAT’s departure from the northeastern region.
A related issue is whether there are realistic possibilities for bilateral and multilateral organisations to meet the needs under the capacity building option.
At this stage in MINURCAT’s drawdown, one option is for the Council to take no formal action in October. The Council could simply receive the report and briefing and initiate informal discussions on the progress being made and the possible security arrangements for future.
Another option would be for the Council to issue a statement concerning the situation in Chad and CAR. Elements of the statement could include:
welcoming Chad’s efforts in providing security to civilians and humanitarian workers;
expressing concern about the ongoing security situation in northeastern CAR and noting the Secretary-General’s options for addressing the security situation following MINURCAT’s departure; and
calling on the PBC to engage urgently with regional, bilateral and multilateral partners to determine realistic capacity to provide assistance in post-drawdown security arrangements and provide advice to the Council on the matter.
There are no longer any pronounced divisions among Council members on MINURCAT, but there does appear to be a strong interest in conducting MINURCAT’s withdrawal in a manner conducive to establishing long-term stability in both countries. Council members are particularly interested in how the Government of Chad will perform in its protection of civilians responsibilities. And members are concerned that MINURCAT’s departure will leave a security void in northeastern CAR.
France is the lead country on this issue.
Selected Security Council resolutions
Latest Secretary-General’s Report
Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Youssef Mahmoud (Tunisia)
CAR/DR Congo: LRA Conducts Massive Abduction Campaign, Human Rights Watch, 11 August 2010.
Chad: Beyond Superficial Stability, International Crisis Group, Africa Report No. 162, 17 Aug 2010.