December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
In early December, the Council expects to receive the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA). The Secretary-General’s Special Representative Sahle-Work Zewde is likely to brief the Council. The Council seems ready to renew BINUCA’s mandate, which expires on 31 December 2010, without major changes.

Council members are likely to focus attention on the upcoming elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the role of BINUCA in the post MINURCAT environment.

Key Recent Developments
On 8 November, Zewde updated the informal meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration on CAR and said that BINUCA was focused on:

  • the ongoing preparations for the presidential and legislative elections;

  • the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme; and

  • the consequences of the imminent departure of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).

Concerning the elections, Zewde said that preparations continue to be slow due to political, logistical and financial challenges. She noted that there were some funding issues that the CAR electoral commission needed to resolve. As for DDR, results were mixed; six thousand former combatants processed in the northwest but little had been achieved in the northeast. Zewde also noted that with the departure of the MINURCAT peacekeepers, the challenges faced by the CAR armed forces were enormous. She called for closer attention to DDR issues especially removing military-grade weapons.

On 20 October, Special Representative and Head of MINURCAT Youssef Mahmoud told the Council that the security situation in northeastern CAR was volatile and worrisome. He was concerned by attacks in Birao by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Given MINURCAT’s imminent withdrawal, Youssef urged the international community to do its best to assist CAR to deploy additional forces to Birao.

On 30 July, after several delays, President François Bozizé decreed that the presidential and parliamentary election would be held on 23 January 2011, with political campaigning to commence on 10 January. This arrangement was supported by opposition parties and former rebel groups, who agreed to abide by a code of conduct for the elections. As part of the preparations, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared it was satisfied with the results of the census, which was completed on 21 October. The IEC will next prepare the electoral rolls and update the voters’ list.

On 28 June, Zewde told the Council that the peace process in CAR depended on the DDR process, reintegrating former combatants and successful elections. She stressed that international support for CAR was important to avoid a return to violence, as the situation remained “precarious and fraught with challenges and pitfalls.” After Zewde’s briefing, the Council adopted a press statement calling on all national stakeholders to “move forward expeditiously” to prepare and conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections. The Council also expressed concern at the slow pace of the implementation of the DDR process and strongly condemned the attacks by the LRA.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
On 20 September, the PBC’s CAR configuration and the World Bank (WB) organised a high-level event at the sidelines of the Millennium Development Goals summit in New York. It was an opportunity for the UN to place the international spotlight on CAR and to help generate momentum for a prospective donor’s conference in 2011. Ambassador Jan Grauls, chair of the CAR configuration of the PBC, said that the “unique collaboration” between the World Bank and the PBC was an indication of the two institutions’ “genuine willingness to work together in support of CAR’s efforts in achieving peace and development.”

On 8 November, Grauls indicated that a donor’s roundtable could be organised in the first half of 2011 after the successful conclusion of elections in CAR. The date for this roundtable would be finalised after considering various ongoing processes, such as the country’s new poverty reduction strategy and the review of the PBC’s strategic framework for peacebuilding.

Grauls also said that the PBC is expected to conduct the next mission visit to CAR in the first trimester of 2011. There were no visits scheduled for 2010. The specific timing will be determined after consultations with CAR authorities and BINUCA.


Human Rights-Related Developments
During a visit to CAR from 10 to 17 July, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Walter Kaelin, noted that the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons whose rights have been violated are “crucial factors for a sustainable peace.” Kaelin also participated in a workshop where CAR government and other stakeholders developed a vision for legislation on internal displacement.

Key Issues

A key issue is the elections in January 2011 and whether they will be free and fair. Success can boost confidence and create momentum for further international support for peacebuilding in CAR.

A second key issue is the security situation post MINURCAT, including whether there are likely to be any logistical gaps for BINUCA without MINURCAT’s presence.

Council Dynamics
There continues to be general consensus among Council members on the need to encourage CAR to complete the elections successfully. Council members remain supportive of ongoing peacebuilding efforts in CAR.

UN Documents

Selected Presidential Statement

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

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

PBC-Related Document

  • 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.

Council Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6345 (28 June 2010) was the debate on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in CAR.

Other

  • SC/9963 (28 June 2010) was the press statement following the debate on CAR.

 

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