December 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 December 2010
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action

The Council expects to receive a report from the Secretary-General on the situation in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). As requested by resolution 1923, the report is likely to include an assessment of lessons learned in the context of MINURCAT which finally expires on 31 December. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINURCAT, Youssef Mahmoud, is also likely to brief the Council in December.

Additionally, the Council’s informal expert group on protection of civilians is expected to meet in December to discuss the termination of MINURCAT.

Key Recent Developments

On 15 October the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) ceased all military operations and began the final phase of withdrawal. By 31 December, all military and civilian personnel will have been withdrawn, though MINURCAT will leave behind campsites in both countries.

The situation in Chad has been relatively calm and there has been a significant decline in incidents of banditry. Greater vigilance by Chadian security authorities, improved relations between N’Djamena and Khartoum and the activities of the joint Chad-Sudan border monitoring force have been credited with this improved security situation. An exceptionally intense rainy season has probably also been a factor considerably reducing travel along roads where banditry commonly occurs. The security situation may become more challenging in the upcoming dry season.

In early October, Chad submitted a revised version of its sustainability plan for the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) outlining the financial and logistical needs to support the force after MINURCAT’s withdrawal. Chad is currently seeking donors to assist in financing the DIS and has initiated discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Development Programme on a successor arrangement to the trust fund for the DIS, which was established by the Secretary-General in 2007 to help Chad and CAR build the law and order capacity needed to ensure security for displaced persons.

By contrast, the situation in northeastern CAR continues to be volatile and concerns remain as to how CAR will be able to fill the security vacuum left by MINURCAT’s departure.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to compromise security in CAR, particularly in Birao in northeastern CAR. On 10 October, some forty to fifty individuals affiliated with the LRA attacked Birao, pillaging the village and kidnapping 19 people.

On 16 November, it was reported that insecurity and logistical difficulties have prompted the UN Refugee Agency to relocate some 2,500 Sudanese refugees from a camp in northeastern CAR to a new camp in the south-central part of the country.

On 26 November, the CAR government announced that the town of Birao has been retaken by its forces after being captured by members of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) two days earlier. However, a CPJP spokesman told reporters that it continues to hold the town, despite reports to the contrary.

Representatives from CAR, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda met in Bangui under AU auspices on 13 and 14 October to find a regional solution to the LRA threat. The participants agreed to increase military cooperation between their armies through information exchange, joint border patrols and a mixed military brigade pursuing LRA groups.

Reports in late September indicated that CAR and Sudan had signed a military protocol to form a joint border force, which would be similar to the current Chad-Sudan border patrol. Since the establishment of the Chad-Sudan force, rebel activity has declined along that border, but has increased along the border with CAR.

CAR’s upcoming first round elections are expected to take place in January 2011 as scheduled, despite reports in late October of rebel groups attempting to obstruct vote preparations. Also in late October, the European Commission pledged $15 million to help fund presidential and parliamentary elections in CAR.

The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba, former vice president of the DRC, began on 22 November before the International Criminal Court. Bemba, leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), is charged with two counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity relating to atrocities allegedly committed by the MLC in CAR from October 2002 and March 2003.

Human Rights-Related Developments

In his 14 October report on MINURCAT the Secretary-General informed the Council that in preparation for the assumption of human rights responsibilities by national counterparts, MINURCAT had conducted 35 field visits during the reporting period to refugee camps, camps for internally displaced persons, towns and villages, as well as 16 monitoring visits to detention facilities in eastern Chad. The visits had provided opportunities for local officials and human rights organisations to acquire practical knowledge of national counterparts, introduce them to monitoring tools and mentor them on advocacy for human rights. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had also undertaken an assessment mission to Chad. The Chad government had acknowledged the current limited capacities of the Ministry of Human Rights and Promotion of Liberties and national and regional institutions. It expressed its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights at national and local levels and its readiness to continue to engage with OHCHR.


Key Issues

The key issue for the Council is the effect of the withdrawal of MINURCAT on security in the two countries.

A related issue is the sustainability of the DIS after MINURCAT’s withdrawal, particularly considering the financial and logistical challenges confronting the force.

A further issue is how best to support CAR’s capacity to assume protection responsibilities and ensure security in the northeast after MINURCAT withdraws.

Options

One option for the Council is to take no formal action in December.

Another option would be for the Council to issue a statement confirming its ongoing intention to follow the security situation in Chad and CAR. Such a statement might:

  •  
    • welcome Chad’s efforts in providing security to civilians and humanitarian workers, which has led to a more secure environment;
    • note the ongoing risks to the security situation in Chad and the importance of giving high priority to protection of civilians and displaced persons and the intention to follow developments closely;
    • urge potential donors to support the financial and logistical aspects of the DIS to ensure that it maintains its capacity;
    • express concern about the ongoing security situation in northeastern CAR;
    • urge bilateral partners to support the situation in CAR by offering operational assistance to the armed forces of CAR;
    • encourage greater involvement of the Economic Community of Central African States; and
    • request the Peacebuilding Commission to engage urgently with regional, bilateral and multilateral partners to determine their realistic capacity to provide assistance in post-drawdown security arrangements and advise the Council on the matter.

Council Dynamics

Due to MINURCAT’s imminent withdrawal, there are no longer any pronounced divisions among Council members on the issue. Council members maintain a strong interest in conducting MINURCAT’s withdrawal in a manner conducive to establishing long-term stability in both countries. While being generally optimistic about eastern Chad, Council members appear less confident in the security situation in northeastern CAR.

France is the lead country on this issue.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council resolutions

  • S/RES/1923 (25 May 2010) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate until 31 December 2010, authorising gradual reduction of its strength.
  • 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.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Other

  • S/PV.6406 (20 October 2010) was the most recent briefing by Youssef Mahmoud.
  • S/2010/536 (15 October 2010) was a letter from Chad transmitting the updated plan for the sustainment of the DIS as requested by resolution 1923.

 

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 August 2010: 2,315 total uniformed personnel, including 2,139 troops, 22 military observers, and 154 police officers, as well as 409 international civilian personnel, 597 local civilian staff, and 149 UN volunteers (Statistics for international and local civilians are as of 30 June 2010)
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2010–31 December 2010: $215 million (A/C.5/64/19)
  • Duration: September 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2010

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