July 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2011
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
The Council expects a briefing in July by the new special representative and head of BINUCA, Margaret Vogt, on the situation in CAR.

BINUCA’s mandate expires on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains fragile. Banditry, attacks by foreign rebel elements, extreme poverty and lack of capacity on the part of defence and security forces and of the judiciary continue to impede peace consolidation.

On 12 June the government of CAR signed a ceasefire agreement with the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), the only armed group not to have signed the June 2008 Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement. CPJP has been behind several anti-government attacks, including election-related violence in February and an attack in the north-eastern city of Birao in November 2010, in which six people were killed and several soldiers were captured.

The ceasefire will allow for progress in the areas of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR). While DDR has yet to begin in the northern areas of the country, considerable progress has been made in the development of a national reintegration strategy for former combatants.

In his latest report, the Secretary-General noted that the average number of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacks had decreased by nearly half in the last six months and that LRA groups previously operating in the northeast have apparently left. Nevertheless, LRA attacks have continued elsewhere. On 13 March the LRA attacked a village in the central mining area of Nzako, killing at least six people, including four CAR soldiers, and abducting between 30 and 50 others. On 16 January the LRA attacked two villages, Agoumar and Madabazouma, in southern CAR, abducting 12 civilians, mostly women.

On 23 January, François Bozizé was re-elected as president of CAR after receiving 66 percent of the vote. The results were widely contested, and the outcome was rejected by three of the five candidates, who called the balloting a “masquerade.” Three electoral commission officials were subsequently arrested on 11 February as part of a fraud investigation. Following these events, the government has planned to revisit the electoral code and look into lessons learned to avoid irregularities in future elections.

On 19 May, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Margaret Vogt of Nigeria as his special representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA), replacing the outgoing Sahle-Work Zewde.

On 2 March the UN opened a new political office designed to support Central African nations in consolidating peace, preventing conflict and tackling cross-border arms trafficking and organised crime. The UN Regional Office in Central Africa (UNOCA), located in Libreville, Gabon, has an initial mandate of two years and will work closely with the Economic Community of Central African States, composed of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Príncìpe.

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
On June 16 and 17 the PBC hosted a donor’s roundtable in Brussels in collaboration with the government of CAR, the UN Development Programme and the African Development Bank. The event, which drew approximately 250 attendees from various delegations, institutions, foundations and NGOs and sought to sensitise partners to the priority areas of CAR’s new poverty reduction strategy, was seen as successful. The poverty reduction strategy focuses on security, peace, governance, rule of law, economic revival, regional integration and essential social services.

 

Human Rights-Related Developments
In his report tabled at the March session of the Human Rights Council, the representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Walter Kälin, was sharply critical of the international community for not paying enough attention to the brutal mass atrocities committed by the LRA, which resulted in arbitrary displacements in the south-east of the country. According to Kälin’s report, CAR security forces did not have the capacity to protect the population adequately. He foresaw that a reduction in MINURCAT’s small military force and a rapid demobilisation of armed groups would exacerbate the situation.

Key Issues
A key issue is the security situation in northeastern CAR, which remains precarious following MINURCAT’s withdrawal.

A second issue is the threat to stability posed by the LRA and determining how this can best be addressed within the Council’s wider approach to tackling the LRA threat in the subregion.

A third issue is the need for progress on SSR and good governance, including establishing rule-of-law capacity in terms of moving forward with the peacebuilding process and proceeding with the DDR process.

Options
One option for the Council is to simply receive the briefing.

A second option would be to make a determined effort to build on the thematic conclusion reached by the Council in its debate in February on security and development and the need to address root causes. Further integrating its efforts with the PBC country-specific configuration would be a related option.

Another option would be to lift the profile of the security situation in the country by issuing a statement.

Council Dynamics
There continues to be general consensus among Council members on the need to support the peacebuilding process in CAR. But Council members tend to take a wait-and-see perspective on how to address the situation. The Secretary-General’s report and Vogt’s briefing may influence the Council’s next steps.

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

UN Documents

Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/29 (20 December 2010) was on the situation in Chad and CAR.
  • S/PRST/2010/26 (14 December 2010) extended the mandate of BINUCA for another 12 months.
  • 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.

Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2011/311 (16 May 2011) was the most recent report on the situation in CAR.
  • S/2011/241 (13 April 2011) was the report on children and armed conflict in CAR

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.6438 (8 December 2010) was the briefing by then-Special Representative Sahle-Work Zewde and chair of the CAR configuration of the PBC, Belgian ambassador Jan Grauls.

Letters

  • S/2011/292 (10 May 2011) was a letter from the Council President on the appointment of Margaret Vogt of Nigeria as special representative for BINUCA.
  • S/2011/291 (6 May 2011) was addressed to the Council President from the Secretary-General on his intention to appoint Margaret Vogt of Nigeria as the special representative for CAR.

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