June 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2012
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Central African Republic

Expected Council Action
In June, the Council expects a briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA), followed by consultations. The Council is likely to issue a press statement after the consultations.

BINUCA’s mandate, renewed by resolution 2031 in December 2011, ends on 31 January 2013.

Key Recent Developments
On 21 May, a government official announced that armed men believed to be from Chad burned down two villages in the CAR, killing three people. The Secretary-General’s November 2011 report on BINUCA (S/2011/739), had warned that the presence of the Chadian rebel group Front populaire pour le redressement, led by Baba Laddé, on the territory of the CAR posed serious security risks and threatened peace consolidation efforts. It noted that the national security and defence forces, “which should function as primary security providers in the remote areas of the country, are under-resourced and largely incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities.”

(The Secretary-General’s report noted that on 13 June 2011, Laddé signed a communiqué with the ‘National Mediators’ of Chad and the CAR, committing his group to lay down its weapons and enter into discussions towards the signing of a peace agreement within a month, with the understanding that this would lead to the repatriation to Chad of some 400 to 500 of its members. But the process stalled shortly after the signing over the issue of security guarantees for the return of Laddé to Chad.)

In May, the government announced positive developments with respect to the difficult process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former rebel fighters of the Armée populaire pour la restauration de la démocratie (APRD) led by Jean-Jacques Démafouth. More than 1,000 of the fighters reportedly began to be demobilised.

The DDR process—in the context of a broader security sector reform (SSR)—remains one of the most critical issues in the CAR. Resolution 2031 underlined the national strategy for the reintegration of former combatants, drafted with the support of BINUCA on 8 July 2011, and urged the government to “redouble its efforts towards ensuring national ownership and full implementation of the strategy, in line with the wider security sector reform, and to define a timeline and draw up specific reintegration programmes in order to be able to seek support from bilateral and multilateral partners.”

Briefing the Council on 14 December 2011, Vogt had raised alarm at the lack of funding to complete the DDR process and to launch phase two of the SSR process, saying that the situation could put the country back on the “brink of disaster.” She noted that the CAR government needed $3 million to complete the disarmament process and $19 million for the reintegration process.

On 4 April, the government and BINUCA held a hastily arranged donors conference to raise the money. The conference, however, was not successful: commitments were made by only two countries—Australia ($200,000) and Luxembourg ($100,000)—amounting to $300,000. Donors expressed concern at the lack of movement on key political issues, including reform of the electoral law and the continued detention of opposition figures.

Of great concern is the continuing foraging activity of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a formerly Uganda-based group that now operates mainly in the CAR, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The advocacy group ENOUGH reported in May that LRA leader Joseph Kony, might be in northern CAR. (CAR Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadera told the Council on 14 December 2011 that the activities of the LRA, among others, pose a grave risk to his country.) The ENOUGH report noted that despite the deployment of US military advisers to assist government troops in the region, the LRA remains active, carrying out more than 50 attacks and displacing nearly 450,000 people in the first three months of 2012. (For more details about the LRA, please see a separate brief in this issue of the Forecast.)

Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission
In April, Ambassador Jan Grauls (Belgium), the chair of the PBC’s country-specific configuration for the CAR, notified the PBC that he was leaving the position on 1 June. He had been chair since 12 June 2008. On 18 November 2011, the CAR configuration adopted the conclusions and recommendations of the second review of the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in the Central African Republic (PBC/5/CAF/3). The review noted that “progress, albeit slow, has been achieved on various fronts, and that peacebuilding, as a process, has moved in the right direction, despite setbacks and challenges.” However, the SSR process “essentially came to a standstill after the October 2009 security sector reform round table, which did not result in new donor commitments,” it noted.

Grauls last briefed the Council on 14 December 2011, calling the lack of financing for DDR efforts a “major and pressing” challenge. He reported on his visit to the CAR in October 2011, noting that it was the promise of support for reintegration that had enabled the government to disarm and demobilise the rebels in the west of the country.  Implementation of that pledge was important.  The Peacebuilding Fund and World Bank should consider ways to contribute to that, he added.

Key Issues
The key issue is the need for progress on the DDR process, particularly completing the disarmament and reintegration of former rebel combatants. 

The desperate lack of funding and how Council members could help remedy this situation, are related issues.

Another important issue for the Council is the threat to stability posed by the foraging activity of the LRA and determining how the Council can best assist the CAR in addressing this problem in the context of its overall strategy against the LRA. 

Underlying Problems
Throughout the election period in 2011—voting took place on 23 January and 27 March 2011—the government, for no clear reason, prevented key opposition figures such as Nicolas Tiangaye, Martin Ziguélé and Ange-Félix Patassé from travelling out of the country. The Constitutional Court annulled close to 20 percent of the results of the legislative elections on grounds of irregularities. On 4 September 2011, by-elections were held peacefully in 14 constituencies, but the opposition, including the coalition known as the Front pour l’annulation et la reprise des élections 2011, boycotted those polls.

One option for the Council is to issue a press statement calling for more support for the DDR process and for more political openness by the government.

Another option for the Council is to issue a presidential statement emphasising the need for greater coordination of efforts between the PBC and BINUCA going forward.

Council Dynamics
CAR is not a contentious item on the Council’s agenda. Council members seem to be in general agreement on the need to support the peacebuilding process in the CAR. Following Graul’s resignation, there is likely to be greater interest among some Council members in monitoring developments, particularly the relationship between the leadership of BINUCA and the chair of the PBC country-specific configuration, more closely.
France is the lead country on the CAR in the Council.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/2031 (21 December 2011) extended the mandate of BINUCA until 31 January 2013.

Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2011/21 (14 November 2011) condemned the LRA’s role in the Central African region.
  • S/PRST/2010/26 (14 December 2010) extended the mandate of BINUCA until 31 December 2011.

Meeting Record

  • S/PV.6575 (7 July 2011) was Vogt’s briefing to the Council.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2011/739 (28 November 2011) was the Secretary-General’s report on BINUCA.
  • S/2011/693 (4 November 2011) was on the LRA-affected areas pursuant to SC/10335.

PBC-Related Document

  • PBC/5/CAF/L.1 (28 October 2011) contained the draft conclusions and recommendations of the second biannual review of the strategic framework for peacebuilding in CAR.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of BINUCA

Margaret Vogt (Nigeria)