January 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 21 December 2012
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AFRICA

Central African Republic

Expected Council Action

In January, the Council is likely to be briefed by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), on the latest Secretary-General’s report on BINUCA and most recent developments following the uprising by the Seleka rebel coalition. The briefing may be followed by consultations.

The current mandate of BINUCA expires on 31 January 2013. The Council is likely to adopt a resolution extending the mandate for a year.

Key Recent Developments

A number of security incidents have occurred over recent weeks in northern Central African Republic (CAR), reflecting increasing discontent among rebel groups over the lack of implementation of the 2008 Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the 2007 peace agreement signed with the government. On 10 December and over subsequent days, the Seleka rebel alliance—formed by factions of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, Union of Democratic Forces for Unity and Wa Kodro Salute Patriotic Convention—stepped up attacks and several towns—including the northern city of Ndele—are believed to be under the control of the rebels. Media reports indicated that, at the request of President François Bozizé, 2,000 troops from Chad went into the CAR on 18 December to help the army fight the rebels.

On 20 December, the Seleka rebel alliance announced that the advance of its troops had been unilaterally halted after Chadian authorities pledged not to attack rebel positions. In the same statement, the alliance said it was open to peace talks but would remain in the territory it has secured. This follows Council members’ call for cessation of hostilities in a press statement issued following a briefing in consultations by the Department of Political Affairs on 19 December (SC/10867).

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to threaten the process of consolidating peace, security and stability in the CAR. It is believed that most senior LRA commanders continue to operate out of eastern CAR, as well as the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave on the border of Sudan and South Sudan.

The Council adopted a presidential statement on 29 June (S/PRST/2012/18), welcoming a UN regional strategy (S/2012/481) to address the threat and impact of the LRA on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Uganda and the CAR. During a Council briefing on 18 December, the head of the UN Office Regional Office for Central Africa announced plans to organise a resource mobilisation forum early next year with the aim of raising funds for the most critical areas of the strategy.

LRA-affected countries have been contributing troops to a Regional Task Force, the military component of the AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA, since its launch on 24 March to fulfil its authorised strength of 5,000 troops. On 12 September, 360 soldiers from the Forces Armées Centrafricaines  were deployed to operate in the southeast of the country, as part of a total of 500 soldiers to be deployed from the CAR. South Sudan and Uganda have also contributed soldiers to the Task Force, as will the DRC.

Humanitarian issues remain a concern in the CAR, with displacement a top priority.

Recent progress in the political situation in the CAR includes the consensus that was reached between the government, the opposition and civil society in September on reforming the electoral code and setting up an independent national electoral authority, with the bill establishing the latter expected to be submitted for adoption at the next session of the National Assembly. However, tensions remain between the government and members of the opposition with the incumbent National Convergence Kwa Na Kwa party considering a constitutional reform to lift presidential term limits in preparation for the 2016 elections.

There was some progress in reaching agreement in 2012 on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of armed rebel groups in the CAR. Despite this progress, however, concerns remain regarding the slow pace of implementing DDR. On 17 May, the rebel People’s Army for the Restoration of Democracy was dissolved with almost 6,500 combatants progressively demobilised and disarmed while the Chadian People’s Front for Recovery started repatriating to Chad after their chief, Baba Laddé, surrendered on 3 September.

Since January, the Economic Community of Central African States’ Peace Consolidation Mission in the CAR (MICOPAX) has been preparing for its gradual withdrawal scheduled to be completed by 31 December 2013. Concerns remain about the handover process and whether the Forces Armées Centrafricaines will have the necessary operational capacity and resources to continue MICOPAX’s work upon the conclusion of the disengagement process.

The Peacebuilding Commission country-specific configuration for the CAR last met informally on 21 March, shortly before Ambassador Jan Grauls (Belgium) resigned as chair of the configuration on 1 June. Since then, consultations have been underway to identify a new chair.

The Secretary-General appointed Kaarina Immonen (Finland) as his Deputy Special Representative for the CAR on 11 December.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 10 December, Vogt welcomed the 6 December meeting that the AU Peace and Security Council held on the CAR, taking note of its communiqué hinting at sanctions against groups that are hindering efforts to restore security and are involved in violations of international humanitarian law.

Two human rights-related documents were issued during a 5-12 December visit to CAR by Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The first, an agreement signed by Bangura and the government, included commitments to fight impunity for crimes of sexual violence, to protect vulnerable persons from sexual violence and to provide greater support to survivors. The second was a joint communiqué of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Steering Committee (made up of representatives of the government, armed groups, the UN, and other members of the international community) and includes the requirement that political-military groups immediately release vulnerable individuals such as women and children.

Key Issues

The key issue for the Council is its potential role in addressing the latest challenge to state authority arising from the Seleka rebellion in the north.

Another key issue is encouraging the implementation of the UN regional strategy and AU initiative to address the threat posed by the LRA to the region.

An ongoing issue for the Council is the volatile security situation in CAR, and in this context, supporting the DDR process currently underway.

Another security-related issue is MICOPAX’s disengagement process and capacity-building of the Forces Armées Centrafricaines.

Options

One option for the Council is to simply receive the briefing and adopt a resolution renewing BINUCA’s mandate for another year.

A further option is for the Council to use the opportunity of the mandate renewal to also highlight its concerns about the security situation in the CAR and call on all parties to abide by the 2007 and 2008 peace agreements.

Council Dynamics

Council members are in general agreement on the issue of the CAR and united in their concern for the precarious security situation and continuing armed attacks throughout the country. The recent spike in rebel activity may prompt Council members to follow the situation in the CAR more closely.

France is the lead country on the CAR.

UN Documents on CAR 

Security Council Resolution  
21 December 2011 S/RES/2031 This resolution extended the mandate of BINUCA until 31 January 2013..
Security Council Presidential Statements  
19 December 2012 S/PRST/2012/28 This presidential statement was on the LRA and requested an implementation plan for the UN Regional Strategy by 28 February 2013.
29 June 2012 S/PRST/2012/18 This presidential statement strongly condemned the ongoing attacks carried out by the LRA in parts of central Africa and welcomed the official launching of the AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA in March.
Secretary-General’s Reports  
13 December 2012 S/2012/923 This report was on UNOCA and LRA-affected areas.
29 May 2012 S/2012/374 This was a report of the Secretary-General on the Central African Republic.
25 May 2012 S/2012/365 This report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict concerned the LRA.
Security Council Letters  
25 June 2012 S/2012/481 This letter contained the UN regional strategy to address LRA activities.
Security Council Meeting Records  
19 December 2012 S/PV.6895 This was a briefing on UNOCA and the LRA.
6 June 2012 S/PV.6780 The Council was briefed by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR.
Security Council Press Statements  
19 December 2012 SC/10867 This statement was on the attacks conducted by armed groups over the last few days in the country’s north-east.
6 June 2012 SC/10665 This statement followed Vogt’s briefing to the Council.
21 July 2011 SC/10335 This statement was on efforts to address the LRA issue.

Useful Additional Resources

PSC/PR/2.(CCCXLV) (6 December 2012) was an AU report on the CAR.

PSC/PR/COMM(CCCXLV) (6 December 2012) was a communique from a meeting of the AU on the CAR.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of BINUCA
Margaret Vogt (Nigeria)

BINUCA Size and Composition
Strength as of 30 September 2012: 64 international civilians, 85 local civilians, two military advisers, two police and five UN volunteers

BINUCA Duration
1 January 2010 to present