Central African Republic
Expected Council Action
In October, Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga will brief on the report of the Secretary-General on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Key Recent Developments
On 26 July, the Council adopted resolution 2301, renewing the mandate of MINUSCA in the Central African Republic (CAR) until 15 November 2017. The resolution divides the mission’s tasks into “immediate priority tasks”, “core priority tasks”, “essential tasks” and “additional tasks”. The immediate tasks include the protection of civilians by “maintaining a proactive deployment, a mobile and flexible posture”, the promotion and protection of human rights and facilitating a secure environment for the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance. The core tasks focus on the sustainable reduction in the presence of, and threat posed by, armed groups, by supporting the reconciliation and stabilisation political processes, the extension of state authority and support for security sector reform and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes.
After attacks waned during and following the April elections, violence has been on the rise in recent months, with Muslim-dominated ex-Séléka and Christian anti-Balaka factions still controlling large parts of the country. Elements from the two groups continue to run parallel administrations in various areas, including parallel taxation systems to fund their activities. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) also remains active in the east of the country. Intercommunal tensions are common, as is the widespread availability of small arms.
Clashes broke out on 16 September between anti-Balaka and ex-Séléka groups in Ndomete and Kaga Bandoro, some 350 kilometres north of Bangui, leaving dead at least six civilians. MINUSCA responded by dispatching troops to the area to separate the two groups. On 10 September, gunmen raided several villages in the central Kouango region, killing six people, torching houses and forcing some 2,000 people to flee.
Related but not limited to the operations of rebel groups, crime rates are also very high. On 17 August, for example, MINUSCA arrested four Central African Armed Forces soldiers and ten civilians in Lobaye Prefecture and handed them over to the CAR authorities for allegedly forcing civilians to mine for diamonds at gunpoint for two weeks.
Despite appeals by newly elected President Faustin-Archange Touadéra for reconciliation dialogue, the majority of ex-Séléka leaders remain discontented, seeing little prospect for themselves and their combatants in the new government and armed forces. Reintegration efforts for combatants who have surrendered their arms have been very slow. According to the Panel of Experts assisting the CAR Sanctions Committee, the rivalry among various ex-Séléka factions appears, for the time being, to rule out the possibility of the ex-Séléka forming a unified front against the government.
The humanitarian situation in the country remains dire. According to the UN Refugee Agency, as of 10 September there are over 450,000 refugees outside the CAR and over 385,000 internally displaced people.
On 5 August, the coordinator of the Panel of Experts of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee briefed members on the Panel’s mid-term report. The report notes that the mineral sector, in particular in the east, continues to attract armed groups seeking to loot or establish parallel taxation systems around the mines. It further notes that ex-Séléka groups maintain their fighting capacity through illicit arms trafficking from the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also on 5 August, Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence, briefed members, emphasising the important role of the UN and humanitarian actors in ending impunity with regard to sexual violence in the CAR.
The Committee also met on 9 September with the representatives of the CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda to discuss the mid-term report.
On 23 August, the Committee imposed targeted sanctions on Ali Kony and Salim Kony, deputies in the LRA.
Human Rights-Related Developments
The Human Rights Council considered the report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the CAR, Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, during its 33rd session in September (A/HRC/33/63). The report—covering the period from July 2015 to June 2016, during which time Bocoum conducted three country visits—detailed human rights violations, including killings, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest and gender-based violence, mostly perpetrated by armed groups. According to the report, MINUSCA documented 21 cases of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse allegedly committed by international forces against children during the reporting period. In 19 of these cases, the violations were attributed to MINUSCA peacekeepers, including seven alleged rapes of girls between 11 and 17 years of age. The report recommended that the government endorse, as soon as possible, the road map on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, and encourage inclusive national reconciliation. It also recommended that MINUSCA respond more proactively to threats against civilians, be more present in displaced persons camps and enclaves, and strengthen mechanisms to monitor and communicate information on sexual and gender-based violence.
With Touadéra and his government now in place, sustainable progress in lowering the levels of violence is a major priority.
A related issue is permanently disarming and reintegrating the anti-Balaka and ex-Séléka fighters and establishing state authority in areas under their control.
The Council could:
- call on MINUSCA contingents to adopt a proactive approach in carrying its immediate priority tasks by expanding areas under its control and for the Secretariat to provide the mission with appropriate capabilities;
- call on countries in the region to cooperate and implement the sanctions regime in order to eliminate illicit arms trafficking to the rebel groups and the funding of their operations through illicit exploitation of natural resources; and
- act through the Sanctions Committee to impose further sanctions on individuals and entities.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Council members were hopeful that the end of the transition period and the installation of the newly elected government would provide momentum to address some of the fundamental issues facing the country, including constructive dialogue with armed groups and their disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and, later on, security sector reform programmes, accountability measures and re-establishing state authority and institutions, including incarceration facilities and judicial institutions.
Although the elections were relatively peaceful and on the whole credible and took place less than six months ago, Council members are increasingly of the view that the momentum on the ground has dissipated, and that as long as state authority is not established and rebel groups remain in control of large areas, sustainable progress will be impossible to achieve.
France is the penholder on the CAR, and Ukraine is the chair of the Sanctions Committee.
UN Documents on the CAR
|Security Council Resolutions|
|26 July 2016 S/RES/2301||The Council renewed the mandate of MINUSCA until 15 November 2017.|
|27 January 2016 S/RES/2262||This resolution renewed the CAR sanctions regime until 31 January 2017.|
|22 June 2016 S/2016/565||This was the special report of the Secretary-General on the strategic review of MINUSCA.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|8 July 2016 S/PV.7734||This was a briefing on the situation in the CAR.|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|18 April 2016 SC/12329||This was a press statement condemning the killing of a MINUSCA peacekeeper.|
|Sanctions Committee Documents|
|23 August 2016 SC/12487||This was a Committee press statement that imposed targeted sanctions on Ali Kony and Salim Kony, deputies in the Lord’s Resistance Army.|
|9 August 2016 S/2016/694||This was the midterm report of the Panel of Experts of the 2127 Central African Republic Sanctions Committee .|
OTHER RELEVANT FACTS
Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Parfait Onanga-Anyanga (Gabon)
MINUSCA Force Commander
Lieutenant General Balla Keïta (Senegal)
MINUSCA Size, Composition and Cost of Mission
Strength as of 31 August 2016: 10,245 troops (including 148 military observers and 1,759 police), 760 international civilian personnel, 242 local civilian staff and 154 UN volunteers.
Approved budget (1 July 2016-30 June 2017): $920 million
Mission duration: April 2014 to present