June 2024 Monthly Forecast

Posted 1 June 2024
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Central African Republic

Expected Council Action

In June, the Security Council will hold a briefing and consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Special Representative for the Central African Republic (CAR) and head of MINUSCA Valentine Rugwabiza is expected to brief.

The mandate of MINUSCA expires on 15 November. The CAR sanctions regime expires on 31 July, and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee expires on 31 August.

Key Recent Developments

On 21 February, Rugwabiza briefed the Council, highlighting the discussions that took place in Bangui on 6 February under the leadership of President Faustin Touadéra to take stock of the progress in the implementation of the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR. She also underlined the need to provide MINUSCA with the necessary resources to effectively fulfil its priority task of supporting the CAR in extending state authority, a major task assigned to the mission in resolution 2709 of 15 November 2023. Additionally, Rugwabiza called on member states and partners to support security sector reform efforts in the CAR, another priority task, which she said cannot be handled by the mission alone.

When renewing MINUSCA’s mandate in November 2023, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to conduct an independent strategic review of the mission through broad consultations with the CAR government and other relevant partners, including UN agencies, member states, regional organisations, civil society, and independent experts. His report is expected to provide detailed recommendations regarding the reconfiguration of MINUSCA’s mandate, including a possible transition plan for the mission’s drawdown when conditions are met. On 26 February, the Secretary-General appointed Edmond Mulet—a former UN official who most recently served as the head of the Joint Investigative Mechanism set up under resolution 2235 of 7 August 2015 to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria—to lead the independent strategic review of MINUSCA. Mulet visited the CAR in March and held several meetings with President Touadéra and other relevant stakeholders. The outcome of the strategic review, which is expected to be submitted to the Council no later than 15 August, will inform the upcoming MINUSCA mandate renewal in November.

The security situation appears to have improved in some regions of the CAR, but violence persists in others, resulting in displacement. The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), the main rebel coalition in the CAR, reportedly carried out an attack on 12 May in Gaga, a mining town 125 miles from the capital city, in which four people were killed and several others injured. MINUSCA continues to conduct joint patrols with the CAR defence and security forces in the conflict-affected regions to deal with security threats, restore stability, and facilitate the return of displaced people and the resumption of humanitarian assistance.

The Special Criminal Court—a hybrid court which became operational in 2018 and composed of domestic and international judges to investigate, prosecute, and judge the most serious crimes committed in the CAR—issued an arrest warrant for former president François Bozizé for crimes committed during his leadership of the country. Bozizé, who leads the CPC and is based in Chad, reportedly left Chad for Guinea-Bissau following a February 2023 meeting involving Touadéra and Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Déby in Luanda under the auspices of Angolan President João Lourenço, who is the current chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Sanctions-Related Developments

On 1 February, the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee held its first meeting with the Panel of Experts assisting its work. Following the extension of the CAR sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts’ mandate in July 2023, four of the five panel members were appointed only in January, after Russia lifted its hold on their appointment in the last week of December 2023.

During the 1 February meeting, the panel members presented a tentative work plan for the remainder of their mandate, including visits to the CAR and the region. They also submitted their midterm report to comply with the timelines in resolution 2693 of 27 July 2023 renewing the 2127 CAR sanctions regime, but they did not have sufficient time to provide a substantive report. Their final report was circulated to Council members in May.

Pursuant to resolution 2693, the Secretary-General submitted his report on the CAR authorities’ progress towards the key benchmarks that could guide the Security Council in reviewing the arms embargo measures imposed under the 2127 CAR sanctions regime. These benchmarks relate to security sector reform; the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation process; and weapons and ammunition management.

Peacebuilding Commission-Related Developments

On 5 May, the Peacebuilding Commission’s country configuration for CAR, which is chaired by Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco), convened a meeting with the objective of “promoting a concerted and unified approach” from all partners in support of CAR’s recovery and long-term development, according to the meeting’s concept note. A particular focus was placed on the upcoming local elections in October 2024, for which there exists a significant funding gap. The Commission heard briefings from Deputy Special Representative of MINUSCA Joanne Adamson; Chargé d’affaires of the Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Local Development Ghislain Lavodrama; and President of the National Elections Authority Mathias Barthelemy Moruba.

Key Issues and Options

The political and security situation in the CAR continues to be a key issue for Council members. They are keen to hear about the progress in implementing the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR, particularly the dissolution of armed groups and the process of disarming former combatants.

The other issue of interest to Council members is the 2127 CAR sanctions regime and the work of the Panel of Experts assisting the sanctions committee. In light of the CAR authorities’ request for the total lifting of the arms embargo, which is supported by some Council members, the upcoming discussion about the extension of the sanctions regime and the mandate renewal of the Panel of Experts in July is expected to be contentious.

Human rights remain another controversial issue, particularly the annual report on the human rights situation in the CAR, which is prepared by MINUSCA’s human rights division. The last report was released after the renewal of the MINUSCA mandate in 2023, to the dissatisfaction of several members, who wanted the opportunity to review the report before renewing the mandate. In line with resolution 2709 of 15 November 2023, the annual report is now expected to be released before the next mandate renewal negotiations in November.

Council members will be interested in the outcome of the MINUSCA strategic review and its recommendations about the mission’s reconfiguration and transition. It seems that the Secretary-General suggested that Council members undertake a visiting mission to the CAR during his monthly lunch with them in March. A possible option for Council members is to conduct a visiting mission to the CAR ahead of the next MINUSCA mandate renewal in November.

Council Dynamics

Council members support the implementation of the 2015 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR. They also welcome the dissolution of armed groups and the disarmament of former combatants, continue to encourage the government to engage with other armed groups to resolve differences through political dialogue, and support ongoing preparations to hold local elections scheduled for October. However, they remain concerned about the security situation in the country and the impact of the war in Sudan, including the increase in the number of refugees crossing into the CAR.

Council members appreciate the work of MINUSCA and the role of the Special Representative in fostering cordial relations with the host country authorities. Some members continue to raise the matter of limitations the mission faces on its freedom of movement. During the last Council briefing on MINUSCA in February, the US, in particular, highlighted restrictions on the mission’s use of uncrewed aerial vehicles, arguing that these limit MINUSCA’s capacity to maintain awareness of the security environment, impede efforts to counter armed groups and protect civilians, and jeopardise the safety and security of peacekeepers.

CAR supported MINUSCA’s independent strategic review in anticipation of an adjusted mandate in line with the current country situation, a transition process that will facilitate the mission’s drawdown. In February, China supported this view, saying that “the Council should optimize and streamline MINUSCA’s mandate and rationalize its staffing level and size.”

France is the penholder on the CAR, and Ambassador Amar Bendjama (Algeria) chairs the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee.

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Security Council Resolution
15 November 2023S/RES/2709 This resolution renews the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for another year, until 15 November 2024.
Secretary-General’s Report
15 February 2024S/2024/170 This was the report on the situation in the CAR.
Security Council Meeting Record
21 February 2024S/PV.9554 This was a meeting on the situation in the CAR.

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