Briefing on the Central African Republic
This afternoon, Council members will be briefed in consultations by the Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, following a request from France for an update on the political, security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). Feltman was in Cameroon and the CAR earlier in the month. At press time, a press statement had just been circulated but it was unclear if Council members would be ready to issue it by the end of hte meeting.
During his visit Feltman met with CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and with representatives of political parties and civil society. He also met with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA), Margaret Vogt, as well as with BINUCA staff that had been evacuated to Cameroon after the Seleka rebels seized Bangui on 24 March. (The Seleka are an alliance formed by factions of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace, the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity and the Wa Kodro Salute Patriotic Convention.)
Council members are likely to be concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the CAR as the Seleka rebels have not been able to restore stability after taking over the country and forcing President François Bozizé into exile There will likely be interest in hearing Feltman’s views on how law and order can be established and civilians protected. During his visit to Bangui, Feltman expressed grave concern over the deteriorating security and human rights situation in the country. He also called for an end to killing, looting, attacks on the civilian population and violations of human rights. Some members may also be looking for more specific information from Feltman on issues related to sexual violence and recruitment of children.
At least 4.1 million people, about half of whom are children, have been directly affected by the crisis and more than 37,000 people have fled the country over the last four months. While discussing the humanitarian situation, Feltman is likely to emphasise the need for all parties to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid as well as highlight the urgent need for donors to increase their contributions as the current humanitarian appeal for the CAR is only 20 percent funded.
Council members are also likely to want to discuss recent political developments. Following the takeover of Bangui on 24 March, Michel Djotodia, a Seleka leader, pronounced the annulment of the constitution and announced he would rule by decree until the 2016 scheduled elections. The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held two summits in N’Djamena, Chad, on 3 and 17 April, outlining a transitional process of 18 months under a transitional Council that would elect an interim president and draft a new constitution as well as prepare for free and fair elections. (Djotodia, who has accepted the ECCAS framework, was chosen as interim President by the newly formed Council.) Council members may be keen to hear more about the political efforts of ECCAS and the commitment of the Seleka to such efforts.
Council members are expecting a report on BINUCA in the next few days and are scheduled to discuss the report and the UN mission on the ground next month. Feltman’s insights following his visit to the region may provide Council members with an indication of the Secretary-General’s recommendations for BINUCA given the current situation.