What's In Blue

Posted Thu 10 Jul 2014

Meetings on Central African Republic and Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committees

Tomorrow morning (11 July), the Security Council expects to discuss the work of the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) Sanctions Committee and the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee. The Council will receive the briefing on the CAR Sanctions Committee in a public session. In the consultations that follow, Council members will continue their deliberations on the CAR, while also receiving a briefing on the Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee.

2127 Central African Republic Sanctions Committee
The Council will be briefed by Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaité (Lithuania), chair of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee, on the interim report of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the Committee. At the request of Lithuania, the briefing will be held as a public meeting, followed by consultations. (This is a departure from standard practice and a positive development with regard to transparency, as sanctions committee chairs typically do not brief on the work of committees in public.)

Murmokaité is likely to summarise the interim report which was circulated to Council members in June. The report, expected to be published after the meeting, highlights the connection between the control and illicit trade of natural resources (such as diamonds, gold and ivory) and the funding for the activities of the Séléka and the anti-balaka. It also documents violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by various actors.

The Sanctions Committee discussed the report on 25 June with the PoE during a meeting largely focused on some of the report’s recommendations. Committee members were unable to agree on the recommendation to send letters to neighbouring countries to publish their import and export statistics, as some of them felt that requesting this information would encroach on the sovereignty of these countries.

They did, however, agree to send a letter to the CAR government requesting it to remove from its security forces anyone suspected of membership in an armed group. Other recommendations in the report included calling on the CAR to implement arms registration and requesting the countries of the region, regional organisations and Interpol to pool information on regional criminal networks. During the meeting, some Committee members asked about the presence of Boko-Haram, but the PoE’s coordinator said that they were not aware of any current Boko-Haram activity in the CAR. The PoE further informed the Committee members that they will present a list of individuals and entities to be listed with their annual report which is due by 5 November.

Murmokaité is also expected to cover some of the activities of the Committee, including its 5 May meeting with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura. The purpose of this meeting was to obtain information on any violations or alleged violations of the sanctions measures in relation to sexual violence, attacks on schools and recruitment and use of children. It seems that the Special Representatives provided proposals related to listing certain individuals for targeted sanctions. Murmokaité is also likely to discuss her 9 June meeting with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and relay her intention to travel to the CAR as Committee chair later this year.

751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee
Ambassador Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, will brief Council members in consultations. While the focus will be on the activities of the Committee, recent attacks on the parliament and Villa Somalia in Mogadishu are likely to have renewed Council members’ concern over the security situation in Somalia, and perhaps raised questions regarding the efficacy of UN sanctions on Al-Shabaab.

Council members are likely to be interested in an update on the status of the charcoal trade in Somalia, which has been under sanctions since the adoption of resolution 2036 on 22 February 2012, particularly regarding continued linkages with Al-Shabaab financing. An implementation assistance notice dated 7 May and posted on the Committee website, which provides recommendations to member states for the interdiction of charcoal from Somalia, could also be a topic of discussion. A recent report by the International Crisis Group suggests that Al-Shabaab may have diversified away from the charcoal trade toward reliance on other sources of revenue, including taxing other commerce, kidnapping, extorting proceeds from piracy, and elephant poaching. If the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) that assists the Committee corroborates these findings, charcoal sanctions would appear to have a limited utility for constraining Al-Shabaab financing. This could raise some issues for the Committee which some Council members may want to discuss during the briefing.

Another issue that is likely to be raised during consultations is the implementation of the partial lifting of the arms embargo, which was reauthorised by the Council on 5 March through resolution 2142. As obligated under this resolution, on 13 June the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) submitted an interim report to the Council regarding steps taken toward improving arms and ammunition management. Within about 100 days, the Council will need to decide whether or not to renew the partial lifting of the arms embargo, which is due to expire on 25 October. The briefing in consultations tomorrow offers a useful opportunity to discuss the FGS report, particularly in relation to information provided by the Monitoring Group in its own reporting to the 751/1907 Committee.

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