Technical Rollover of UN Mission in the Central African Republic
Tomorrow (26 April), the Security Council will extend the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 31 July. The draft resolution also calls for a strategic review to be conducted by MINUSCA, in consultation with the Central African Republic (CAR), to ensure that MINUSCA’s mandate is in line with the post-transition environment in the CAR.
France initiated a discussion on MINUSCA’s mandate renewal under “any other business” on 17 March, when it proposed that MINUSCA’s current mandate be extended until the end of July in a technical rollover. It suggested that this would allow time for consultations between MINUSCA and the incoming government on adapting the mission’s mandate to the post-transition period. In addition, it would allow time for a strategic review of MINUSCA to inform Council members’ deliberations on a new mandate.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervß Ladsous, who recently visited CAR, briefed the Council on the latest MINUSCA report (S/2016/305) on 15 April. Besides updating the Council on the interim transitional arrangements, Ladsous reiterated the recommendation in the Secretary-General’s report for the Council to adopt a technical rollover of the mission’s mandate to allow MINUSCA to fully consult with the new authorities before making recommendations to the Council on a new mandate for MINUSCA, which would reflect the country’s new political reality. He conveyed the intention of the Secretariat to work with President Touadßra to sign a “compact” with the CAR on the broad framework for cooperation between CAR and the UN. At the same meeting, the Chair of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Abdeslam Jaidi (Morocco), also briefed the Council and agreed with the suggestion of a technical rollover.
France circulated a short draft text on 21 April extending MINUSCA’s mandate in its current form until 31 July and asking the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review and present recommendations to the Council by 22 June. It seems that Council members were generally open to the proposal from both France and the Secretary-General for a technical rollover. They agreed that it would allow for a more thorough assessment of how the mission’s tasks and priorities for the short, middle and long term should be adjusted following the elections. On 1 March, the Constitutional Court confirmed that former Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadßra was elected president after winning a runoff election on 14 February against Anicet-Georges Dologuélß, who led the first round of voting on 30 December 2015. The new government under Touadéra’s appointed Prime Minister, Mathieu Simplice Sarandji, was announced on 11 April. In the legislative elections, following irregularities that led to the 30 December 2015 elections being nullified, two more rounds were held on 14 February and 31 March, and it appears that Touadßra’s party has secured a parliamentary majority.
While there were no significant disagreements over the draft text, several members suggested additions. Egypt wanted to include language on the strategic review to explain the reason for a technical rollover. It also suggested including language that highlights the need for the post-transition environment to be open to peacebuilding efforts in order to signal that the CAR was entering a new post-conflict phase, and that this should be taken into account in the review. It seems that one member expressed concern that the initial language on peacebuilding proposed by Egypt might suggest new priorities and therefore imply the need for more resources. However, following minor changes both suggestions were incorporated in the final draft. New Zealand suggested a paragraph recalling resolution 2272 on sexual exploitation and abuse on peacekeeping operations. It seems Russia wanted to include in this paragraph a reference to non-UN forces, which was not acceptable to at least one member. Finally it was agreed that the draft in blue would simply refer to the resolution in one of the preambular paragraphs.
Looking ahead to the strategic review, members will have in mind some of the key challenges outlined by Ladsous during his briefing on 15 April. He told them that progress was needed in the areas of disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation and security sector reform; the return of refugees and internally displaced people; establishment of state authority throughout the country; and reestablishment of basic governmental services including the judicial system to fight impunity. Additionally, he said that MINUSCA needed to prioritise continued dialogue with the fragmented anti-balaka and former Sßlßka groups, which continue to exercise de facto control over vast parts of the country. Regarding the continued reports of sexual misconduct of peacekeepers in the CAR, Ladsous said it was a “genuine scourge” and that the Secretariat is working to ensure that victims receive assistance and that justice is served.