Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has unveiled revised plans for a United Nations presence in the troubled east of Chad and northeast of the Central African Republic (CAR), proposing that the European Union (EU) field a military force and the UN focus on training police and civilian areas such as human rights and the rule of law.
In his latest report to the Security Council on the situation in Chad and the CAR, which have both been beset by widespread population displacement because of clashes between rebels and Government forces, Mr. Ban recommends several major adjustments to his earlier plan – submitted in February – for a possible UN peacekeeping force.
After the Chadian Government raised concerns about a UN military presence, Mr. Ban now proposes an EU force, which he said has already been accepted in principle by President Idriss Déby. This force, which would be responsible for protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian assistance can be provided, would operate for 12 months from deployment, with follow-on arrangements to be determined later.
There would now be no direct involvement of the multi-dimensional international presence in the border area, Mr. Ban adds in the report.
While Chadian police and gendarmes will continue to maintain law and order in the camps for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), they would be screened, trained, monitored and mentored by the UN police component and given direct logistical support from the UN.
A multi-dimensional UN presence of civilian staff, focusing on the areas of civil affairs, human rights, the rule of law and mission support, would also be established, and the headquarters will be in N'Djamena, the Chadian capital.
The UN, the EU and the Chadian authorities would have to coordinate their work very closely, starting from the mission planning stages, if this revised model for a UN presence is to be successful, the Secretary-General stresses.
He says the deployment of a UN-mandated multi-dimensional international presence in Chad and the CAR “could have a significant positive impact on the security situation there,” adding that a lasting solution to the region's crises – including the violence and suffering engulfing Sudan's Darfur region – is only possible through political agreements.
The proposed mission, which would be coordinated by a UN-appointed head of mission and Secretary-General's Special Representative, would operate in Chad's Ennedi Est department and the Wadi Fira, Ouaddai and Salamat regions and in the Vakaga prefecture and the north-eastern part of Haute-Kotto prefecture in the CAR.
Mr. Ban, who made his proposals based on an assessment mission to the region, says the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR “has shown no signs of improving” since February, with more than 400,000 refugees and IDPs as a result of the fighting and an estimated 700,000 others in host communities also affected.