Ban Ki-moon urges credible dialogue to resolve crisis in Central African Republic
“I hope that the year 2008 will usher in a new era of an all-inclusive political dialogue in the interest of all the people of the Central African Republic,” Mr. Ban wrote in his latest report on the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the country, known as BONUCA.
Characterizing the overall political, security and socio-economic situation in the country as “fragile,” the Secretary-General pointed out that existing challenges are compounded by persistent mistrust among political actors, widespread poverty, continuing insecurity, serious human rights violations and a culture of impunity.
Particularly worrying is the human rights situation in the north-western part of the country, around the border with Chad, where skirmishes between Government troops, rebels and bandits have led to “a serious humanitarian crisis,” Mr. Ban stated.
In addition, there is a deepening perception that the CAR faces “a serious culture of impunity,” particularly for alleged abuses committed by the national security forces.
The crisis brought about by rebel activities in the north-western and north-eastern regions of the country forced an estimated 200,000 people to become internally displaced and thousands of others to flee to Chad or Cameroon as refugees.
Mr. Ban reported that the humanitarian situation has stabilized following the signing of a peace agreement between the Government and the Union of Democratic Forces (UFDR) rebel group in April, and displaced persons are returning to their villages. This has brought the number of internally displaced persons to some 45,000, down from 65,000, while another 45,000 remain in refugee camps in neighbouring Cameroon.
“The expected deployment of the European Force in this region will contribute to the consolidation of stability,” Mr. Ban stated, referring to the UN-mandated, multidimensional presence, which will include European Union military forces, established by the Security Council in September to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to those in north-eastern CAR and eastern Chad.
He welcomed the efforts underway for the deployment of the European force, as well as the decision by the African Union and the European Union to extend and strengthen the mandate of the regional peacekeeping effort known as FOMUC.
Calling for a credible dialogue among all actors to overcome the differences between them, Mr. Ban stressed that the encouraging prospects from the Donors’ Round Table held in Brussels in October, which mobilized financial resources for the country’s development programmes, can only be sustained in a stable political environment.
He added that while the UN will continue to support the country in its efforts to achieve lasting peace and mobilize international assistance, the primary responsibility for improving conditions in the CAR rests with its Government and people.