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Plight of displaced in Chad, Central African Republic worries Security Council

Plight of displaced in Chad, Central African Republic worries Security Council

Council President Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo of South Africa
Condemning continued armed activity of rebel groups in eastern Chad, members of the Security Council today expressed their concern over the humanitarian situation in that region and the neighbouring north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR), as the number of displaced persons continues to swell.

Council members also welcomed progress in setting up the mission in the two countries, known as MINURCAT and its European support force, EUFOR, said Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, Council President for April, in a press statement after a briefing by Assistant Secretary General Edmond Mulet.

“They stressed that the full deployment of MINURCAT and EUFOR Chad/CAR will contribute to the protection of vulnerable civilian populations and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, pursuant to resolution 1778 (2007),” he said.

They also encouraged Member States to support those deployments through contributing necessary personnel and assets.

The innovative, multi-dimensional MINURCAT was set up by the Security Council last September to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the northeast of the CAR and eastern Chad and in the neighbouring Darfur region of Sudan.

It was mandated to comprise 300 police and 50 military liaison officers, as well as civilian staff, focusing on the areas of civil affairs, human rights and the rule of law. The strength as of 1 April stood at 163 international and 64 national staff, according to the latest report of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Deployment was delayed when Chadian rebels advanced from the area of the border with Sudan in a bid to take Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, in early February. Though the rebels were eventually driven out of the city, street fighting left many dead and UN staff were evacuated.

Also in early February, about 10,000 people from West Darfur sought refuge in eastern Chad following a series of deadly air and land attacks by the Sudanese Government and its allied militia.

In addition, the Prime Minister of the CAR resigned in January and in the subsequent period many thousands fled their villages due to raids by armed groups, with many making their way to Chad.

In his statement today, Mr. Kumalo said Council members strongly urged Sudan and Chad to meet the obligations of their 13 March agreement on reducing border tensions and encouraged the countries of the region to get actively involved in the follow-up.

They also encouraged authorities in Chad and CAR to continue their efforts to promote inclusive political dialogue in their countries, he said.