‘Fragile’ peace in Central African Republic needs continued support – Ban

‘Fragile’ peace in Central African Republic needs continued support – Ban

Clashes still occur in the Central African Republic (CAR), despite peace accords
The Central African Republic (CAR) faces a number of challenges in consolidating its “fragile” peace, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, calling for further support from its partners.

“The peace process in the Central African Republic is at a crossroads, requiring more than ever the continued support of the international community for national efforts to keep the process on track and avoid a relapse into conflict,” Mr. Ban wrote in his latest report on the country and the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office there (BONUCA).

“The most pressing challenge, I believe, remains the need to reduce the high levels of extreme poverty under which the overwhelming majority of the people live in a country richly endowed with valuable natural resources,” he stated.

In that regard, he welcomed the adoption last month by the UN Peacebuilding Commission of a plan to support the country’s efforts which identifies three priority areas for the CAR and its partners to focus on, namely security sector reform, governance and the rule of law, and economic growth.

“For that strategic partnership to produce the expected results, it is vital that both the Government and the people of the Central African Republic, on the one hand, and the international community, on the other, recommit to play their respective roles to help rebuild a stable, prosperous and democratic country,” said Mr. Ban.

It is also vital, he said, to respect the calendar for the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2010 and to set up an independent electoral commission. The UN would consider providing technical assistance for the polls, once the requisite conditions are in place, he added.

The Secretary-General also highlighted the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as critical for sustainable peace and security, including efforts towards security sector reform and the organization of peaceful elections.

In addition, he voiced continuing concern about the “persistence of impunity,” which he said contributes to the creation of a climate in which massive human rights violations, corruption and disrespect for the rule of law tend to fester and flourish, and which also contributes to discouraging foreign economic investment.

“It is essential, if peace is to endure, to ensure that those accused of violating the law, including international humanitarian law, are promptly brought to justice,” he stated.

To help ensure optimal assistance from the UN system, the Secretary-General proposed the establishment of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR, to be known as BINUCA, and recommended the Security Council approve the structure and mandate proposed in the report for an initial period of one year.

In April, the Council demanded an end to violence by armed groups terrorizing northern CAR and called for all parties in the country to abide by the results of the national dialogue held in the capital Bangui from 8 to 20 December 2008.

The dialogue resulted in several agreements, including the establishment of a broad-based government, a commitment to hold municipal, legislative and presidential elections in 2009 and 2010, and the setting up of an independent electoral commission.