As the United Nations mission in Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) prepares to wrap up, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the need to support both countries as they seek to tackle their respective security and humanitarian challenges on their own.
The mission, known as MINURCAT, was set up by the Security Council in 2007 to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighbouring Sudan.
In May the Council decided to end the mission by 31 December, after the Chadian Government requested the move and said it would assume full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory.
The final phase of the mission’s drawdown began on 15 October, and its security tasks in Chad will be transferred by the end of this month to the UN-trained Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS).
In his latest report on MINURCAT, Mr. Ban notes that after only three years since its inception, the DIS force remains in a formative stage.
“It has succeeded in demonstrating that it can make a difference to the security of the vulnerable populations in the east. This hard-won progress relied on considerable support from the international community,” he writes.
He says the future development of DIS will depend on sustained attention, including in the areas of training, oversight and resources. Noting that the Government is seeking sustained international donor support for these security units next year, he stressed that DIS must not be allowed to fail because of lack of funding.
Mr. Ban points out that the protection of civilians in eastern Chad consists of more than assuring the physical security of refugees, the displaced and humanitarian workers and the provision of logistical support and hard-wall structures for DIS.
“Intercommunity dialogue, the enhancement of local governance structures, including justice and prisons, respect for human rights and the creation of socio-economic incentives for the safe and voluntary return of the displaced are mutually interdependent requirements for the protection of civilians, and depend ultimately on the host Government,” he states.
“While MINURCAT is working with potential partners to ensure the continuation of these tasks, the Government’s commitment to seeing them to fruition will be critical.”
Meanwhile, the security situation in north-eastern CAR continues to suffer from inter-ethnic conflict, banditry and cross-border criminality, particularly in the Vakaga and Haute-Kotto regions.
In anticipation of MINURCAT’s withdrawal, the Government has continued to express concern about the security situation in that part of the country, notes the Secretary-General. It has also repeatedly stated its preference for the receipt of direct bilateral support to build up the capacity of its security forces.
“I urge Member States to respond favourably to the request of the Government of the Central African Republic for assistance to ensure that there is no gap between the departure of MINURCAT and the further deployment of trained and equipped national forces to the Vakaga region,” Mr. Ban says.