The Central African Republic (CAR) today appealed to the international community to take urgent action to help consolidate peace and prevent fighting following the withdrawal of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
“The departure of the UN mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) in December 2010 has left a security vacuum which the country is trying to fill despite its limited means,” Foreign Minister Antoine Gambi told the General Assembly. “The reinforcement of the capacities of our defence and security forces which must assume the burden from the international forces is still far from being transformed into action.”
MINURCAT, which was established in 2007 to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people displaced by to insecurity in Chad, CAR and neighbouring Sudan, was withdrawn last December at the request of the Chadian Government, which has pledged full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory.
Mr. Gambi stressed that parts of CAR still suffered from the “cruel and barbarous” aggression of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which continues to perpetrate “atrocities, destruction, looting, forced recruitment and deportations of men, women and children,” and he voiced appreciation for initiatives by the UN, African Union and United States ton the issue.
The LRA was formed in the late 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels, who then exported their rampage to Uganda’s neighbours. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for the LRA’s commander-in-chief, Joseph Kony, and other senior officers on 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Mr. Gambi also voiced support for UN efforts to bring about nuclear disarmament and called for an expansion of the 15-member Security Council “to account for the emergence of new powers by giving a more equitable place to all the continents.”