|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6406th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Is Told Governments of Chad, Central African Republic Working
to Replace United Nations Mission Set to Depart at End of Year
Residual Concerns Noted; Adequate Funding and Support Sought
For Protection of Civilians, to Preserve MINURCAT’s ‘Hard-Won Achievements’
The Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic were doing their best to take over the tasks of the United Nations Mission there, known as MINURCAT, but needed continued support in that effort, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today.
“We must not let MINURCAT’s hard-won achievements fade because of lack of funding and support,” said Youssef Mahmoud, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINURCAT. He was introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on progress in the withdrawal of the Mission by the end of 2010 and the assumption of the responsibility by the respective Governments to protect civilians in areas that had received a large population of refugees and internally displaced persons.
It was critical to support the United Nations country teams in that context as well, he said, noting that to assist the Governments in their responsibilities, MINURCAT was planning to “gift” to the Governments its camp sites. He expressed particular appreciation to the Government of Chad for helping ensure that MINURCAT’s withdrawal took place in an orderly and secure manner and with as few impediments as possible.
He affirmed that the security situation in eastern Chad remained calm, partly due to the weather and partly du to the Chad-Sudan Border Monitoring Force that would soon reach 4,000 personnel. The humanitarian situation remained of concern, however. Some 260,000 Sudanese and 68,000 Central African Republic refugees, as well as 150,000 host community members were being assisted by eight United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and 70 non-governmental organizations.
He said that some returns of internally displaced persons had been reported, but further returns required provision of basic services in the areas of return. The Government was aware of that need and was preparing a national strategy with the help of the United Nations country team.
He said the Chadian Government had also pursued efforts to protect civilians through the establishment of mechanisms for the implementation of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, finalizing a human rights action plan and strengthening the justice system with help from the European Union.
The Government had also updated the sustainability plan for the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité, the national force that MINURCAT was helping build. A representative of Chad was currently in New York to present the plan and engage with potential donors, and the country had initiated discussions with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a successor arrangement to the Trust Fund of the Détachmement Intégré de Sécurité and the provision of technical support.
Turning to the Central African Republic, he depicted the security situation in the north-east as worrisome, describing the 10 October pillaging of the village of Birao by some 40 to 50 men affiliated with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who had kidnapped 19 persons and sexually assaulted women during the attack.
To prevent a security void in the country after the departure of MINURCAT, he said, everything must be done to support the Government to deploy additional forces in Birao. MINURCAT envisioned handing over the camps it occupies at Birao and at the airport.
In other areas, he said, MINURCAT had organized an “employment fair” to help its Chadian personnel to find employment after the Mission’s withdrawal. He also thanked the countries that had contributed troops and police to MINURCAT and saluted the men and women who continued to work to complete their mandate, despite the imminent closure of the Mission.
Following that presentation, General Antoine Gambi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Francophone World of the Central African Republic, affirmed that, at the end of MINURCAT’s mandate on 31 December, his country’s defence and security forces would take over from the international forces in order to avoid a security vacuum in the north-east of the country.
He said that the attacks by LRA militants had started in the south-east but now also impacted the north-east, in Birao, as the terrorist groups passed through four prefectures. That terrorist group was pillaging, raping, massacring and burning villages, resulting among other things in thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons.
He said the African Union had called a regional ministerial meeting on the activities of LRA, aimed at finding ways and means to eradicate the phenomenon in the countries affected, namely the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic. His country, he added, would gradually deploy a battalion of 500 soldiers at Birao.
Unfortunately, he went on, the forces had a drastic lack of materials and equipment for the successful completion of its mission to ensure the security of refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarian workers. He therefore asked the international community to bolster the operational capacity of the armed forces and the security and defence forces. His country was also preparing joint patrols with neighbouring States along shared borders.
MINURCAT’s withdrawal was a new opportunity for security sector reform, he said. It was important that gains be consolidated within the framework of support mechanisms for strengthening local force capacities. He therefore reiterated his country’s request that the logistical means and installations used by MINURCAT remain in order to bolster the operational facilities of the armed forces.
The representative of Chad, Ahmad Allam-mi, affirmed his country’s commitment and resolve to effectively fulfil its mission to protect civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons, until their voluntary return to their homes. The implementation of the updated plan for the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité would enable that force to guarantee security in refugee and internally displaced persons’ camps, to enable provision of security escorts and in coordination with the Gendarmerie Nationale and the Garde Nationale et Nomade du Tchad, to maintain security in the area.
He stressed the need for the continuation of the Trust Fund after MINURCAT’s withdrawal. Noting that the 2011 budget covering operations and logistics of the Détachement stood at $21.5 million, he called upon the international community to continue its efforts, side by side with Chad, to help refugees and internally displaced persons in the east of the country.
The meeting was opened at 11:10 a.m. and closed at 11:40 a.m., after which the Council immediately went into consultations on MINURCAT, as previously agreed.
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (document S/2010/529), covering developments since 30 July 2010 in the security and humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic, as well as the fulfilment of tasks and benchmarks in preparation for the withdrawal of the Mission, known as MINURCAT, the mandate of which is due to expire on 31 December 2010.
The final phase of the drawdown of the Mission’s military component was planned to begin on 15 October, the report says, with an annex describing current deployment (as of 11 October) as 2,143 military personnel and 128 civilian police.
According to the report, the overall security situation remains “relatively quiet”, in part due to the rains, improved relations between Chad and Sudan, and the vigilance of national and joint border security forces. During recent field visits to refugee camps, sites for internally displaced persons and nearby villages, MINURCAT registered fewer reports of human rights abuses, although gender-based violence and arbitrary detention remained of concern.
Considerable efforts are now being expended to consolidate the initiatives of the past three years, the Secretary-General says, stressing that the Chadian Government’s exercise of Chadian responsibility for the protection of its citizens and securing space for humanitarian assistance operations is vital in that context.
The Secretary-General cites the “unwavering commitment” of the Government to assuming the continuation of the role of the Détachement Intégré de Sécurité, the national force that MINURCAT was helping to build, as particularly important. That force, he says, remains in its formative stage, but it had demonstrated that it can make a difference in the security of the vulnerable populations of the east. He adds that the future development of the Détachement will depend on sustained attention to training, oversight and resources, noting that the Government is seeking sustained international donor support.
“The Détachement Intégré de Sécurité must not be allowed to fail because of lack of funding,” he says, noting that arrangements are being considered for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to establish and administer a successor trust fund for the force, should that be the desire of the Government and potential donors, until the requisite national structure and capacity are assured. As mandated construction projects in support of the Détachement operation would likely not be finished by the MINURCAT withdrawal, a small cell of engineers and administrative staff will stay to oversee them, with those projects expected to be finished by the end of the Mission’s liquidation period.
The Secretary-General welcomes recent initiatives undertaken by the Chadian authorities to encourage the return of internally displaced persons through the enhancement of security and services in a number of areas, pledging that the United Nations would do its best to assist those efforts. In the protection of civilians, he points to the importance of intercommunity dialogue, the enhancement of local governance structures for justice and incarceration, respect for human rights and the creation of socio-economic incentives for voluntary return. MINURCAT is working with potential partners to ensure the continuation of those tasks, but the Government’s commitment to seeing them through will be critical, he comments.
The Secretary-General expresses concern over recent attacks in the north-eastern region of the Central African Republic, and recalls the Government’s preference for direct bilateral support to build up its security forces in the wake of MINURCAT’s withdrawal. He urges Member States to respond favourably to the requests of the country’s Government for such assistance, to ensure that there is no gap between the departure of the Mission and the further deployment of trained and equipped national forces in critical areas.
The Security Council also had before it a letter dated 7 September 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/2010/470) presenting a brief “security system sustainment plan” for the area of operations of MINURCAT and a summary of the budgetary needs of the Détachement Intégré de Sécuritéfor 2011, taking into account expenses previously incurred by partners to support Détachement elements and totalling some $21.5 million.
* *** *For information media • not an official record