Since 2003, more than 240,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to eastern Chad from the conflict in Darfur, joined by approximately 45,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR). With the around 180,000 Chadians displaced by the civil war in the east of the country, this has generated increased tensions among the region's communities.
Police and civilian mission established
Responding to this, and to the activities of armed groups based in eastern Chad and Darfur, including cross-border attacks, the Security Council adopted resolution 1778 on 25 September 2007, in consultation with the authorities of Chad and the CAR, authorizing the deployment a UN civilian and police operation, MINURCAT, and a European Union military force (EUFOR), in order to contribute to the protection of civilians; promote human rights and the rule of law, and promote regional peace. The Council decided that MINURCAT shall include a maximum of 300 police and 50 military liaison officers and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
Military component added
With the adoption of resolution 1861 on 14 January 2009, the Security Council expressed again its deep concern at armed activities and banditry in eastern Chad, the north-eastern Central African Republic and western Sudan which were threatening the security of the civilian population, the conduct of humanitarian operations in those areas and the stability of those countries, and which resulted in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
By that resolution, the Council authorized the deployment of a military component of MINURCAT to follow up EUFOR in both Chad and the CAR at the end of EUFOR’s mandate in March 2009. The transfer of authority between EUFOR and the military component of MINURCAT took place on 15 March 2009. The authorized strength of MINURCAT was 300 police officers, 25 military liaison officers, 5,200 military personnel, and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
The Government of Chad asks for MINURCAT’s withdrawal
On 15 January 2010, the Government of Chad informed the Secretary-General through a note verbale that it wished MINURCAT to withdraw from Chad as of 15 March 2010. This was followed by several rounds of intensive consultations between the Government of Chad and the United Nations Secretariat which resulted in an agreement providing for the extension of MINURCAT, with a revised mandate, until the end of 2010. At the same time, the Government of Chad undertook to exercise its sovereign responsibility to ensure the security and the protection of the civilian population in eastern Chad, including refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities, with a particular focus on women and children, UN and humanitarian personnel and assets, in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.
The date for withdrawal set
On 25 May 2010, the Security Council by its resolution 1923 (2010) revised the mandate of the Mission. Under the new mandate, the Government of Chad assumes full responsibility for the protection of civilians, under international norms, as MINURCAT starts gradual withdrawal of its military component as of 27 May 2010. The new mandate would allow the civilian component of the Mission to work with the Government in consolidating gains achieved so far and help in developing plans for their sustainability after MINURCAT leaves on 31 December 2010.
The Council decided that the military component of MINURCAT shall be reduced to 2,200 military personnel (1,900 in Chad and 300 in the CAR) and 25 military liaison officers and further decided that MINURCAT should include a maximum of 300 police officers and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
The Council called upon the Secretary-General to implement the initial withdrawal of the exceeding number of troops by 15 July 2010 and the final withdrawal of the remaining troops beginning on 15 October 2010, and to complete withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian MINURCAT components, other than those required for the mission’s liquidation, by 31 December 2010.
During the last mandated period, MINURCAT handed over its programmes to the Government of Chad and the UN agencies in the country as it prepared to wind up its responsibilities there at the end of 2010. The programmes handed over included human rights, rule of law and good governance, child protection, the campaign against gender-based violence, the return of internally displaced persons and HIV/AIDS projects.
As MINURCAT completed its mandate on 31 December 2010, the UN country team has remained in the country to continue to work for the benefit of the Chadian people.
The Government of Chad said its Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), an integrated security unit which the UN helped to train and support, will ensure the protection of civilians after MINURCAT’s departure.
Reporting to the Security Council in December, the Secretary-General said “MINURCAT has been an unusual and unique United Nations peacekeeping operation in that it was devoted solely to contributing to the protection of civilians, without an explicit political mandate. It has gone through the stages of planning, deployment and withdrawal in the short span of less than four years, enduring adversities in each.”
For more on the implementation of the MINURCAT’s mandate, achievements and the lessons learned, please see the Secretary-General’s final report S/2010/611 of 1 December 2010.