The situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (S/2009/359)
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Liu Zhenmin
|Mr. Hoang Chi Trung
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (S/2009/359)
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of the Central African Republic and Chad, in which they request to be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the consideration of the item, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, Special Representative and head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad.
It is so decided.
I invite Mr. Angelo to take a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them document S/2009/359, which contains the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad.
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, to whom I now give the floor.
Let me thank the Security Council for the opportunity to present the report (S/2009/359) of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which is dated 14 July 2009. It covers major political, security and humanitarian developments since the last report (S/2009/199), of 14 April 2009. The report also includes an annex containing a strategic work plan towards the fulfilment of the benchmarks endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1861 (2009). I would like to take this opportunity to give the Council an update on the latest key developments. I shall turn first to the political situation in Chad.
In the framework of the agreement of 13 August 2007, the Government and the democratic opposition reached consensus, on 28 May, on the laws regulating the status of the opposition and the political parties’ charter. They also agreed on the electoral code and the Commission electorale nationale indépendante. These agreements allowed for serious progress to made in the internal political process. Last week, the members and Chairman of the electoral commission were sworn in.
In the same vein, the Government launched a general population census on 20 May, paving the way for voter registration and constituency delimitation ahead of national elections. Support from the international community for the census also included some logistical assistance from MINURCAT. The results are due to be released shortly.
With regard to the security situation, on 4 May Chadian armed opposition groups, under the coalition of Union des forces de la résistance, launched an attack on Chadian territory from the Sudan. The attack was repelled by the Armée Nationale Tchadienne through air strikes and a direct confrontation on 7 May close to Am Dam, forcing the rebels to retreat. As a security measure, MINURCAT relocated a number of aid workers from Koukou Angarana to Goz Beida during the armed conflict and significantly increased patrolling in all sectors. In addition, MINURCAT called on all parties to respect the humanitarian space and international humanitarian law.
As to Chad-Sudan relations, notwithstanding the Doha agreement signed on 3 May by the Governments of Chad and the Sudan under the aegis of Qatar, the latest clashes that occurred in May once again strained relations between the two countries. Despite the statements of both countries on 24 and 25 May expressing support for the Qatar efforts to end the current situation, new tensions erupted recently. The relationship between Chad and the Sudan has a critical impact on the situation on both sides of the border. There is an urgent need to de-escalate the situation and resume diplomatic initiatives.
In this context, we are liaising closely with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and are in contact with the Dakar process member States to try to identify the confidence-building measures that are required for the next meeting of the Contact Group, to take place in the near future.
The rainy season is providing a window of opportunity for renewed political engagement between Chad and the Sudan. The parties should use this opportunity to revive the process, including the implementation of the border verification mechanism.
With regard to the Central African Republic, the situation in the Vakaga region in the north-eastern part of the country has been extremely insecure over the past three months and continues to be of serious concern, as armed groups and bandits continue to operate in the area. On 6 and 21 June, armed men attacked the town of Birao. At least 27 people were killed in the clashes and at least 60 per cent of the houses in that town were burned to the ground. As of today, large segments of the population have not returned to Birao.
MINURCAT, in close liaison with the United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA), has maintained continuous contacts with the Government of the Central African Republic with a view to convincing the national authorities to combine the military presence of MINURCAT with the strengthened presence of State officials and with the initiation of mediation efforts. MINURCAT is at present fully deployed in the mandated area of operations in the Central African Republic, but the gravity of the situation goes beyond our capacity to respond to all the security needs in the area. On 1 July, the Government sent a mediation delegation headed by the Minister for Territorial Administration. The Minister was accompanied by a BONUCA political officer and received logistical and security support from MINURCAT. The initial mediation efforts were successful but need to be sustained.
The Vakaga region is still in a precarious situation. Humanitarian assistance is not being delivered at this stage for reasons of insecurity. The region requires the sustained attention of the Government of the Central African Republic and of the international community. This includes the areas of Sam Oundja and Sikikede, which for the moment are effectively without a security presence. They are home to refugee and displaced populations.
MINURCAT also worked closely with the Government of the Central African Republic and the United Nations country team in Bangui to establish a humanitarian corridor to assist 16,600 refugees from the Central African Republic who are currently in southern Chad. It was impossible for us to reach them from the Chadian side due to the rains. With the cooperation of the Government of the Central African Republic, we were able to open a humanitarian corridor and provide the necessary assistance to the refugees.
As to the humanitarian situation, during the period under review MINURCAT established a well-structured dialogue with the humanitarian community. This dialogue, which is facilitated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, takes place on a weekly basis. It has led to a better understanding of each side’s roles and concerns.
Following the May clashes, a significant rise in crime, banditry and insecurity took place, reducing once more the humanitarian space in some areas of eastern Chad. As a temporary measure, MINURCAT increased the number of escorts to ensure the continuation of humanitarian operations. Humanitarian staff has been included in the security and evacuation plans and training has taken place at the local level to ensure a coordinated response, if necessary.
There has been an increase in the number of small arms and unexploded ordnance. Our mine action unit has, in coordination with Chad’s Centre nationale de déminage and a number of non-governmental organizations, undertaken an emergency clearance of major roads, as well as areas of operation in the immediate vicinity of previous and recent battle areas. Having completed clearance of major axes, the mine action unit will now deploy demining teams to priority areas of operation, in particular those that have been identified as areas of potential return for displaced people.
With regard to the deployment of military force, it now stands at 46 per cent of its mandated strength. The slow deployment of the force has limited the ability of MINURCAT to effectively execute the military concept of operations and provide the required safe and secure environment for humanitarians, refugees, displaced people and vulnerable populations, including in the returnee areas. As a temporary measure, the force will offer escorts to the humanitarian community until such time as there is enough capacity to make patrolling the preferred method of intervention.
In the meantime, the force implemented Operation Pioneer from 13 to 17 July, significantly increasing its presence in the field through foot patrols and troops in remote villages of potential return of displaced people. The force also increased patrolling in the main axes and made extensive use of rotary assets to reach areas otherwise inaccessible during the rainy season. These preventive deployments projected the force in expeditionary operations. The exercise was conducted successfully, and I can assure the Council that it will be repeated with increasing frequency as the force receives more troops.
There is still a lack of rotary assets with enhanced night-flight capability, and as of today we have only four out of the planned 18 military helicopters. Bangladesh will deploy three utility helicopters later in the year, but we have so far received no pledges for the remaining helicopters. Should this unacceptable situation continue to prevail, it will be necessary to explore the possibility of acquiring such capabilities commercially. We would like to ask those already deployed in the force to strengthen their presence and prolong their deployment.
I wish to say some encouraging words about the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS). Since October 2008, DIS has conducted approximately 3,000 security escorts and arrested more than 90 individuals suspected of involvement in various crimes against the humanitarian community, as well as 56 individuals accused of armed robbery and five of rape. These rapes took place around refugee camps.
The rate of recuperation of hijacked vehicles now stands at 60 per cent compared to 10 per cent before the deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité. Currently, DIS is carrying out an average of about 85 escorts and 240 patrols per week. These are excellent indicators of performance and motivation.
The May events show that DIS, as a national police force, risks becoming a target of the armed opposition groups. The Détachement intégré de sécurité experienced a number of direct attacks during and after the incursions, with several casualties as a result. MINURCAT and the Government are in full agreement that DIS is a police force without a military mandate, and that its primary scope is to protect and secure displaced people, refugees, humanitarians and the local population.
In the meantime, the United Nations police will intensify close in-service training of DIS elements, including the two-month training and certification of 40 judicial police officers. We will also continue to promote close cooperation between DIS and our judiciary section. The logistical support of the Mission to DIS remains a serious weakness that we are trying to address with a great sense of urgency.
The DIS concept can easily be part of a reform of the security sector in Chad. However, DIS is funded on a voluntary basis by Member States, and the Trust Fund is rapidly running out of money. By the end of October, the Fund will be penniless. As Council members can understand, the situation is very serious and I would plead for their continued support for this central element of our Mission. The budget to keep DIS operating for another year currently stands at around $17 million.
I would like to make a brief comment about justice and prisons. As Council members know, we have an important justice support programme in the section. We have trained civil servants to be deployed as justices of the peace and prosecutors in eastern Chad in the absence of magistrates. During the reporting period, we worked very closely with the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to facilitate the proceedings of mobile criminal courts in several locations in eastern Chad. However, the security of judicial authorities remains a constraint to the deployment of the judges.
We have also provided on-the-job training for prison staff in eastern Chad. We collaborate very closely with the Chadian prison authorities and have drafted a comprehensive set of laws, policies and procedures to assist the Government of Chad in the establishment of a professional prison system. These measures are now awaiting the approval of Parliament. Nevertheless, the few existing prisons in eastern Chad are in a dilapidated state and in urgent need of rehabilitation.
With regard to human rights, the Mission continues to follow up on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1612 (2005), 1820 (2008) and 1325 (2000). Eighty-four children were among the rebel combatants captured during the fighting in early May. These 84 children were handed over to UNICEF for demobilization and reinsertion. We commend the Government for this initiative. However, this event confirms that the mobilization of child soldiers remains a serious problem in Chad and a key priority for our work.
There have also been problems with arbitrary and prolonged detention of men, women and minors as well as gender-based violence, forced marriages and domestic violence. As part of a potentially wider security sector reform, we need to prepare a comprehensive plan for arms collection.
With respect to political and civil affairs, I would like to say very briefly that, during the past few months, MINURCAT, together with local traditional and administrative authorities, and with the support of the European Union and the European Commission, has initiated an intercommunity dialogue programme, which is based on strengthening existing traditional conflict resolution mechanisms through the establishment of local reconciliation commissions between communities, chaired by traditional and administrative authorities alike.
More particularly, on 30 June, with our facilitation and with the assistance of local authorities, the tribal leaders of the Massalit and Zaghawa groups agreed to address the issues hindering the return of the Massalit to their villages of origin. This displaced ethnic group has now started to return in time for the planting season, giving hope for a long-term resolution of the conflict. In a very recent similar effort on 15 July, we managed to bring together two communities that had been in a process of serious conflict, and they have agreed to live peacefully and put a stop to their long-lasting feud. This turn of events will enable more than 1,000 refugees that have crossed the border and are currently in the Sudan to return to Chad in the next few days or couple of weeks.
These positive developments give hope for building peace at the grass roots level. They are also conducive to the return of displaced persons, which, as Council members know, is the primary benchmark of our strategy.
I would next like to say one or two words on the strategic workplan. As outlined in my introduction, we have developed a strategic workplan including the main benchmarks for the Mission, indicators of progress, key activities and some of the necessary conditions which need to be in place. The question of the return of a critical mass of internally displaced persons is of particular interest, as this benchmark requires the implementation of a comprehensive approach to fight impunity in eastern Chad, improve security and strengthen the rule of law and civil administration. All these aspects require the support of the international community and good coordination with national authorities.
Speaking of the authorities, during the reporting period, we have continued our frequent contacts with the Government of the Central African Republic concerning the situation in our area of operations. The Government of Central African Republic signed on 13 June 2009 an amendment to the status of mission agreement. The relationship with Chad also remains very constructive. However, we have not yet been able to complete the discussions with the Government on the agreement. It is a matter of great urgency and utmost importance to the Mission, and we hope to resolve some of the issues relating to taxation and the status of mission agreement and come to agreement on this matter shortly.
We have also maintained a very close liaison with BONUCA and UNAMID. To address issues of mutual concern, we have worked closely with the United Nations country team in the Central African Republic and arranged bilateral and trilateral meetings between the United Nations country teams in Chad, the Central African Republic and Cameroon. We also arranged an inter-mission meeting between MINURCAT, UNAMID, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan and BONUCA to improve coordination between these missions and look for synergies.
To maximize efforts and avoid duplication, the Mission and the United Nations country team in N’Djamena have also started preparing an integrated strategic framework for the United Nations system in Chad outlining peacebuilding activities in the country. The framework should be finalized by October 2009 and should be considered an example of integration in a situation where we do not have an integrated mission.
I thank Mr. Angelo for his briefing.
I shall now give the floor to members of the Council who wish to make statements.
At the outset, I should like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, for his very detailed and comprehensive briefing. The situation in Chad and the Central African Republic continues to pose many challenges for the Security Council and for the United Nations as a whole. I should like to comment briefly on some of them.
First, it is important to complete the deployment of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and to ensure the proper functioning of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS). Thus far, the transition from the European Union-led military force to MINURCAT has been proceeding fairly smoothly, thanks in particular to the progressive nature of the withdrawal of the European contingents, the efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the efforts on the ground to ensure good coordination among all the parties. However, as Mr. Angelo said, it is essential that MINURCAT’s deployment accelerate and be completed. To that end, we call on all States to confirm their commitments or undertake new ones.
For its part, France has announced that it will maintain a logistics battalion in addition to its support detachment for the Togolese battalion in Birao and the more general support provided through Operation Epervier. It is also essential that the United Nations respect the commitments undertaken with Chad concerning the time frame for rebuilding airport infrastructure, as well as the commitments undertaken with the European Union.
With regard to the Détachement intégré de sécurité, we are pleased that its full deployment has been possible, that it is providing security in 12 refugee camps and in certain towns in eastern Chad and that it has been providing escorts for many humanitarian convoys — according to the report of the Secretary-General before us (S/2009/359), 2,600 between October 2008 and May 2009. However, we are concerned by certain disciplinary problems regarding the conduct of several DIS personnel, about which we should be vigilant.
In order to ensure the best possible functioning of the DIS, it is also important that there be the best possible coordination and cooperation between it and MINURCAT and, in particular, that MINURCAT provide the necessary logistical support to the DIS. Good synergy between those two components is essential not only so that the DIS can carry out its mission, but also for the credibility of the United Nations as a whole, in particular in the eyes of the Chadian authorities.
The second challenge on which I would like to briefly comment is the protection of populations and humanitarian workers in a security context that remains very uncertain. As indicated in the report of the Secretary-General, the security environment in Chad and the Central African Republic remains tense.
First, the tension characterizing the relations between Chad and the Sudan is very worrisome. We call on both countries to honour their commitments and to refrain from any provocation and any action that could lead to an escalation. In particular, all violations of territorial space and all support for rebel groups must cease.
Moreover, greater efforts must be made to combat banditry in Chad and the Central African Republic. Attacks against humanitarian personnel remain very numerous. The figures in the Secretary-General’s report on this are very worrying. I reiterate that 150 attacks have been reported in five months, and I would also recall that members of the DIS are also being attacked, as shown by the deaths of three of them, in April, May and June respectively.
In the Central African Republic, the increase in ethnic tension has also led to increased insecurity. We welcome the way in which MINURCAT is carrying out its mandate, and in particular its assistance to humanitarian workers during the 6 June and 21 June attacks. We encourage MINURCAT, in collaboration with the Chadian authorities, to continue its activities to end human rights violations and, in particular, to end the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups, as well as sexual violence.
Finally, the third challenge: There is a need to continue to encourage the various parties to participate in the political process in good faith. First and foremost, it is essential that Chad and the Sudan rejoin the Dakar process and resolve their problems as neighbours.
With respect to the internal political process in Chad, we welcome the progress made in implementing the 13 August 2007 agreement, in particular thanks to the finalization of the electoral code, the establishment of a National Independent Electoral Commission and the adoption of a law on the status of the opposition and on political parties. The launch of the census is an essential step in preparing for elections. It is a noteworthy development, and we hope that this positive momentum will continue.
In the Central African Republic also, it is essential that the peace process continue. In particular, I should like to mention the importance of continuing the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
In conclusion, I should like once again to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and to pay tribute to his work and that of his team and to welcome the strategic work plan set out in the Secretary-General’s report, which we regard as particularly suited to the objectives and the situation.
I should like to begin by thanking Mr. Angelo for introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (S/2009/359).
Costa Rica welcomes the preparation of the strategic work plan for the Mission, which will be a valuable tool for measuring its progress. We believe that the inclusion of benchmarks is valuable, as is the description of activities planned to achieve them. In particular, we support the decision to include a new benchmark on improved peace and security in the subregion in general. As we have stated previously, the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons in eastern Chad — a basic objective of MINURCAT’s deployment — can be achieved only if the root causes of conflict are addressed within each of the countries and in the subregion as a whole. This new peace and security benchmark responds to that need and is a significant measure that will help us better understand that MINURCAT’s objectives depend on a solution to the internal conflict in Chad and on improved relations between that country and the Sudan.
Costa Rica agrees with the Secretary-General that, if the MINURCAT benchmarks are to be met, in addition to appropriate performance, there is a need for other concrete actions by the Government of Chad, the armed opposition groups, regional actors and the international community. The Government of Chad has the responsibility to redouble its efforts to implement the Sirte Agreement and to promote a political process that is comprehensive and inclusive of all parties. As the Secretary-General noted in paragraph 62 of his previous report on MINURCAT (S/2009/199), for any reconciliation process to be viable, it is important that all opposition, political and armed, be associated and included.
In that connection, we also call on all parties to the internal conflict in Chad to commit themselves to the process of dialogue and national reconciliation within the framework of the Sirte Agreement and the 13 August 2007 agreement. We recognize the progress made in the past few months in implementing the 13 August agreement and in preparing for elections.
We also welcome the treaty signed between three rebel groups and the Government of Chad a few days ago in Tripoli, whereby that coalition of armed groups renounced armed struggle and committed themselves to dialogue, setting an example to be imitated by other armed groups.
We urge the Government of Chad to consider every possibility for reconciliation, including accepting the good offices of the Secretary-General to facilitate dialogue. We join in the appeal issued by the Secretary-General to regional actors and members of the Council with influence over the parties, urging them to commit themselves to a peaceful settlement of their differences.
On the regional level, we once again echo the call addressed to the Governments of Chad and the Sudan to refrain from their usual political and military provocations. It is high time for them to cease undermining the work of the international community, to end their support for rebel groups and to devote their energies to confidence-building and the normalization of their relations. We hope that the Dakar Contact Group will meet soon, and we support the efforts of the Government of Qatar to foster better relationships between the two countries. However, it is important to stress that the ultimate responsibility lies with the Governments of those two countries, which are called upon to show the political will necessary to fulfil their commitments and agreements.
My country is very concerned about the humanitarian and human rights situation in Chad, including the prevalence of sexual violence, particularly that involving members of the Chadian armed forces. We are also troubled by the recruitment of children. We support the measures and initiatives taken by MINURCAT and other national and international partners to address the issue of the recruitment and use of children so as to improve the judicial system and raise awareness of resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008).
We vigorously condemn the attacks on humanitarian personnel, and we believe that impunity for those committing these crimes must end.
We are grateful for the inclusion in the report of specific cases regarding the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation among local communities, which is a key part of the mandate. We encourage the Mission to continue these efforts and to suggest new ways of supporting and further bolstering the capacity of MINURCAT in this respect.
We are pleased that the deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) has been completed, and we hope that the process of training and qualifying DIS agents will be reinforced by MINURCAT. We also support the establishment of the Office of Protection and Escorts to improve coordination between the humanitarian community, MINURCAT and the security forces.
Finally, we wish to express our concern regarding the deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, particularly the increase in conflicts among ethnic groups. We support the actions of MINURCAT in its area of operations with a view to improving the security environment, and we hope that coordination with the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic will be extended so as to deal with the resurgence of violence in north-eastern Central African Republic.
First of all, I would like to thank the Special Representative, Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, for his briefing on developments in the situation in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic.
The security and humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic remains worrying due to the ongoing clashes between Government forces and armed groups. My delegation once again condemns the attack of 4 May 2009 by armed groups under the banner of the Union des forces de la résistance. We reiterate our appeal to all parties, especially armed movements, to renounce any military solution to the crisis and to respect their commitments, in particular the Sirte agreement of October 2007.
The lack of security continues to be a major source of concern and compromises humanitarian activities. We are pleased that the Chadian Government, supported by the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), has been able to effectively deploy the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) and thereby reinforce security in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. We encourage the partners to continue to provide significant logistical support to DIS so that it can fulfil its mission.
One encouraging event was the signing on 25 July in Tripoli of a peace agreement between the Chadian Government and the Mouvement national, which provided for an end to hostilities and the reintegration of combatants from the Mouvement into the Chadian army and of its leaders into Government administration.
At the political level, we are encouraged by the progress achieved, in particular the consensus reached on draft laws concerning, respectively, the status of the opposition, the political parties’ charter and the approval of decrees to implement laws on the electoral code and the National Independent Electoral Commission. We welcome the holding of the general census of the population, which is a further decisive step towards the organization and holding of general elections. The parties must maintain an ongoing dialogue and coordination to resolve any disagreements.
With respect to the Central African Republic, we are concerned about the deterioration of the security situation in the north-eastern part of the country due to the resurgence of acts of banditry, intertribal violence and attacks by armed groups, which has increased the number of refugees and limits the delivery of humanitarian aid. It is essential that all parties respect the decisions they reached following the inclusive political dialogue of December 2008. We encourage them to continue to make progress towards genuine national reconciliation in order to enable the political process to move forward, with a view to holding legislative and presidential elections in 2010.
This Council should continue to give particular attention to the security and humanitarian situations in the Central African Republic, especially in the northern, north-western and north-central parts of the country.
With respect to the situation in the subregion, we remain convinced that resolving the crisis and putting an end to instability in Chad will require close and effective cooperation among States of the region. We continue to encourage Chad and the Sudan to improve their bilateral relations and to cooperate fully in order to put an end to the activities of illegal armed groups, in accordance with the commitments undertaken in the Dakar agreement and the Doha agreement of 3 May 2009. We urge them in particular to avoid any act that could fuel tensions between the two States.
With respect to the deployment of the military component of MINURCAT, we urge the international community to do its utmost to ensure the effective deployment of the military component of MINURCAT and to make it operational by giving it the logistical means necessary to carry out its mandate. My delegation takes due note of the strategic workplan of MINURCAT. We share the point of view expressed by the Secretary-General on the preliminary conditions for the withdrawal of the Mission, which will require the ongoing commitment of Governments in the region, a resolution of the potential factors of insecurity and instability along the border between Chad and the Sudan, and the support of the international community.
In conclusion, we invite the international community and the Council in particular, in the light of the ongoing high level of insecurity in Chad and the Central African Republic, to remain mobilized in order to provide significant assistance to the respective efforts by the Governments of these two countries.
We too would like to thank Mr. Angelo, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his briefing and for introducing the report on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (S/2009/359).
Unfortunately, the security situation remains complex. Activities by rebel armed groups continue to destabilize the situation in eastern Chad. The situation in the north-eastern Central African Republic has become more complicated with an ongoing grave humanitarian crisis. Under those conditions, provision of external assistance and the continued leading role of the United Nations remain essential. We share the view of the Secretary-General that the Government of Chad bears the main responsibility for stabilization of the eastern part of the country.
We welcome the progress made by the Government of Chad in implementing the agreements with the political opposition. Stabilization in Chad and in the subregion as a whole will be impossible without improved relations between those countries and the Sudan. In that context, we are concerned about reports incursions by Chadian aircraft into Sudanese territory and air strikes in western Darfur on 16 July. We believe that both sides should show the political will to normalize their bilateral relations, which would be in the interest of the Sudanese and Chadian peoples and the subregion as a whole, especially since mechanisms and a basis for negotiations exist for that. Progress must continue towards implementing the Dakar agreement, and diplomatic efforts must be stepped up in order to resume the work of the Contact Group established under that agreement.
We commend the activities of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, in which Russia is actively participating. We welcome the conclusion of preparations, with the help of MINURCAT, and the deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) in eastern Chad. In addition to providing needed logistical support and ongoing training to DIS, it is also important in our view to work to coordinate the activities of MINURCAT, DIS and the Chadian security forces.
We believe that the military components of the Mission will be fully staffed by the end of 2009. We also hope that the troop-contributing countries will provide the necessary air units for the Mission, because at present the Russian aviation unit bears the brunt of that burden. The Russian unit will of course continue to carry out those functions in accordance with the mandate.
With respect to the question of benchmarks for MINURCAT, they are an important element in assessing the effectiveness of that United Nations operation. In our view, in the process of developing those benchmarks the Mission carried out the necessary consultations with all interested parties, in particular the Government of Chad.
I too would like to thank Special Representative Victor Da Silva Angelo for his informative briefing.
On this occasion, I would like to pay tribute to the late President Omar Bongo of the Gabonese Republic, who contributed so much to promoting peace and stability in the region that we are discussing today.
The volatile security situation in Chad and the Central African Republic is cause for serious concern to all of us. Attacks by rebel forces continued in eastern Chad. Violence and banditry by armed groups increased in the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic and light weapons continued to proliferate. The political process to seek stability is essential to ensure security. Both Governments — Chad and the Central African Republic — are to be commended for their efforts at political dialogue with the rebel groups. For its part, the Government of Chad signed a peace agreement with three rebel groups in Tripoli, on 26 July — just two days ago. The valuable support of Libya is very important.
We are also encouraged by the progress in the election process since the Government of Chad launched a general population census in May. It is our hope that the parliamentary election to be held next year and the presidential election the year after will be organized as planned in a free and fair manner.
The Government of the Central African Republic is also in the process of establishing legal and institutional frameworks for parliamentary and presidential elections next year. We welcome those positive steps. I trust that the political dialogue among the Government, opposition and rebel groups will be further promoted and intensified.
Such volatile security affects the humanitarian situation in Chad and the Central African Republic. A growing number of refugees and internally displaced persons are experiencing difficulty in gaining access to necessary humanitarian support. The international community must be more active and more generous in delivering humanitarian assistance to the region.
On our part, Japan in recent months has disbursed approximately $10 million through United Nations programmes for humanitarian assistance in Chad and an additional $4.5 million for humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic.
Tension between the Sudan and Chad is another source of concern for the stability of the region. We urge both countries to respect the Doha agreement for improved relations and to resolve differences through dialogue. To that end, I would like to underline the importance of immediately halting all hostilities and resuming the Dakar peace process. We support and encourage continuous active mediation and confidence-building efforts by countries in the region.
The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) has an essential stabilizing role in the region through taking over the activities of the European Union-led peacekeeping force. Japan is concerned about the delay in deployment, which still stands below 50 per cent of the mandated troop strength. There may be a danger of gaps, if rotation of troops is not met by reliable new forces. We appreciate the contributions of all troop-contributing countries, but we need more support. I urge all concerned to make their best efforts to expedite seamless transitions in troop deployment.
It is also important to support capacity-building for Chadian police and judicial institutions. I call for the pledges to support the Détachement intégré de sécurité to be implemented without delay, in order to reinforce security in collaboration with MINURCAT. We welcome the ongoing efforts to strengthen Chadian judicial institutions and the rule of law. Such efforts are essential in order to defend human rights and to protect women and children.
I would like to conclude by expressing our gratitude to the members of the MINURCAT for their dedicated work and for the strong leadership of Mr. Angelo. MINURCAT needs all possible support to fulfil its responsibilities based on a strategic workplan with the benchmarks that have been defined.
I would like to thank Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his very comprehensive briefing. Let me also commend him for his management of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in difficult times, particularly during the attacks by opposition groups in May.
Austria strongly condemns the renewed escalation of violence. This was the fourth major incursion by Chadian armed opposition groups crossing the border from the Sudan. This has again led to a temporary deterioration of the security situation in eastern Chad. We are also concerned about reports that recruitment by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and others — both voluntary and involuntary — is on the rise in refugee camps. A political solution remains the only viable one. Progress needs to be achieved at all levels with the armed opposition and the political opposition and with regard to relations between Chad and the Sudan.
Concerning the internal political dialogue between the Government of Chad and the political opposition, Austria welcomes the significant progress that has been made in implementation of the 13 August agreement. The establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission now opens the way for elections, which we hope will be held in June 2010. We believe that the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) could play a supporting role in the election process, which therefore should be considered positively if requested by the Government of Chad. Austria also welcomes MINURCAT’s activities in resolving localized conflicts in eastern Chad.
Efforts are also needed to bring the armed groups back into the democratic process. Three groups signed a peace deal with the Chadian Government in Tripoli last weekend. That shows that the Sirte process remains open. We hope that progress can be made in bringing the main rebel group, the Union des forces de la résistance, to the negotiation table. We would like to commend the efforts of the Government of Libya in that regard. It will be very important to keep the implementation of those agreements on track.
We are deeply concerned about the continuation of severely strained relations between the Sudan and Chad. The signing of an agreement in Doha on 3 May provided us with a glimmer of hope. However, the subsequent incursion of armed groups across the border has once again shown how tense and unpredictable the security situation between the two countries is. Joint border monitoring by Chadian and Sudanese forces has been suggested on several occasions. Austria thinks that that is an interesting proposal, and we would be interested in the opinion of the Special Representative on that issue.
Relations between the Sudan and Chad have a direct impact on all developments in the region. All regional and international actors should use their influence to achieve an improvement of the situation. We therefore also welcome the fact that the issue of the improvement of overall peace and security in the region is now a benchmark by which to measure progress in the implementation of MINURCAT’s mandate.
Austria would also like to underline the importance of MINURCAT’s monitoring of the human rights situation in eastern Chad. We are concerned about increasing reports of attacks on humanitarian personnel, sexual violence and child abductions from internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. Efforts should be made to prevent demobilized children from being recruited once again by rebel groups. All parties to the conflict should act in compliance with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws.
On IDPs, the facilitation of voluntary return and resettlement in secure and sustainable conditions constitutes a core part of MINURCAT’s mandate. We understand that such returns have repeatedly hit obstacles or are difficult to measure because of migratory habits. Due to the volatile security situation, challenges to creating an environment conducive to returns remain. Furthermore, alternatives to return and resettlement need to be identified. We hope that those further aspects will be incorporated into the first benchmark.
Austria welcomes the training and deployment of police officers of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) in eastern Chad, which has contributed to enhancing security in refugee camps and key towns. We acknowledge the efforts undertaken by the Chadian authorities to deal with recent cases of ill discipline, and look forward to the upcoming comprehensive assessment of DIS.
We continue to believe that Chad has a key significance for the stability of the entire region. As is known, Austria is engaged in MINURCAT with some 130 troops. An Austrian national, Ambassador Georg Lennkh, is the Special Representative of the European Union Presidency for the Political Dialogue in Chad. Austria highly appreciates all efforts undertaken by MINURCAT and the United Nations country team, and welcomes the benchmarks and timelines for progress elaborated in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2009/359).
I, too, would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Angelo for his briefing this morning. We appreciate the work of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in contributing to the security of refugees and internally displaced persons in those countries. The United States is also grateful to the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic for their support of MINURCAT and their commitment to providing humanitarian organizations access to those in greatest need.
Today, I would like to discuss briefly four issues: MINURCAT’s deployment; the activities of the United Nations-trained Chadian special police; increasing levels of violence in the Central African Republic; and the deterioration of relations between Chad and the Sudan.
First, we recognize the difficulties of deploying to Chad and the Central African Republic, and we acknowledge that it has been only four months since the 15 March transfer of authority from the European Union Force to MINURCAT. Nonetheless, we are concerned that the deployment of troops has been impeded by delays in the procurement of contingent-owned equipment. The current deployment of the contingent at 46 per cent of its authorized strength is insufficient to provide the level of security and assistance required in MINURCAT’s mandate.
We share the concern of the Secretary-General that a security gap of any duration leaves the Mission unacceptably vulnerable. The United States will continue to provide equip-and-train programmes to deploying African contingents. We urge all organizations assisting with the deployment to take immediate steps to expedite troop deployments and to ensure that those troops are adequately trained and equipped to perform the Mission’s mandate.
Secondly, we are pleased that the activities of the United Nations-trained Chadian special police, the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), have resulted in improved security in and around refugee and internally displaced persons camps. However, we continue to be concerned about deficiencies in training and equipping DIS. Recent attacks on DIS sadly demonstrate that it must enhance its capacity to defend itself against armed bandits.
There also have been cases of serious misconduct on the part of some DIS officers, and we are glad that appropriate action has been taken in those cases. We believe that the DIS would benefit from further United Nations training on weapons handling and police conduct. We look forward to receiving additional information from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on its assessment of DIS.
Thirdly, we are deeply concerned about the growing violence in the Central African Republic, caused by inter-ethnic disputes, banditry and lawlessness. Internal displacement around Birao has increased. MINURCAT’s mandate in north-eastern Central African Republic includes limited operations to extract civilians and humanitarian workers in danger, along with protecting United Nations personnel and equipment. We urge MINURCAT to maximize its capabilities to protect civilians and humanitarian actors in the area by ensuring that the troop contingent deployed to Birao remains at full strength at all times and by maximizing the number of patrols conducted.
Fourthly, the insecurity caused by the operations of armed groups in Chad and in the Sudan jeopardizes the peace and security of the entire region. We urge both Chad and the Sudan to work towards easing tensions and cooperating in implementing the Doha accord and previous agreements aimed at normalizing relations between the two countries. Both Governments must end all military and logistical support to armed groups operating within their respective countries.
In conclusion, let me reiterate our strong support for MINURCAT. The Mission functions in the midst of a complicated regional conflict and fragile security situation that no single actor is capable of resolving. We strongly encourage regional actors, such as the African Union and the Arab League, along with regional Member States, to use their good offices to influence the Governments of Chad and the Sudan to abide by existing peace agreements, end support to rebel groups, and take all necessary steps to protect and assist the vulnerable citizens within their borders.
The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Angelo, for his briefing on the work of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). We welcome the Permanent Representatives of the Central African Republic and Chad participating in today’s meeting.
We are concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic and Chad. We welcome the progress made in the peace process in the Central African Republic. We note that the Central African Liberation Movement for Justice has committed to laying down its arms and entering into a dialogue with the Government. We appreciate the unremitting efforts of the Government and other participants. We hope that the country’s presidential elections can be conducted smoothly and according to plan, and call on the international community to provide the necessary material and technical assistance.
We support the strengthening of MINURCAT, in coordination with the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic, and hope that it will help to provide more substantive assistance to the Government of the Central African Republic in maintaining peace and stability and promoting economic and social development.
We are following the situation in Chad closely. We appreciate the consensus reached between the Chadian Government and the opposition parties on the legislative framework for the elections and the National Independent Electoral Commission. We encourage both parties to maintain their dialogue and to reach a comprehensive political reconciliation. We note with pleasure that, on 26 July the three rebel groups — the Union des forces pour la démocratie et le dévéloppement, the Mouvement national pour le renouveau and the Front pour le salut de la république — signed a peace agreement with the Government of Chad, and we appreciate the good offices of Libya in this regard. We condemn the Union des forces de la résistance (UFR) for its attacks in early May against eastern Chad, and urge UFR to settle its disputes through political means and negotiation.
China is deeply concerned about relations between Chad and the Sudan. We hope that both sides can maintain restraint and prevent the situation from deteriorating further. We hope that both sides can address their concerns and problems through dialogue. The international community, for its part, should make greater efforts to promote peace and negotiation. Not long ago, the Chinese Government’s Special Representative for Africa, Ambassador Liu Guijin, visited both Chad and the Sudan in an effort to help improve relations between them. We will continue to work with the international community in order to help ease the situation in the region.
China is satisfied with the progress in the deployment of MINURCAT. We appreciate its efforts to help the Government of Chad set up the Détachement intégré de sécurité, which we believe will help improve the security situation and environment in the refugee camps in eastern Chad. We hope that MINURCAT will pursue these efforts and cooperate closely with the host countries in order to complete its planned deployment as soon as possible.
I would like to thank Mr. Angelo for his briefing. My delegation is deeply concerned about the tense security situation in eastern Chad, especially after the military operations by rebel groups against Government forces last May. We are also troubled by the deteriorating security situation in the area of operations of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic, as well as the rising tensions in relations between Chad and the Sudan.
On the other hand, we are pleased with the progress made in the implementation of the agreement of 13 August 2007 between the Chadian Government and political opposition parties with regard to the legislative framework for elections and the census. We wish to call on all parties concerned to build on this positive momentum to promote an inclusive and comprehensive political process in Chad, facilitating a lasting solution to the current conflict there. We also urge Chad and the Sudan to exercise the utmost restraint, defuse the current crisis, and seriously implement the Dakar agreement, as well as other relevant accords.
We wish to reiterate our full support for MINURCAT’s discharging of its mandate in accordance with Security Council resolution 1861 (2009). In view of the resource constraints facing MINURCAT, we call upon the donor countries and troop-contributing countries to extend the necessary resources and provide military enablers to expedite MINURCAT’s full deployment.
Despite enormous challenges, MINURCAT has made considerable contributions not only to the management and resolution of conflicts in Chad, but also to facilitating humanitarian assistance in its areas of operation. We note positively the assistance MINURCAT has extended to the Chadian Government in training and deploying the Détachement intégré de sécurité, which has helped improve the humanitarian situation on the ground.
We are pleased with the close cooperation and consultations between MINURCAT and the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic, especially with regard to the conclusion of the status of mission agreement. We believe that, if MINURCAT is to implement its mandate successfully, such cooperation should be strengthened further.
Finally, we support the strategic workplan developed by MINURCAT, and we share the Secretary-General’s observations on the benchmarks for the Mission’s future exit strategy. We hope that MINURCAT and the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic will work closely with each other in preparing for this goal and in further improving peace and stability in eastern Chad, north-eastern Central African Republic and the region as a whole.
We thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/2009/359) and Special Representative Angelo for his briefing.
Like other members, Turkey is concerned about the negative developments that have occurred over the past three months and that have served only to aggravate an already tenuous humanitarian situation. It is clear that attacks by the Chadian armed opposition, and tensions between N’Djamena and Khartoum, have combined to make the environment in which the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) is being deployed much more complicated.
The progress that MINURCAT has made thus far in attaining full operational capacity is noteworthy. We hope that, as in the case of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur across the border, MINURCAT can also come close to achieving its authorized strength before the end of the year. As this process continues, it will be important to ensure that there are no security gaps due to delays in deployment.
The full deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) is a major achievement. Turkey welcomes the additional security it has provided. MINURCAT will have to continue to support DIS logistically, technically and operationally as it assumes more and more responsibilities and works to become fully operational. Bearing in mind that MINURCAT cannot stay forever, the Chadian Government will also need to do more to support DIS.
Ultimately, whether through DIS or its armed forces, Chadian authorities will eventually have to assume full responsibility for the security situation in that part of the country. It is therefore important for the Chadian Government to work sincerely to create a political setting through which the sources of conflict in the East of the country can be efficiently addressed.
The agreement brokered just a few days ago in Tripoli between the Chadian Government and the National Movement is a very welcome step in the right direction. We hope that, with the help of ongoing mediation efforts, the Chadian Government can build upon that momentum and create an inclusive and comprehensive political process through which other larger elements of armed opposition can be brought back into the fold.
At the regional level, the deterioration of bilateral relations between Chad and the Sudan is having very unfortunate consequences on the ground, not least for civilians. Cross-border air and ground raids are not helping what is already a grave situation. Both countries need to understand that their interests lie not in conflict but in cooperation. A change of tone and approach is sorely needed. Many agreements have been enacted, and not implemented. Turkey believes that a high-level mediation effort, building on existing agreements, that takes into consideration the complex interests and dynamics at play and includes the right incentives is the way forward for a lasting political settlement.
I would like to thank Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), for his introduction of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/359).
The security situation in MINURCAT’s area of operation continues to deteriorate as a result of banditry and rebel activity. Unfortunately, that has direct repercussions on the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and in the North-East of the Central African Republic. Many refugees and internally displaced persons are still in great need of humanitarian assistance. Also disturbing are the results of the activities of armed groups and bandits during the period under consideration. They have caused significant loss of human life and have endangered the lives of humanitarian personnel and restricted their movement, resulting in a negative impact on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need.
We welcome the positive developments in the implementation of the 13 August 2007 agreement between the Government of Chad and the political opposition. In particular, we welcome the consensus reached on the legislative framework for the elections and modalities for the establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission. We are also pleased to note that the census is moving ahead, which will ultimately make it possible to determine the electoral districts and to hold elections.
The leader of our revolution and the President of the African Union, Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, has reiterated his concern about re-establishing peace in eastern Chad, the Central African Republic and Darfur. Libya believes that it is possible to end conflict through comprehensive political solutions in the region, thereby strengthening international peace and security. We would therefore like to see rebel groups in Chad sit down with the Government in order to implement the Sirte agreement of October 2007. Libya would also like to see all Chadian opposition groups join in a national reconciliation effort. In that regard, we welcome the agreement signed in Tripoli between the Chadian Government and three opposition groups.
Libya also continues to support the political process in the Central African Republic to safeguard the achievements of the political talks held in December 2008. In that connection, we refer to the latest positive results in Libya’s mediation efforts, which led to the signing of an agreement between the Government of the Central African Republic and armed groups headed by Mr. Abdoulaye Miskine that brought this group back into the political process.
We would also like to reiterate the importance of strengthening peace efforts in the Central African Republic. We welcome the efforts made by the Government, local stakeholders, the Peacebuilding Commission and international and regional actors. We hope that the international community will extend its support to peace and development projects as they are an important factor in consolidating stability and peace.
Libya is aware of the direct impact of the relationship between the Governments of Chad and the Sudan on the security and humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and Darfur. We therefore welcome the mediation efforts of the Government of Qatar and its cooperation with the leader of our revolution and the President of the African Union, Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, to ensure that the agreements signed between the parties are implemented in order to ultimately normalize relations between the countries.
With regard to MINURCAT’s deployment to eastern Chad and the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic, we are pleased to note the efforts of Mr. Angelo and all the Mission’s personnel, who are working in such dangerous circumstances. We express our concern over the fact that not all of the Mission’s staff have been deployed. We hope that that will be done quickly, so as to resolve problems regarding the lack of materiel and personnel and to equip the Mission to effectively carry out its mandate.
We hope that MINURCAT will also be deployed to areas of tension in the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic. In that regard, we welcome the positive role played by the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) in improving security in refugee camps and main towns in eastern Chad despite the difficult circumstances. Those conditions are difficult both due to the lack of security and want of equipment. We hope that DIS will be strengthened and its deployment accelerated.
We welcome the workplan annexed to the report of the Secretary-General, entitled “Benchmarks, indicators of progress and key activities: 2009-2011”. We appreciate the need for and importance of developing such benchmarks at all levels — military, humanitarian and political. Having said that, however, we do not support the imposition of a time frame, even if one should be established, because timing should be based on practical forecasts. Otherwise, that would send an erroneous message to the various political parties, refugees and the internally displaced.
We do need to be realistic. Progress may be achieved soon or delayed for some reason, and that might make some people particularly optimistic and others particularly pessimistic. That is why we believe that it would be wiser to confine ourselves to objective benchmarks and indicators of progress that are not associated with a timetable.
In other words, we should ensure that the benchmarks envisaged are associated with genuinely realistic indicators of progress. All of that will depend on the political resolve of all parties concerned and the provision of assistance by the international community to the peace process and the ongoing mediation efforts. It should not be subject to time factors, since it is plain that they have not been very effective in many long-standing conflicts.
I would like to begin my statement by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Chad and the Central African Republic, Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, for his briefing this morning. I also welcome the presence in the Council today of the Permanent Representatives of the Central African Republic and Chad.
My delegation acknowledges that the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) has made significant progress for the benefit of the region. First of all, it assisted in the complete deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité in April 2009, in spite of the limitations that have been pointed out today. Similarly, MINURCAT has contributed to the agreements between the Government of Chad and the opposition with a view to adopting an electoral legislative framework and establishing a National Independent Electoral Commission in that country. Lastly, it has participated very actively in the verification of 1,077 kilometres free of mines and unexploded ordnance in eastern Chad.
Despite these significant advances, we view with concern the delay in the deployment of the authorized force for MINURCAT. In particular, we are concerned about the effects that a mission operating at less than half of its strength may have when it comes to fulfilling its humanitarian activities. We ask the Secretariat to keep us informed on progress in this area.
I hardly need to point out that the political situation in the region is delicate. I hardly need to add that the situation is complicated even further by the close interrelationship that exists among the situations of the countries of the region, chiefly Chad, the Central African Republic and the Sudan. This complexity, however, should not serve as a pretext for inaction.
My delegation, following the approach that we have successfully advocated in other conflicts around the world, takes the view that peace in the region requires political dialogue in order to normalize relationships between Chad and the Central African Republic, as well as between Chad and the Sudan. Similarly, we believe in the need to take measures that will build a climate of trust to ensure that these States refrain from providing support to armed rebel groups operating on their territories against their respective neighbours.
My delegation underscores the importance of developing measures to fulfil the Doha agreement of May 2009 and the Dakar agreement of March 2008 between Chad and the Central African Republic. It might be useful to consider the possibility of establishing a tracking and monitoring mechanism for those agreements and for the conflict.
The security situation in MINURCAT’s area of operations continues to be tense owing to the stepped-up activities of armed groups to the detriment of relationships between the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic, and also to the mutual accusations of support being given to opposition armed groups.
It is disquieting to see the worsening in the human rights situation in the area. We need to address the complaints of incidents directed against humanitarian workers of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, as well as their facilities and violations directed against vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.
The violation of the rights of the child in the Central African Republic and in Chad continues to be of great concern to my delegation. For this reason, through our work in the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, we shall seek to appeal to armed groups and both Governments to develop plans of action that will help to prevent the recruitment, the re-recruitment and the use of children, as well as accountability mechanisms on the basis of resolution 1612 (2005).
I take this opportunity to commend the activities of MINURCAT that led to the handover into the custody of UNICEF 84 children who were pressed into service by the Chadian forces during the recent hostilities.
I would like to conclude by indicating that my delegation supports the strategic workplan proposed by the Secretary-General in his report (S/2009/359), which appears to us to be quite complete as it includes aspects of protection for civilians and humanitarian agents, humanitarian assistance and the strengthening of the legal framework in order to enhance access to justice, security and the rule of law.
I join others in thanking Special Representative of Secretary-General Victor Angelo for his briefing today. We are very grateful to him and all the contributors to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) for its work to date.
MINURCAT is clearly starting to have an effect on the ground, but the situation in eastern Chad remains of serious concern. I will not repeat the point that others have made, but it is clear that there has been a very difficult security situation there, especially since May.
I would like to focus on three points. First of all, peace in Chad remains inextricably linked to peace in Darfur. We need more cooperation between N’Djamena and Khartoum and less trading of accusations. Chadian aerial bombing of Darfur is of deep concern to us. We very much agree with the Secretary-General on the importance of a political process between Chad and the Sudan in delivering a lasting solution, and reiterate his call for a meeting of the Dakar Contact Group. That should be a very high priority now.
Secondly, we welcome development by the United Nations of a strategic workplan and the benchmarks therein. These provide a clearer picture of the progress of the Mission towards fulfilling its mandate and of the effect of the wider context on the progress being made by MINURCAT.
But one area the Secretary-General’s report (S/2009/359) does not tackle is the issue of recruitment to rebel movements from refugee and internally displaced persons camps. It would be interesting to hear the views of MINURCAT and Mr. Angelo, either today or in a later report, as to the scale of that problem and, indeed, how it might be addressed.
Thirdly, we welcome the full deployment of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) and the evidence of its improving effectiveness. DIS has provided us, the Secretary-General’s report notes, with exceptional humanitarian escorts as MINURCAT has developed its operational capacity. Going forward, however, it will be important that DIS ensure that its escort services are not delivered to the detriment of its work within the refugee camps and thus do not undermine the civil status of those camps. So it will be important that MINURCAT take responsibility for those escort duties as soon as possible.
I would like to join other delegations in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Victor Da Silva Angelo, for presenting the report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/359).
Like other delegations, we welcome the progress that has been made in implementing the 13 August 2007 agreement between the Government and political opposition groups in Chad, especially with regard to the status of the opposition, as well as to the adoption of implementing modalities for the electoral code and the successful launching and completion of the general population census.
As stated by the Secretary-General, the successful holding of national elections, if they are free, fair, inclusive and transparent, could not only provide a fresh chance for national reconciliation, but also prove to be decisive in strengthening the internal political dialogue and therefore political stability throughout Chad. We urge the Chadian Government to build upon this positive momentum to create the conditions for an inclusive and comprehensive political process and, it is to be hoped, address the root causes of conflict in the eastern parts of the country.
As has been previously stated, the key to overcoming Chad’s internal weaknesses and vulnerability is through an inclusive political dialogue. We encourage all groups to work together on such issues as the increased protection of human rights — including the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons, especially women and children — and the fight against impunity for crimes committed.
It is unfortunate that the aforementioned positive political momentum in Chad has not been duplicated at the subregional level. The relations between Chad and the Sudan seriously deteriorated during the reporting period, and the security situation in north-eastern Central African Republic has deteriorated considerably owing to banditry and armed robbery.
With regard to Chad-Sudan relations, while we welcome the initial success in reaching the Doha agreement on 3 May this year, there was an almost concurrent attack by Chadian armed opposition forces of the Union des forces de la résistance from western Darfur deep into eastern Chad, with the stated aim of overthrowing the Chadian Government. That incursion not only caused an immediate breakdown of the aforementioned, hard-fought Doha agreement, but also precipitated a Chadian armed reaction against targets in western Darfur, including through airstrikes, which served only to exacerbate an already precarious security situation in both countries. Like the Secretary-General, Croatia calls upon the two Governments to stop supporting each other’s rebel groups and to redouble their efforts to build mutual confidence and ease tensions in the region so as to try to restore some semblance of order and stability.
Croatia is also concerned at the grave humanitarian situation in eastern Chad, with up to 400,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) seeking aid of some sort. The long-term presence of refugee and IDP camps in eastern Chad not only puts pressure on the local populations, but also provides ample room in which bandits and armed groups can operate. We therefore very much welcome the deployment of security elements of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) in 12 refugee camps and some key towns in eastern Chad to provide security. We also welcome and appreciate MINURCAT’s efforts to help ensure that DIS receives the support and training it needs. We note, however, that DIS is a community policing force and is not equipped to react to large-scale military incursions.
Finally, while acknowledging that MINURCAT is still at less than 50 per cent capacity — which could definitely have an impact on its effectiveness — we hope that possible contributions on the part of a number of troop-contributing countries by sending troops to bring MINURCAT up to full strength will be realized by the end of this year. We also acknowledge that MINURCAT is suffering from a lack of some key enablers, including military helicopters, and express the hope that new troop-contributing countries will consider this when making their pledges.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of Uganda.
I wish to join other Council members in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), Mr. Victor Angelo, for his briefing. I welcome the participation of the representatives of Chad and the Central African Republic in this meeting.
We are encouraged by the efforts of the Government of Chad and the political opposition towards the progress made in the implementation of the 13 August 2007 agreement and by the consensus reached on the legislative framework for elections. However, much more needs to be done in order to consolidate the gains achieved so far. The launching of an attack by Chadian armed opposition groups on 4 May this year illustrates the fragile political situation in the country.
We commend the Government of the Central African Republic for the inclusive political dialogue of December 2008 and for measures undertaken to foster dialogue, including the establishment of a broad-based Government on 28 January 2009. Nevertheless, we are concerned about the armed rebellion in the North-East and its negative impact on the stability of the country. We call upon both the Government and armed groups to take concrete steps towards ending the rebellion by addressing political disagreements through peaceful means.
We commend the mediation efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The normalization of relations between the Sudan and Chad is critical to a comprehensive and lasting peace in the two countries and the entire region. Durable peace and stability in the region will require the resolution of the internal conflicts prevailing in both countries.
Uganda commends the leadership and the staff of MINURCAT for their work. In view of the valuable contribution that the Mission is making, it is critical that the deployment of MINURCAT to its full capacity be expedited so that it can better implement its mandate.
We welcome the development of the strategic workplan, with benchmarks to measure progress on the implementation of activities mandated by resolution 1861 (2009). We call upon MINURCAT to focus on strengthening the capacities of national institutions as a core part of its exit strategy.
I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
I call on the representative of the Central African Republic.
I welcome the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (S/2009/359) and the latest developments it brings to the attention of the Security Council and the international community. On behalf of my Government, I should like to thank MINURCAT and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Victor Angelo, for the outstanding manner in which they are carrying out their mandates. They can be assured of the full support of the Central African Government.
The situation prevailing in the North-East, particularly in the prefectures of Vakaga and Haute Kotto, remains worrisome in several particulars. Following the inclusive political dialogue clashes broke out between certain rebel forces and the Central African armed forces; a new rebel movement formed, causing a rupture within the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement; ethnic clashes erupted; and alliances were established. These have been accompanied by mass displacement of the population and restrictions on humanitarian, economic, trade, agricultural activities and the proliferation of light weapons. In order to remedy these problems — in particular ethnic tensions — the Government has intervened to try to reconcile the feuding communities. The restoration of the rule of law is sorely needed.
Government mediation efforts were undertaken immediately, since the Government is the party with the primary responsibility for protecting its population from the woes of insecurity. It therefore launched talks with certain rebel groups that were hesitant to enter into the inclusive political dialogue. This approach has brought those groups into closer interaction with the Government, and certain groups have signed on to the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement of June 2008.
This progress is welcome, as it will facilitate the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, which is very important for any country emerging from conflict. That process is necessary both to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs created by the conflicts and to support socio-economic development.
I have mentioned in one of my statements to this Council the strategic geography of the North-East of the Central African Republic, which forms a triangle with Chad and the Sudan. This area was vital to the country because of the former lively trade with Port Sudan and the seasonal cattle migration patterns from Chad, along with its mineral and animal resources. Since then, it has become too dangerous for economic activity due to the emergence of rebel groups and the impact on the area of the situation in southern Darfur.
The activities of MINURCAT, which has replaced the European Union-led military force in the region, have increased, and with good reason. The United Nations has shown great concern for my country from the time when crises gripped the country for an entire decade until we emerged from them, and we are therefore ready to cooperate fully with the Organization. The consultations between MINURCAT and the Government have proven fruitful, as most of our discussions have often led to agreements. Of course, MINURCAT is mandated to provide counsel and advice, as evidenced by the fact that the Government has been able to establish a purely humanitarian corridor, with no apparent armed escorts, to come to the aid of its population along the route from Ndélé, in the Central African Republic, to Daha, in Chad.
Aware of the logistical difficulties in the Central African Republic, MINURCAT put its means of transportation at the disposal of the Central African Republic authorities in order to enable them to come occasionally to the area of operations. This occurred when ethnic groups clashed in the northern part of the country. Despite the meagre resources at their disposal and the difficult terrain, MINURCAT has been able to support the Government in times of crisis.
We would request here a strengthening of assistance to MINURCAT to enable it to easily deploy in its area of operations. The difficulties on the ground are not negligible, which only highlights the commitment of MINURCAT to the refugees and displaced people of the Central African Republic. We remain grateful for its humanitarian efforts. We reiterate our commitment to supporting MINURCAT in the fulfilment of its mandate. We would also like once again to express our gratitude to France, which is also helping us in terms of logistics in the northern part of the country.
My Government believes that the activities of MINURCAT, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic, the Mission of the Economic Community of Central African States for the consolidation of peace, and the Peacebuilding Commission must complement each other in a country emerging from conflict. In its exit strategy, MINURCAT identified the criteria for stabilizing the situation in north-eastern Central African Republic with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes that we will carry out in accordance with the Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding in the Central African Republic of the Peacebuilding Commission.
In conclusion, I call once again for a serious examination of the situation in north-eastern Central African Republic on the basis of a regional approach. The stakes are high for all the actors on the ground. Another concern is the activities of the Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who carried out incursions in 2008 and 2009 in Obo in the South-East, leaving behind victims, taking supplies and seed stock with them, taking men hostage as porters, kidnapping women and enlisting child soldiers.
I take the floor to say a few brief words on the excellent report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/359) on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which has just been introduced to us by Mr. Angelo. First of all, however, I would like to extend my congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month of July.
With respect to MINURCAT, I note that it is deploying to the satisfaction of my country and the United Nations. Its positive role in protecting vulnerable populations, including refugees, displaced persons, humanitarian workers and others, should be recognized and welcomed, as most speakers have done. The international community, in particular this Council and all peace- and justice-loving countries, should work to meet its very urgent staff and equipment needs so that it can effectively and fully carry out its mandate in optimal conditions. We warmly thank the institutions and countries that have contributed human and financial resources.
We also express our gratitude and thanks to the generous contributors to the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) trust fund. That local policing unit is quite original and has a role on the ground that is of great importance. The financing of the DIS will unfortunately be a source of concern, if, by the end of the year, additional financial efforts are not made both by previous contributors, who have been generous, and by new contributors. Chad, for its part, intends to commit to progressively taking charge of the DIS following negotiations planned for 2010 with the Secretariat of the United Nations.
I would like to note, as most speakers today have done, that the tireless resolve of Chad to resolve its domestic problems has recently been illustrated by three major events: the completion of a census of the population, with a view to holding free and transparent legislative and then presidential elections, beginning in June 2010; the establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission, which is equitably made up of 15 members of the majority and 15 members of the opposition, with its chairman chosen by a consensus of all parties; and the return to legality of several hundred elements of armed groups in the country, which had come from the Sudan. I would note in particular, as the Council has, the Mouvement national of Mr. Ahmat Hassaballah Soubiane which on 25 July signed a reconciliation agreement with the Government thanks to the ongoing good offices of our brother and guide, Muammar Al-Qadhafi, to the mediators of the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States.
Faced with Sudanese aggression, we remain wary and poised to deal with any eventuality. Given our previous disappointment following Khartoum’s violations of many peace agreements, the international community may well understand our suspicions. Contrary to recent allegations made by our Sudanese neighbour, we have not been flying over its airspace or carrying out strikes against armed groups in Darfur. Curiously, the Sudan claims that we are carrying out flyovers of its territory with Jaguar and Mirage-type planes, which our air force does not possess.
We acknowledge having carried out air strikes to destroy forces that came from the Sudan and assembled along the border on the side of Tissi, in Chadian territory. The international community cannot reproach us for exercising our legitimate and inalienable right to self-defence by land or air military means. However, we remain fully ready to normalize our relations with the Sudan, in the interests of our two peoples, who are brothers and neighbours. Therefore, we take due note of the concerns and observations expressed by all speakers and will do our best to provide them with appropriate follow-up. We reaffirm our full cooperation with the United Nations as it carries out its noble mission of peace in our country.
I will now give the floor to Mr. Angelo to respond to comments and issues that have been raised.
I take the floor to clarify two or three points, but before I do I wish to show the Council a number of photographs.
The first photograph is of Birao, the capital of Vakaga, at least 60 per cent of which was destroyed by the two attacks in June. Until late May, the town was an important commercial centre; life had started up there again. Since then, the town has been almost completely abandoned; it is a ghost town. The population has fled to the bush and, despite our deployment, they are not confident enough to return.
The second photograph is an example of a Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) police station in our area of operations in eastern Chad. The men and women in blue are from contingents of the Gendarmerie and the Chadian National Police that we have trained as DIS officers and deployed on the ground. These photographs are women of the DIS.
This photograph is of the Iriba prison in eastern Chad. I did not want to show conditions inside because I do not wish to shock the Council. I am just showing the outside walls, and leaving the rest to the imagination. We will revisit the subject of prisons tomorrow at a meeting on our programme activities in eastern Chad.
This is photograph shows a conflict resolution meeting on among the communities. I will speak of that shortly, but this is to show a specific example of people of different ethnic groups meeting together and spending an entire day — in this case — discussing ways to resolve their conflicts.
I would now like to say two or three things. First, I thank members for the kind words that have been said by all of the delegations concerning the work of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad. We have staff throughout the country, in some cases in extremely difficult conditions. Very often we receive complaints — from, for instance, the Détachement intégré de sécurité — that their living conditions are not good at all. That is true, but then I take them to see the living conditions of our own staff, and in many cases those conditions are not better. I therefore thank Council members for their kind words. We can pledge that we will maintain our engagement and commitment, and at the same time we will try to improve the working and living conditions not only of the staff, but of the Détachement intégré de sécurité and their elements.
When it comes to conflict resolution at the community level, I would like to mention two things. I think it is a very important activity because very often these conflicts are a first source of combatants for the rebellions if they are not addressed. Very often, some of those combatants join the rebellions because there have been a number of conflicts between different groups at the community level. Those conflicts have not been properly addressed or properly mediated, and one of the sides decides to take the road to the desert and join one of the rebellions.
The second thing to mention that is important in the context of community dialogue and community conflict resolution is that, with conflict resolution, we create conditions for the return of the displaced, and that is very important as well.
As far as the Dakar process is concerned, we believe that the conditions are there for the border monitoring mechanism to be put in place. We need a meeting as soon as possible of all of the members of the Dakar group, and preferably that meeting should take place in Khartoum. The most recent meeting took place in N’Djamena. As a confidence-building measure, the next meeting should take place in Khartoum, and during that meeting Chad, the Sudan and all of the other members of the Dakar process should agree on the immediate implementation of the border monitoring mechanism.
As I said, I believe the conditions are there. The point is to make sure that, on both sides of the border, a number of confidence-building measures are taken prior to the next meeting of the Dakar process. I am very much counting on the different countries that are part of the process to be able to create those confidence-building measures and hold that meeting.
With respect to DIS, there was a reference to discipline. I have to say that we and the Government of Chad have taken questions of discipline very seriously. All of those who have misbehaved have now been expelled from the force. I must also note that the percentage of cases of serious indiscipline stands at around 3 per cent. That is well within accepted standards, because very often these types of forces have an indiscipline rate of about 5 per cent. We have discipline problems, but not only have we been able to deal with them, but in percentage terms they are not outside the usual range for these types of forces.
The DIS approach is an extremely innovative one that combines international security mechanisms with strengthened national security mechanisms. We must make sure that the DIS is a successful experience. We need resources and we also need to be sure that everyone understands that one of the key criteria of our successful presence in Chad is the successful implementation of the DIS concept.
Like all Council members, we, too, are concerned about the deployment delays. We urge all those who have pledged to contribute to the force to make those contributions as soon as possible. We also urge those already there to envisage an extension of their presence if they are planning to leave within the near future. We truly need the presence of everyone. I can assure the Council that, if we are fully deployed, we will make a difference in eastern Chad. The Council can note my words as I speak, and we can talk about that at one of the Council’s future meetings. We will make a difference; we only need to make sure that we are fully deployed there. We also need, of course, the military enablers.
We are certainly very concerned by the situation in the north-eastern Central African Republic. Since early May, there has been a very serious deterioration of the situation. There has been a proliferation of ethnic-based militias and weapons. Recently, we have seen also some of the militias crossing the border into Darfur and looking for support from their kith and kin there in their fight against other groups. We are very concerned about that.
We are trying to make sure that the resources that we have available in Birao are maximized. We are not asking for additional resources. We are trying to make full use of the limited resources that we have in the area, and we are creating the security conditions for the political work that the Government of the Central African Republic is supposed to do in the area. We are providing not only the security environment that it needs to do the mediation and the political work, but also some logistical support, taking into consideration the extremely limited means of the Government in Bangui.
Allow me to say a final word on benchmarks and the workplan. The United Kingdom delegation asked for some concrete figures and analysis of the question of recruitment in the camps. We will certainly do that in the next report. That is a very serious matter. We are looking at different approaches and strategies to deal with it. It is ongoing, and we will come back to the Council with not only an analysis, but also with concrete measures that we intend to implement, or might already be implementing at that stage, depending very much on our capacity on the ground, particularly in terms of the force strength.
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.