- By its resolution 2448 (2018), the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2019 and requested me to report on its implementation on a quarterly basis. The present report provides an update on major developments in the Central African Republic since my report of 17 June (S/2019/498) and recommendations on the extension of the mandate of MINUSCA.
II. Political situation
- Progress was made in implementing the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, with considerable efforts by the Government, including the establishment of its follow-up mechanisms. Security incidents and human rights violations linked to the conflict decreased. However, significant challenges remain, including abuses against civilians and violent clashes between signatory armed groups. Popular distrust of the Agreement, in particular within the political opposition, continued as crucial preparations began for the presidential, legislative and local elections scheduled for 2020 and 2021, integral to an inclusive political process, indispensable to consolidate democracy and vital to ensure political stability.
For the first time since the signing of the Agreement, the Government and 13 out of 14 signatory armed groups met in Bangui on 23 and 24 August, co-chaired by the Prime Minister, Firmin Ngrebada, and the Special Representative and Head of Office for the African Union Office in the Central African Republic. My Special Representative for the Central African Republic and Head of MINUSCA, Mankeur Ndiaye, and representatives of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Angola, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea participated. The parties agreed, inter alia, to cease violence against civilians, expedite cessation of hostilities and restoration of State authority and improve communication. They underscored the need to sanction non-compliant signatories.
Most of the Agreement implementation and monitoring mechanisms are operational, although with limited participation of women. The highest decisionmaking body, the executive follow-up committee, met on 14 June, 31 July and 27 September, focusing on violations of the Agreement. Government and civil society representatives called on the guarantors and facilitators, including MINUSCA, to play a more proactive role, including by applying punitive measures against violators, pursuant to article 35 of the Agreement.
Considerable efforts were made to maintain the signatories’ commitment to the Agreement by my Special Representative, together with the guarantors of the Agreement, namely the African Union and ECCAS. Their representatives conducted several joint visits, including with the Government, to areas controlled by signatory armed groups to strengthen their commitment to the Agreement, impressing on them the need to participate in the national disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation programme and cease violations of the Agreement.
On 18 June, a joint delegation met with the leader of the Retour, réclamation et réhabilitation group in Ouham-Pendé prefecture to follow up demands by the Government and international community that the group surrender those involved in the massacres near Paoua in May and lay down its weapons. The group’s leader agreed to start disarmament and demobilization on 29 June, and that was conducted for 58 combatants. He thereafter stalled on his commitments, announcing his resignation as military adviser in charge of the Unité spéciale mixte de sécurité for the northwest on 4 September.
In June, a joint delegation engaged with the leader of UPC in Ouaka prefecture, urging him to remove illegal barriers, cease illicit taxation and vacate occupied administrative buildings. UPC lifted five checkpoints and vacated the gendarmerie building in Ngakobo. He maintained that the joint security units (Unités spéciales mixtes de sécurité) should be established before his combatants would participate in the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation programme.
On 30 August, a joint delegation travelled to Kaga Bandoro, Nana-Grébizi prefecture, to engage the Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) lea der. He expressed his group’s readiness to start disarmament and demobilization but requested more information on conditions for reintegration of ex-combatants and reabsorption of members of the national defence and security forces who had joined armed groups.
On 15 July, the Minister of Justice presided over the inaugural session of the national committee that oversees the prefectural committees. The African Union and ECCAS called upon the committee to play a more proactive role in addressing challenges, including violations. As at 1 October, 15 of 17 prefectural-level committees and 14 of 17 technical security committees were operational, with Government and United Nations support.
Significant progress was made towards completing the startup phase of the first Unités spéciales mixtes de sécurité. On 4 July, the Prime Minister issued a decree establishing strategic and technical committees for their planning and swift establishment. A training site is under preparation in Bouar and ex-combatants for the first unit selected. The European Union Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic completed a “training of trainers” programme for 30 instructors from the national defence and security forces in August. The first unit will begin two months’ training in October.
The Mission increased efforts to disseminate the Agreement to civil society organizations, including women’s, youth and religious groups. Three campaigns were conducted, in collaboration with the United Nations country team. After training 15 civil society organizations, they conducted campaigns across the country to grassroots communities and local authorities, resulting in improved ownership and understanding of the Agreement.
In the margins of the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, I held a high-level meeting on the Central African Republic with the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra, the President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States, Ahmad Allam-Mi. Participants discussed the implementation of the Agreement and highlighted the need to further strengthen national, regional and international cooperation to consolidate peace and strengthen development and humanitarian action.
From 5 to 7 October, the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Smail Chergui, my Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, JeanPierre Lacroix, and the Managing Director for Africa of the European External Action Service of the European Union, Koen Vervaeke, visited the Central African Republic to take stock of the implementation of the Agreement. They met with the Government, political parties and civil society, as well as diplomatic missions and international organizations. They called on all signatories to respect their commitments; immediately end violence and promote dialogue; and ensure the rapid operationalization of the Unités spéciales mixtes de sécurité. They encouraged the adoption of draft laws essential to implement the Agreement and hold peaceful, inclusive and credible elections, emphasizing that they must be held within the constitutional time frame.
The delegation further called for peace dividends to be accelerated and encouraged progress in deploying security forces and State administration within the framework of the Agreement. It stressed that those violating the agreement should be sanctioned, and that MINUSCA use its agile posture to safeguard the integrity of the Agreement.
The delegation underscored the continued support of the international community.