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Security Council, unanimously adopting Resolution 2127 (2013), mandates mission in Central African Republic to protect civilians, restore state authority

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Permanent Representative Says Text Gives His People Reason to Hope for New Dawn

The Security Council today authorized both the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic, known as MISCA, and the French troops already stationed in the strife-torn nation to support, by all necessary measures, the Mission in discharging its mandate.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2127 (2013), under the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VII, the Council mandated MISCA to help protect civilians, stabilize the country and restore State authority over the territory, as well as create conditions conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance. To finance such efforts, the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund for MISCA, through which Member States and international, regional and subregional organizations could provide financial support.

In a unique section of the 12-page text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to undertake contingency preparations for the possible transformation of the Mission into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, stressing that a future decision by the Council would be required to establish such a presence. He was also requested to make recommendations on a possible transformation within three months.

By other terms, the Council noted the African Union Peace and Security Commission communiqué of 13 November, which welcomed the proposed strengthening of French forces to better support MISCA. The Council called on the Transitional Authorities to fully cooperate with those troops by ensuring their safety, security and freedom of movement with unhindered and immediate access throughout the country. As well, the Council would review the mandate for the French forces within six months.

Against that backdrop, the Council further decided that, for an initial period of one year, all States should immediately take measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Central African Republic of arms and related materiel, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles, paramilitary equipment and spare parts related to military activities. It authorized all States to seize, register and dispose of such prohibited items.

By related provisions, the Council also expressed its strong intent to swiftly consider imposing targeted measures, including travel bans and asset freezes, against individuals who acted to undermine peace and stability, including by threatening or violating transitional agreements. It would establish a committee to monitor the implementation of such measures, which would then report back on its work within 60 days.

On the human rights front, the Council strongly condemned widespread human rights violations by Séléka elements, anti-Balaka elements and the Lord’s Resistance Army, urging the Transitional Authorities to ensure that all such perpetrators were held accountable. It requested the Secretary-General to establish an international commission of inquiry, for an initial period of one year, to investigate reports of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic by all parties since 1 January 2013.

Mesmin Dembassa Worogagoi ( Central African Republic), speaking after the action, said the resolution gave his people reason to hope for a new dawn. He expressed confidence in MISCA and the French forces to re-establish peace and to protect all communities, regardless of their ethnicity or religion. Those goals, however, would not be possible without the involvement of Central African Forces, which were in need of restructuring. Non-governmental groups must be allowed to help those in need and internally displaced persons must return to their homes. As for justice — the premise for true reconciliation — he welcomed the actions outlined in the text, appealing to development partners to help his country break the vicious cycle of poverty that had fomented rebellions and coups d’état.

“History demands us to avoid the worst,” said Gérard Araud ( France), Council President, speaking in his national capacity. The situation in the Central African Republic was a tragedy, with 4.5 million people affected by the humanitarian crisis and terrorized by the militia. The country risked falling into chaos with untold consequences for the subregion. There was a collective duty to support both the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States in preventing mass atrocities. The President of France had been the first to sound the alarm, calling for the Council’s resolute action.

Describing the text, he said it gave MISCA a “robust” Chapter VII mandate to protect civilians and neutralize armed groups. The number of French forces supporting MISCA would be stepped up, and the United Nations would support financial mobilization, he said, underlining that the European Union, with its €50 million commitment, would be the first contributor to African Union operations. The text also requested the Secretariat to prepare for a possible peacekeeping operation and enhanced action on two essential fronts: support for the transitional process, with elections to be held by February 2015; and the creation of a Commission of Inquiry, which would present its findings in six months. “The Council at last has emerged from its apathy,” he declared.

Téte António, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said the international community must confront the “deteriorating” situation in the Central African Republic by helping to protect civilians and avoid an abject collapse of State structures. Today’s text was a crucial step in developing a comprehensive and coordinated response. By authorizing MISCA deployments and calling for international support, the Council had strengthened the joint efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community.

Lauding the decision to impose an arms embargo and take up targeted measures against individuals, he said the African Union, aware of the complexity of challenges to peace and security and the need for coordinated international action, had always called for an innovative, flexible approach. That type of partnership presupposed a close consultation among all stakeholders to articulate a broad unity of vision and to draw upon comparative advantages. “I welcome the way that we have worked together,” he said. “We must build on this progress.”

For its part, he said, the African Union was working with the Economic Community to ensure the transfer of authority from the Community-led peace operation MICOPAX to MISCA on 19 December, with a multidisciplinary team en route to Bangui to examine the modalities of the transfer. The team would establish the general management of MISCA. The African Union Commission had appointed MISCA officials, as well as military and police personnel. It was now recruiting civilian personnel. With that, he expressed the African Union’s intention to fulfil its mandate in an aggressive manner.

Kodjo Menan ( Togo) emphasized that the Central African Republic was on the brink of crisis, requiring the Council to take up its responsibility to maintain peace in the region. He cited his President’s recent warning that if the international community did nothing and the Central African Republic fell into oblivion, it would then risk becoming a sanctuary for terrorism. “We cannot accept that.” The initial 12-month deployment, therefore, was a response to efforts by countries in the region to take action. For its part, the international community must now support the Mission through contributions to the trust fund.

Mohammed Loulichki ( Morocco) hoped today’s resolution would help turn a new page in the “up and down” history of the Central African Republic. His country had worked with France to keep the situation in that country at the forefront and he welcomed the mobilization of the international community. The resolution marked a turning point for the besieged nation by allowing the rapid deployment of French forces and by paving the way for a peacekeeping operation if the necessary conditions arose. Morocco had friendly relations with the Central African Republic, and had deployed soldiers quickly. It would support the country on the road to peace and stability, even beyond Morocco’s term on the Council.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:40 a.m.