Central African Republic Takes Center Stage at UNSC

The dire situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) – where Almost 20,000 people have reportedly crossed into Cameroon since the beginning of February to avoid the violence – was the provision agenda of the seven thousand and fourteenth meeting of the UN Security Council.

Though the exact number of casualty is unknown, thousands of people are reportedly been killed in the conflict.  The Secretary General estimates almost one million people have been displaced and about 2.5 million people in need of desperate humanitarian assistance.

At Thursday’s meeting in New York, Secretary General Mr. Ban KI-moon urged the international community and member states to implement his six-point initiative to end the current crisis, which Mr. Ban describes as “of more disturbing magnitude that poses a test for the international community and a calamity with a strong claim on the human conscience.”

Mr. Ban’s six-point initiative primarily proposed the deployment of 3,000 additional troops to reinforce African Union and French troops currently in the CAR.

He also proposed $38 million to African troops for logistic and financial support including rations, water and fuel and the reimbursement for their major non-lethal military equipment.

Vannina Maestracci, a Spokesperson for the Secretary General, issued a statement Friday in response to an enquiry on the estimated funds required for President Samba-Panza's government to function again and to help restore governance?  In addition to how soon could the UN deploy a peacekeeping operation in CAR?

I call for rapid, tangible support to the government of the Central African Republic to help it establish a minimum capacity to function.  This support should include the financial assistance necessary to get police back on the streets, judges back in the courtrooms, and prison guards back on the job.  I am pleased to announce that today Denmark confirmed a contribution of $2 million to this initiative, and I intend to see these resources put to use quickly.  Norway has also confirmed today that it will make a donation to this effort.”
 

The statement continued, “The Security Council has asked for my recommendations for a future UN peacekeeping operation, and I will soon report to you on the outlines of a mission with a robust mandate to protect civilians and promote stability.  But the deployment of a peacekeeping operation, if authorized, will take months.  The people of the Central African Republic do not have months to wait.  The international community must act decisively now to prevent any further worsening of the situation and to respond to the dire needs of the country’s people.”

Maestracci also referred to the office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) web page’s link http://www.unocha.org/crisis/central-african-republic regarding the issue of humanitarian funding.

According to OCHA, the United States government is providing about $45 million funds to support humanitarian efforts including emergency food aid, healthcare, distribution of relief supplies, security, logistics and other humanitarian assistance.

But the Security Council meeting came almost a year after the state of CAR collapsed.  The International Crisis Group (ICG) said the situation on the ground is deteriorating at a much faster pace than the international response is mobilizing.  In addition, ICG stated after the international community realized it could not afford another failed state in Africa, it has abandoned months of “wait and see” policy to avoid the risk of the conflict spilling over the region.

Yet, Ambassador Smail Chergiu, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security told the Security Council “We are at a crucial stage in our efforts to successfully meet the challenges in the CAR. The priority is clear: protect civilians, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and create the conditions for a successful transition.”

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