NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 15 – The Security Council decided on Wednesday to increase the number of United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the recommendations put forward by Secretary-General António Guterres for strengthening the operation.
Briefing the Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for CAR, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, had recommended to increase the strength of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) by 900 troops is part of “a comprehensive strategy to address the deteriorating situation,” while working closely with the Government and creating space for the political process.
The resolution renews MINUSCA for one year. “During the negotiations the members of the Security Council have worked in a very constructive way and have found agreement on three priority tasks for the peacekeepers: to protect civilians, to support the peace process, and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the populations, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said after chairing the meeting.
Today’s unanimous decision by the UN Security Council was welcomed by a group of 16 non-governmental organisations including Aegis Trust, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Mercy Corps, and Invisible Children.
The situation in the country has been worsening in recent months, with fighting between rival militias forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, and rendering 2.4m in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN mission in CAR has had some notable successes in preventing or controlling violence, but its 10,000 peacekeepers are spread thin over a country the size of France, the Ngos said, adding that issues of poor performance have also dogged the mission, and damaged trust among local communities.
Stephen Cockburn, deputy regional director for Amnesty International in West and Central Africa, said: “Civilians in CAR need the full support and protection of the international community in an ever more fragile context. The UN mission has been doing an important job with limited means to save lives and prevent further bloodshed, and this agreement to strengthen the force is welcome and should be implemented as soon as possible.” (@OnuItalia).