UN: UN envoy says security in CAR improves, but situation remains fragile

New York, US (PANA) - UN Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission,
in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Mr. Babacar Gaye, has said political progress combined with the deployment of UN peacekeepers in nearly 40 localities contributed to the
improvement of the overall security situation in CAR.

He, however, said that the situation in the country remains precarious.

Briefing the UN Security Council on Wednesday in New York, Mr. Gaye said: "The current
improvement of the situation on the ground has allowed internally displaced persons
(IDPs) to return and the economic activity to recover."

Noting that many parts of CAR were still targeted by armed groups, he said: "MINUSCA
often reports harassment, racketeering, arbitrary detention and serious violations of
human rights such as inhuman treatments in cases of witchcraft accusations."

Regarding the western part of the country, he disclosed thata recent increase of violent incidents on the main road between the capital, Bangui, and Cameroon has been of concern.

Since May three peacekeepers have been injured in the area, and on 18 July, gunmen
opened fire on a World Food Programme vehicle escorted by MINUSCA, killing a driver.

"In the centre of the country, clashes between the former Seleka and anti-Balaka groups
continue to pose threats for the local populations, while in eastern CAR, the ex-Seleka
continue to have a significant military presence.

"In addition, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to operate in the southeastern
part of the country," the envoy said.

According to Mr. Gaye, MINUSCA is establishing three temporary operating bases in that area
to further limit the LRA’s ability to operate, and security was gradually improving in
Bangui, where signs of normal life lend a sense of confidence and gradual returns from
the airport IDP camp to other areas of the city indicated a positive, but fragile, trend.

"Despite the mission’s efforts,' he said, "the humanitarian situation remains a
significant concern, with more than 2.7 million people in need of assistance, some
450,000 refugees, and close to 400,000 displaced persons inside the country."

He said that only 30 per cent of the humanitarian appeal has been funded.

"Against this background, I urge UN member states to sustain the positive
developments in the country by responding to the humanitarian appeal," the envoy

At the political level, Mr. Gaye said, the main success of the recently held
Bangui Forum was the "spirit of dialogue, inclusivity, and the sense that the good
of the country eventually prevail."

He welcomed the UN Peacebuilding Fund’s support of US$10 million that will be
allocated to priorities identified by the Forum.

He said that the recent vote of the National Transition Council to deprive
refugees their right to vote represented an alarming step back and a
reminder that more effort should be focused on reconciliation.

"After the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) decided
to consider positively an extension of the CAR political transition until the
end of 2015, the CAR authorities announced the following electoral calendar:
a constitutional referendum on 4 October, the first round of presidential and
legislative elections on 18 October, and a second round on 22 November.

"In the meantime, 330,000 voters have registered, primarily in Bangui, and
the process is getting underway in the rest of the country, and restoration
of State authority and the electoral process are being supported by MINUSCA
through the provision of transport, training and administrative kits," the
envoy explained.

Noting a remaining US$11 million funding gap to close the electoral budget,
Mr. Gaye called on international donors to make additional commitments to
this "critical element" of the peace process.

He also made a similar appeal to support the Special Criminal Court that was
established by the transitional authorities to investigate serious crimes
committed since 1 January 2003.

"Despite progress towards voluntary disarmament of the ex-Seleka in Bangui,
MINUSCA has yet to disarm the combatants throughout the country.

"Indeed, most of the signatories would like to respect their commitment as
per the agreement, but recent political developments have raised doubts, in
particular among the ex-Seleka," he warned.

"MINUSCA is working closely with the transitional authorities to move the
process forward in order to establish a situation conducive to calm and
transparent elections," he added.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  5August2015

05 august 2015 17:57:08

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