24 January 2013

Central African Republic: Security Council Extends Mandate of UN Office, Calls on Parties to Abide By Ceasefire Pact

Rebels in northern Central African Republic.

Calling on the Government and opposition groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) to abide by a ceasefire and other agreements that halted a rebel advance on the capital, the Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations peacebuilding office in the country until 31 January 2014.

Through resolution 208, adopted unanimously, the Council tasked the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA), to work with all parties to facilitate the full implementation of the agreements - signed in the Gabonese capital of Libreville on 11 January - as part of its mandate to help consolidate peace in the long-troubled CAR, including support for security reform and reintegration of ex-combatants.

In December, following attacks on several towns in the country's north-east, an alliance of rebel groups - known, collectively, as 'Séléka' - had been advancing on the capital, Bangui, before agreeing to start peace talks under the auspices of the regional group known as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

The resulting agreements included a ceasefire, statement of principles and a political that defined power-sharing arrangements and a period of political transition for the CAR. In that context, in today's resolution, the Council welcomed the appointment of a representative of the opposition as the Prime Minister for a Government of National Unity.

Expressing strong concern over security in the CAR, which it said remained "precarious," the Council also welcomed the continued efforts of the ECCAS-led mission in the country, known as MICOPAX, calling on countries and all organizations in the region to help maintain stability in the area in cooperation with the CAR Government.

Through the resolution, the Council underlined the Government's responsibilities to maintain law and order, ensure respect for freedom of expression and other human rights, reform its security sector, and stressed the importance of bi-lateral assistance in those areas.

It also strongly condemned continued recruitment and use of children in armed groups, killing and maiming of civilians, rape and sexual slavery and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence and abductions, and targeting of ethnic minorities perpetrated by armed groups, pointing, in particular to the continued threat of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

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