With a month left to the before full deployment of the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), the UN envoy for that country today said that while there have been pockets of improvements, the overall humanitarian and security situation in the country remains dire and "extremely volatile."
Briefing the Security Council this afternoon, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in CAR, Babacar Gaye, welcomed the significant political progress made at the summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, and the meeting of the International Contact Group in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"Holding the Brazzaville Forum and the signing of the ceasefire on 23 July marked the beginning of a political process, which is essential for lasting stability in the Central African Republic. This is an important step forward," Mr. Gaye said.
"However, clashes in Batangafo and more recently in Mbres, are a stark reminder that the security situation remains extremely volatile and that civilians remain at risk in most parts of the country."
The human rights situation remains dire. Although more limited in scope, sectarian violence and reprisals continue in many places in the country where State authority remains largely absent. Recalling a recent visit to Bambari, Mr. Gaye said local authorities underscored the high level of tension between Muslim and Christian communities.
The priorities of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) include implementing provisions of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, and setting up a mechanism to investigate violations. Ending impunity remains a key priority, Mr. Gaye said.
The peacekeeping mission will begin its operations in the country in four weeks with the transfer of authority from the current African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA).
Mr. Gaye recalled that supporting the Government in the creation of a national jurisdiction will not only require the support of MINUSCA but that of the broader international community.
Humanitarian needs remained huge, the Special Representative continued, with some 2.5 million people, nearly half of the country's population, in need of assistance.
"We have a moral duty to remain mobilized around the Central African crisis and the suffering of its people," Mr. Gaye said.