11 April 2019

Central African Republic: CAR Arms Embargo - UN Security Council Lists Steps for Review

An assessment of the implementation of benchmarks will be carried out by July 31, 2019.

The government of Central African Republic, CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has been insisting on the lifting of the United Nations arms embargo imposed on the country in the wake of the war that broke out in 2013. Its argument is that relative peace has since returned to the country following the organisation in 2016 of transparent democratic elections that saw the election of a parliament and President Touadéra.

After several representations made to the UN Security Council, the body on April 9, 2019 expressed its readiness to review the arms embargo, announcing benchmarks to guide its decision to either suspend or progressively lift the restriction later this year. According to UN News website, Christoph Heusgen, Security President for April, announced the Council's intention to establish by April 30, 2019 "clear and well identified key benchmarks."

These are to measure progress in reforming the security sector, advancing disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation, and managing weapons and ammunition. CAR is required to implement the National Programme for Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation, especially the socio-economic reintegration of former combatants and the integration of vetted former combatants into security services. The government is also expected to draft a planning document, detai ling needs in terms of weapons and facilities for the storage of ammunition.

Other requirements are finalizing a protocol on the registration and management of armaments intended for defence and security forces and operationalizing a national commission to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. A protocol also has to be established on the collection and destruction - or transfer to armed forces and internal security forces - of unregistered or illicitly held weapons and ammunition seized by the authorities.

In close consultation with stakeholders, the UN Secretary General will by July 31, 2019 conduct an assessment of progress made in implementing the benchmarks. The UN Security Council recalled its intention to review, by September 30, 2019, the arms embargo in the light of the assessment. It acknowledged the urgent need for Central African Republic authorities to train and equip defence and security forces.

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