Having global assistance is crucial in establishing lasting peace in the Central African Republic.
Ms. Rugwabiza, who is also in charge of the United Nations Mission in the country, MINUSCA, gave a presentation on their most recent report regarding progress following the constitutional referendum on July 31st.
She stated that MINUSCA is still assisting the Government in their goal to decentralize the peace process with armed groups. This includes recent efforts to increase state presence in previously stabilized areas with the help of the Mission.
She stated that the support and dedication of global financial partners and development actors are crucial in continuing to improve upon the hard-won security progress. This can be accomplished through investments or stabilization programs that focus on providing essential services and long-term socio-economic measures for the local population. She communicated this through an interpreter.
Ms. Rugwabiza also expressed her appreciation for President Faustin Toudera’s renewed dedication to expediting the implementation of the peace agreement, as stated in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month.
The meeting held last Monday to assess the peace process showcased national responsibility, with the guarantors and facilitators of the agreement and its shared plan in attendance.
The discussion focused on the dismantling of nine armed groups and their associated factions, advancements in DDR (disarmament demobilization and reintegration), reform in the security sector, border control, and other matters. The speaker emphasized the importance of continuing this progress.
The plans for the upcoming local elections in October 2024 have restarted, creating a chance to increase resource gathering and update the electoral laws to align with the updated Constitution.
Volatile security situation
The security situation outside the capital city of Bangui remains unstable, especially in border regions.
MINUSCA has been strengthening operations in the prefectures of Upper Kotto and Vakanga to better protect civilians and deter threats by armed groups.
In Upper Mbomo, UN peacekeepers supported a joint mission with the national defense forces to a previously unoccupied area due to increased fighting between the UPC armed group and a new militia known as Azande Ani Kpi Gbe.
War and peace
Ms. Rugwabiza announced that the militia has notified MINUSCA of its intention to declare a ceasefire, participate in the DDR process, and foster social unity this month.
She stated that these findings demonstrate the success of working together, although there is still work to be done, particularly in improving the capabilities of national security and defense organizations.
In the past few months, there has been progress in helping former soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) return home voluntarily after being in Upper Mbomo for 15 years. Their presence posed a constant danger to the local population.
In addition, she expressed her support for a September agreement between the Central African Republic and South Sudan that aims to improve cooperation in addressing threats that occur across their shared border.
During the reporting period, there was a rise in the number of refugees from Chad and Sudan, areas affected by war. This brought about considerable difficulties and a greater demand for humanitarian assistance.
MINUSCA has identified major deficiencies that need to be urgently addressed.
MINUSCA has recognized significant shortcomings that require immediate attention.
Referring to the MINUSCA organization, Ms. Rugwabiza stated that the team has been adjusting its security measures in order to enhance efficiency. This involves decreasing the amount of temporary bases in operation and enhancing the quality of living and working conditions, specifically for personnel stationed in distant regions.
She stated that MINUSCA will work with the United Nations country team to assist identified victims in order to strengthen prevention and risk management of sexual exploitation and abuse, thus upholding the values of the United Nations and maintaining trust in all areas of operation.
The implementation of stricter monitoring has led to a decrease in the number of new cases reported this year. The UN’s policy of not tolerating sexual exploitation and abuse will continue to be upheld through heightened efforts, according to her statement.
The MINUSCA is currently dealing with significant deficiencies in their air and land transportation capabilities, as well as their supply chain, which is limiting their ability to move around. This issue is impacting the health, safety, and security of peacekeepers, as well as their operational effectiveness.
One illustration of this is that it can take convoys several weeks to travel from the capital to the northeast. Additionally, the majority of roads become impassable for a period of seven months during the rainy season.
According to Ms. Rugabizwa, MINUSCA intends to put into action the suggestions from a recent worldwide evaluation of logistical capabilities, but only if they receive the necessary funding. She is asking the Council for assistance.
She also honored the dedication of UN peacekeepers currently stationed at the Mission, acknowledging the unfortunate loss of three ‘blue helmets’ in “land transport accidents” just this month.