“Lethargy” strikes CAR political process

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The senior United Nations (UN) representative in the Central African Republic (CAR) maintains the country is in a state of “de facto lethargy” as reports of persistent ceasefire violations continue.

Valentine Rugwabiza is reported by the UN CAR mission (MINUSCA) as saying: “The fears of civilians still suffering harmful effects of persistent ceasefire violations with horrific attacks reported,” which creates the lethargy even as efforts to re-invigorate the CAR political process are underway.

MINUSCA, she said, maintains “a frank and constructive dialogue with the [CAR] government on human rights and is working to adopt preventive measures, combat impunity and rehabilitate victims.

The CAR registered positive steps to restoring peace and stability, following adoption of a Joint Roadmap for Peace in October 2021 reports now indicate progress languishes. The Roadmap was an attempt to implement a 2019 peace agreement – the Khartoum Accord – signed between government and 14 non-State armed groups.

CAR has grappled with conflict since 2012, as fighting between the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia and the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition killed thousands and left two out of three civilians dependent on humanitarian aid.

Despite a “republican dialogue” involving several constituent groups in March, recent weeks saw attacks on civilians by non-State groups, as well as militias affiliated to government.

Targeted attacks against humanitarian workers and ethnic groups, including Fulani and Gbaya, have also been reported.

Briefing the Security Council on UN efforts to address violations and accelerate the CAR political process, Rugwabiza said MINUSCA is working to strengthen trust with authorities and re-engage partners.

One such effort was a June strategic review meeting with Angola and Rwanda as well as the Economic Community of Central African States — to remobilise the wider region and the global community against violence in CAR.

Cessation of hostilities across CAR remains an immediate objective and a gauge of the Joint Roadmap’s credibility, she said, stressing a need for “consensual dissuasive measures” against parties who do not uphold commitments.

She pledged MINUSCA’s support to the CAR government “for as long as it takes” to rebuild capacities needed for more professional defence and security forces.