Senegalese General Babacar Gaye has been appointed as the United Nations Secretary General’s top envoy in the Central African Republic (CAR), where he also heads BINUCA, the UN integrated peace-building office in the country.
Since arriving in the capital Bangui his mandate is to “pursue the necessary assistance to put in place needed priorities and build a foundation for sustainable development”.
The Senegalese general said that 1,2 million people have been cut off from essential services since the Séléka rebel coalition launched its offensive last December. “Human rights violations have also been widespread,” he said.
He added he would work within the four priority axes of intervention set down for the CAR by the UN. They are restoration of security, respect for human rights, humanitarian assistance and the re-launch of political dialogue.
“I intend to meet with political stakeholders, civil society and representatives the CAR’s partners. I also intend to make contact with the authorities of neighbouring countries and religious and international partners.”
BINUCA’s conversion in January 2010 to an ‘integrated’ mission was designed to ensure coherence of peace-building support activities by various UN entities present in the CAR.
Early in the current crisis, a peace accord known as the Libreville Agreement was signed on January 11 in Gabon. It called for the establishment of National Transitional Council that would elect a transitional government.
The rebels, claiming the Government was not complying with its obligations under the accord, continued to gain territory and overran Bangui in late March.
This was part of what has become known as the Battle for Bangui which saw 15 South African soldiers killed.
More than four million people, almost half children, have been directly affected by the crisis and more than 37 000 people have fled the country in the past four months due to violence.
Prior to his appointment in BINUCA, Lieutenant General Gaye served as Assistant Secretary-General and Military Advisor for Peacekeeping Operations.