Efforts to ensure the UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR) is effective and efficient when it hits the ground in September have been given impetus by the world body’s peacekeeping boss during a visit to the strife-torn country.
Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, met with stakeholders telling them he had come to the country to “get a more accurate picture of the situation.”
“I want to ensure we integrate all possible elements in the vision we have for the deployment of MINUSCA (UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission). This is part of the UN’s commitment to help usher CAR out of a terrible crisis and end the suffering that has continued for far too long,” he said in Bangui.
The new UN Mission will take over the responsibilities of the African led International Support Mission in CAR (MISCA) on September 15. Initially it will consists of up to 10 000 soldiers, including 240 military observers and 200 staff officers, as well as close on 2 000 police personnel.
Fighting in CAR has taken on an increasingly sectarian nature following a 2012 coup and has since grown more brutal with reports of ongoing human rights violations and reprisal attacks between largely Christian anti-balaka and mostly Muslim Séléka rebels that have displaced hundreds of thousands of people both inside and outside the country, and left more than two million in need of humanitarian aid.
The UN Integrated Peace-building Office (BINUCA) in the country will also become part of MINUSCA to ensure what Ladsous termed “a seamless transition” from one entity to the other.
“I think we are now in a phase where we will work hard to ramp up MINUSCA, building on the work already done by BINUCA,” he said.
The new mission will aim to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access in the war-torn country. Ladsous said the shift from a political office to a peacekeeping operation would enhance UN capacities on the ground, through the deployment of civilian teams, as well as military and police components.
“MINUSCA’s aim is to create safe conditions for significant improvement in the situation. It will help restore State authority and its various institutions. It will also help with a political process and national reconciliation,” he said.