Huge challenges remain as UN mission departs Chad, Central African Republic: Ban

09:26, December 08, 2010      

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With the United Nations mission in Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) wrapping up by the end of the year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday warned that the humanitarian challenges are immense and some security issues give rise to concern.

The mission, known as MINURCAT, was set up by the UN Security Council in 2007 to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighboring Sudan. The mission is being terminated at the request of the Chadian government, which has pledged full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory.

"The humanitarian needs in eastern Chad are immense," Ban said in his latest report to the Security Council on the mission, stressing that nearly 600,000 people -- 255,000 refugees from the conflict in the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan, more than 137, 500 internally displaced persons (IDPs), some 43,000 returnees, and a host population of 150,000 -- depend on assistance from 70 humanitarian organizations.

"The destruction of more than 104,000 hectares of crops during the rainy season rendered the population vulnerable in southern, central and eastern Chad. Across the Sahelian belt in Chad, an estimated 1.6 million people now face food insecurity and malnutrition," he said, calling on donors to urgently provide resources to meet the needs of refugees and IDPs and support programs to promote durable solutions for them.

On CAR, the secretary-general cited the recent attack by an armed opposition group in the Birao region, which led to the withdrawal of national security forces. "I am concerned by the limited capacity of the security forces in Birao to fend off potential attacks on their positions now that MINURCAT has departed," he said, urging bilateral partners to respond positively to the government's request for assistance.

Ban stressed the unique nature of MINURCAT, a multi-dimensional presence that had a maximum strength of 5,500 peacekeepers, in that it was devoted solely to helping protect civilians, without an explicit political mandate, and had tenuous host-government consent since Chad repeatedly expressed a strong preference that any international presence be civilian in nature.

In requesting that it be removed, Chad pledged to take on responsibility for the protection of civilians with its Detachement integre de securite (DIS), an integrated security unit which the UN has been helping to train and support.
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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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