Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CAR: Security Council urges security sector reform ahead of Central African polls

The Security Council today called on the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to ensure a speedy and inclusive political dialogue and swift security sector reform as the conflict-plagued country prepares for elections in 2010, urging the world community to provide necessary support.

Security reform “is a crucial element for the peace-building process in the Central African Republic and for addressing widespread impunity and increasing respect for human rights,” the 15-member body said in a statement read out by its president for December, Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso.

The statement followed a warning last week from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative in CAR Sahle-Work Zewde that international assistance is vital to prevent the impoverished country from sliding back into political crisis and potential new fighting as it prepares for elections after a decade of sporadic conflict between Government and rebel forces.

It called on the Government to carry out without delay a transparent and accountable disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process for former fighters, ensuring the completion of disarmament and demobilization phase before the elections.

“In these efforts, transparent funding and coordination of reintegration programs is critical to the program’s long-term success,” it said, urging the international community to provide timely and adequate support to the process.

The Council also strongly condemned the ongoing attacks in CAR by the rebel Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and “calls for the countries of the region and the United Nations missions to coordinate and enhance information-sharing regarding the threat posed by the LRA to the population.”

Demanding that the Government and all political stakeholders “ensure free, fair, transparent and credible preparation and conduct” of the elections, it called on “the Government, the United Nations and other stakeholders to support timely election preparation with adequate resources.”

“Only a clear course of action by the international and regional actors would help the CAR to shift from conflict to a post-conflict country,” Ms. Zewde told the Council last week, presenting Mr. Ban’s latest report on the country.

In the report, Mr. Ban also stressed the critical need for speedy disarmament and demobilization. “Any further delay in starting the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme may not only negatively affect the holding of elections as scheduled, but could also lead to the frustration of the ex-combatants waiting for disarmament, who may be forced to return to violence,” he wrote.

Source: UN (21/12/2009)

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