Undermanned UN mission in Chad faces further temporary cuts

22 October 2009 – The United Nations force seeking to provide security in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad, already at barely half its mandated strength, will be further constrained in the coming months due to the departure of some units, a top UN official warned today.

“While MINURCAT is developing measures to ensure the continuation of operations in all sectors, the capacities of the force will be stretched,” UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Edmund Mulet told the Security Council, using the acronym of the mission set up two years ago to protect civilians and assist the distribution of aid for thousands of people uprooted by inter-ethnic conflict and the spill-over of fighting from Sudan’s neighbouring Darfur region.

“We continue to do everything possible to expedite the deployment of all pledged contingents,” he said, noting that MINURCAT at present comprised only 2,750 troops, or 53 per cent of its authorized strength, due to difficulties faced by some contributing countries in acquiring and transporting equipment.

This is all the more critical since replacements for departing engineering and transport units are only scheduled to arrive between December and March, he added.

Mr. Mulet said that despite the challenges, the mission had continued to build confidence through high-profile operations to deter criminality and provide a security umbrella, particularly for humanitarian aid, including a UN initiative to combat sexual violence by promoting the enforcement of legislation in line with international human rights.

He noted the expressed desire of the Chadian and Sudanese Governments to restore confidence but added: “Progress to normalize relations between Chad and Sudan must be matched by efforts to address the internal conflicts prevailing in both Sudan and Chad.”

In his latest report to the Council released earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that continuing tensions between Chad and Sudan have stalled regional peace efforts, prolonging the humanitarian crisis in both nations.

Mr. Mulet welcomed the establishment of an independent electoral body to oversee elections in Chad, and announced that UN agencies would soon begin discussions with the Government on the electoral process.

On CAR he said the situation had stabilized to a degree but remained unpredictable as the underlying causes of insecurity, notably inter-ethnic tensions, had not been resolved.

[original]

spotted by RS

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