Seriously concerned by widespread human rights violations and the increasing cycle of violence and retaliation in the Central African Republic (CAR), the UN Security Council on Tuesday extended the mandate of the UN peacebuilding office in the country to 31 January 2015. PANA in New York reports that the Council also authorized the use of force by European Union troops and added travel bans and asset freezes to an arms embargo already in place.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, it expressed deep concern at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the CAR which, it said, was characterized by a total breakdown in law and order, the absence of the rule of law, religiously motivated targeted killings and arson.
It noted that it extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA) to support the implementation of the transition process by expediting the re-establishment of constitutional order and implementing the 2013 Libreville agreements.
The agreements resulted in a temporary ceasefire and created a unity government in which opposition figures were given key posts.
The resolution also calls on CAR’s transitional government, led by newly appointed Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of the capital city of Bangui, to speed up, with BINUCA’s support, progress towards free and fair elections.
The Council sad that the elections were to be held not later than February 2015, and if possible, in the second half of 2014.
The Council members also called for the holding of national dialogue, in close coordination with the UN office, to promote reconciliation.
It mandated BINUCA to lend support for conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, and promotion and protection of human rights.
The Council authorized a new international push in CAR, authorizing European troops to deploy an operation for an initial six months to take all necessary measures which in UN Security Council language translated to allowing the troops to use force.
It urged UN member states, including CAR’s neighbours, to support the EU action, in particular by facilitating personnel, equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, vehicles and spare parts intended by these troops.
The Council last month authorized an African-led and French-backed peacekeeping force to quell the spiralling violence known by its French acronym MISCA.
The resolution allows for an initial one-year travel embargo and a freeze of financial assets as targeting measures, but does not specify names or group affiliations to be sanctioned.
The Council, which had considered imposing targeted measures, including travel bans and assets freezes, in December, decided that all member states 'shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories' of the individuals.
It decided that States 'freeze, without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by the individuals or entities'.
In December 2013, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution imposing several measures, including a year-long embargo on the supply of arms, military equipment and related assistance, to non-state actors in the CAR.
Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday said that its first convoy of food supplies reached the capital as a result of good cooperation between MISCA, Cameroon and CAR officials.
WFP Regional Director for West Africa, Denise Brown said: 'Ten trucks carrying WFP food – 250 metric tons of rice and maize meal arrived in Bangui on Monday, after a 600-kilometre journey from the Cameroon border.'
The trucks were part of a 60-vehicle convoy escorted by MISCA troops.
He said that another 41 commercial trucks carrying WFP cereals were still stranded at the Cameroonian border, along with hundreds of other vehicles.