Central African Republic [fr]
|“We have the option of supporting a potentially positive dynamic and restoring lasting stability to the country.” François Delattre, March 16, 2017|
A major political and security crisis broke out in the Central African Republic in December 2012. The seizure of power in Bangui by a coalition of Seleka rebel groups in March 2013, and conflicts between them and groups that had opposed the anti-Balaka movement, led to a serious deterioration in the country’s political, security, and humanitarian situation, as well as numerous human rights violations. This situation also gave rise to numerous population displacements (involving both refugees and internally displaced people) and threatened to destabilize the entire sub-region.
- Several weapons of ex-Séléka were seized in support of State authority restoration.
- Credits: UN Photos
From the outset, the international community – in particular the UN, the African Union, the EU and France – worked to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict and to help stabilize the country. In 2013, the African Union deployed the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), transformed in September 2014 into the UN peacekeeping operation known as MINUSCA, with the support of the French Operation Sangaris. These operations restored stability to the country.
A transition period also began in January 2014 following the resignation of Seleka coalition leader Michel Djotodia. This transition was completed with Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s election as the country’s President in February 2016. President Touadéra, with MINUSCA’s support, continued the political process already under way; his priorities were disarming ex-combatants, restoring security, restoring State authority, and national reconciliation.
A resurgence in violence by armed groups has nevertheless been observed in recent months in several parts of the CAR, aggravating the humanitarian situation. This situation calls for the utmost vigilance by the international community. The latter must highlight its support for President Touadéra’s efforts to preserve the current political process. That is the purpose of a joint roadmap for peace and reconciliation signed on July 17, 2017 in Libreville, Gabon, by Central African and AU officials along with Gabon, Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Chad, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
In December 2013, the Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) by the African Union (resolution 2127 (2013) and the French Operation Sangaris, to counter the escalating violence.
In September 2014, this force was replaced by the UN Multidimensional International Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, or MINUSCA, after the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2149 (2014), spearheaded by France.
- Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, visiting MINUSCA troops in Central African Republic.
- Credits: UN Photos
MINUSCA’s initial mandate was to protect populations and support the political process, especially reconciliation efforts, the demobilization of armed groups, the reform of security forces, and the fight against impunity. With the political process being pursued by President Touadéra since his election, MINUSCA has refocused its robust mandate on the strategic aim of reducing the presence of armed groups and the threat they represent in CAR. Nearly 12,800 uniformed personnel are currently deployed in MINUSCA.
The EU has also lent its support to stabilizing the CAR and restructuring the Central African armed forces, first with the deployment of the European military mission EUFOR RCA in April 2014, whose mission was to help secure the capital, Bangui (this mission was completed in March 2015), and since July 2016, with the launch of the advisory and training mission EUTM RCA.
With the recent upsurge in attacks in the country, France is calling for the strengthening of MINUSCA’s capacities to give it the means it needs to respond and support the political process.
Since the beginning of the crisis, France has actively striven, both nationally and within the Security Council, to provide support for restoring stability and the rule of law to the Central African Republic.
In the Security Council, where it serves as penholder, France has spearheaded various resolutions dealing with the situation in CAR. As a result the MINUSCA mandate has been renewed regularly by the Security Council (resolution 2301 (2016)) as has the sanctions regime concerning the CAR (resolution 2339 (2017)), to adapt them to the new situation in the country.
On the national level, France first deployed Operation Sangaris (early December 2013), in support of MISCA and then MINUSCA, an operation that ended in 2016. France then joined the European EUTM RCA mission and MINUSCA, which incorporated a number of French personnel. It also helps support MINUSCA on the material level.
Finally, France provides financial support to the CAR. During the Donors Conference held in Brussels in November 2016, it announced an €85 million aid package for the period of 2017-2019.