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UNHCR welcomes resolution on Chad, Central African Republic

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UNHCR welcomes resolution on Chad, Central African Republic

25 September 2007

Tuesday 25 September 2007

NEW YORK - UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres welcomed the adoption today of a UN Security Council resolution establishing a multi-dimensional UN mission in Chad and Central African Republic (MINURCAT) that will help strengthen security in the region.

He looks forward to an early decision of the European Union to send military troops so that MINURCAT can deploy in the coming weeks and months.

Improving the security of the refugees, IDPs and other civilians in danger as well as facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance will greatly contribute toward stabilizing the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and may contribute to the return of displaced persons, Guterres said.

This is most urgent given that the humanitarian situation in eastern Chad is "very difficult and serious" and the fear of increasing violence, causing more people to flee, with the approaching end of the rainy season.

He also emphasized the need for a comprehensive and sub-regional approach to the conflicts in the Darfur region, eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR. In the longer term, UNHCR appeals to the international community to provide recovery and development assistance so that the displaced can return and restart their lives as well as rebuild communities, given the heavy burden the people of Chad and CAR face.

Since 2004, eastern Chad has hosted some 240,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps who have fled the fighting in Darfur. In addition, Chad is facing a surge in the number of internally displaced persons, now totalling more than 170,000.

North-eastern CAR hosts some 2,660 refugees from Darfur.

Today's resolution establishes MINURCAT for a period of one year, with a mandate focusing on the security and protection of civilians - particularly refugees, IDPs and civilians in danger - and on human rights and the rule of law in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR.

MINURCAT will consist of three components:

  • a UN multidimensional presence, composed of UN police, rule of law, human rights and other civilian officers;
  • a special Chadian police/gendarmes unit (some 850) dedicated exclusively to maintaining law and order in refugee camps, sites with concentrations of IDPs and key towns, and assisting in securing humanitarian activities in eastern Chad;
  • an EU military deployment (under Chapter VII).

The military contingent would have a mandate to contribute to the protection of civilians in danger, particularly refugees and displaced persons; to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel by helping to improve security in the area of operation; and to contribute to protecting UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment and to ensuring the security and freedom of movement of its staff and UN and associated personnel.