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Central African Republic

Photo: UNMAS CAR

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ABOUT UNMAS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) deteriorated in 2013. Large quantities of weapons, obsolete ammunition, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and small ammunition are continuously circulating in the country. Armed groups such as Ex-Séléka and Anti-Balaka seized these weapons and they were dispersed throughout the civilian population.

Adding to the humanitarian and security risk is the existence of large quantities of ammunition in inappropriate storage facilities around the capital, Bangui. Poor storage conditions, non-existent ammunition management and a lack of physical    security place civilians and local infrastructure at risk. At the request of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA) and national authorities, UNMAS deployed to CAR in January 2014. Shortly thereafter, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2149 (2014), establishing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which assigned UNMAS the task of restoring a more secure humanitarian environment. MINUSCA’s mandate was renewed under resolution 2301 (2016), calling “upon the CAR Authorities and international partners and relevant United Nations entities, in coordination with MINUSCA and United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to address the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation, and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the CAR, and to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons, and the collection and/or destruction of surplus, seized, unmarked, or illicitly held weapons and ammunition, and further stresses the importance of incorporating such elements into SSR and DDR/R programmes.”

IMPACT: NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

In November 2016, UNMAS sensitized a total of 1,814 workers participating in the Londo project implemented by the World Bank. They organized 36 risk education sessions on explosive remnants of war and small arms ammunition. The Londo project is a THIMO project which offers temporary employment opportunities for African youth. UNMAS supported them in terms of risk education to sensitize workers and the young people involved. In addition, following a request from UNDP, non-technical surveys (NTS) were conducted by UNMAS on a site which was occupied by armed groups and identified by CAR authorities to house a new unit of the Central African gendarmerie. Following this NTS, the site was declared safe by teams of UNMAS. Then, on December 1 (Central African Independence Day), UNMAS started the pre-launch of its campaign for moto-taxis: indeed, the bikers were circulated during the parade of Independence Day with UNMAS red vests showing awareness messages on the risks of explosives and small arms and light weapons, while also displaying a general slogan about the importance of road safety. In the future, UNMAS will expand its campaign to the whole Central African Republic territory.

FUTURE SUPPORT TO SCR & ARMS EMARGO MANDATES AND CAR

To support the MINUSCA’s mandate working under the pillar of the Protection of Civilians, UNMAS performs the  following tasks:

  • Inspecting and removing ERW around civilian areas and UN sites while enhancing humanitarian access.
  • Providing technical support with weapons and ammunition management (WAM).
  • Supporting pollution control, inspecting and securing weapons and ammunition collected from ex-combatants.
  • Supporting and planning weapons and ammunition storage and helping their implementation with UN troops as well as the Central African forces.
  • Developing a country-wide stockpile management capacity.
  • Training of civilian and military MINUSCA’s components on the risks related to ERW and IEDs.
  • Studying weapons management structures related to prisons with MINUSCA’s Justice & Corrections section.
  • Supporting the control of weapons violating sanctions imposed on CAR through registration and destruction.

CHALLENGES

The establishment of a national programme for weapons and ammunition management requires a close coordination and consistent support from the CAR Government. UNMAS is working with the national and internal security forces to develop its capacity. One of the objectives of this collaboration is the construction of a permanent ammunition depot which requires common strategic planning. The major challenge remains the limited access to logistics resources and supply of goods and services, which are essential for implementing weapons and ammunition infrastructure projects. Finally, the establishment of an effective national monitoring mechanism to regulate and coordinate WAM and EOD activities (removal and destruction of explosives) is essential to enhance national capacities. The volatile security situation remains a constraint in the implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process which may also dissuade armed groups to hand-over their weapons and ammunition.

FUNDING SHORTFALL IN 2016 AND 2017

UNMAS CAR is funded by the MINUSCA’s assessed budget until June 2017. The programme has identified a funding gap of $ 4,536,676 to implement an armoury project mandated by the Sanctions Committee in the 16 prefectures of the country and will seek funding through the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action.

Updated: January 2017

Programme of:

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QUICK FIGURES

In 2016/17 budget year (from 1 July, 2016)

  • 175,093 ammunition and explosive items were destroyed, including 171,774 small arms ammunition.
  • In Bangui, 2 constructions, 3 rehabilitations, 3 temporary mobile kits (8 items in total) were put in place for the police, gendarmerie, water & forest post and customs.
  • 120,013 beneficiaries received 2,592 risk education sessions on ERW/SALW.
  • 10 UNPOL penitentiary agents and 8 FACA members were trained as armourers.

Since the beginning of the programme in CAR

  • From 2014, a total of 350,614  ammunition were destroyed to date. It included 159,540 detonators, 4,098 ammunition (UXOs), and 186,376 small arms ammunition.
  • In terms of infrastructure: 6 constructions, 12 rehabilitations, 3 temporary mobile kits (21 items in total) were put in place for the national forces.
  • 6 types of training were conducted for national and UN forces. 117 participants were trained in WAM (Weapons and Ammunition Management).
  • 3,203 participants have been sensitized to the risk of improvised explosive device (IED) and on explosives remnants of war (ERW).
  • Over 418,843 beneficiaries received 11,817 risk education sessions on ERW/SALW and participated in 858 Armed Violence Reduction meetings.
  • Establishment of a Steering Committee on WAM.

 

LINKS

MINUSCA Website


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