The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2022, outlining a range of mandated tasks from civilian protection to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Adopting resolution 2605 (2021) (to be issued as document S/RES/2605(2021)) by a vote of 13 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation), the Council — acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter — decided to maintain MINUSCA’s current troop levels of up to 14,400 military personnel, 3,020 police personnel and 108 corrections officers.  It decided that the Mission’s mandate aims to advance a multiyear strategic vision to create the conditions conducive to national reconciliation and durable peace, including through the implementation of the 2019 Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation and the elimination of the threat posed by armed groups.

By its terms, the Council identified the Mission’s priority tasks as protection of civilians, good offices and support to the peace process, facilitation of the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian  assistance and protection of United Nations personnel, installations, equipment and goods.  It also identified a range of additional tasks, including improving coordination with all humanitarian actors in order to facilitate the creation of a secure environment for the immediate, full, safe and unhindered, civilian‑led delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The Council further authorized MINUSCA to pursue the promotion and protection of human rights, including monitoring, investigating, reporting annually to the Council and following up on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses committed throughout the Central African Republic.

Demanding an immediate end to all forms of violence against civilians and United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel — as well as to all destabilizing activities, incitement to hatred and violence, disinformation campaigns and freedom of movement restrictions — the Council also demanded that armed groups lay down their arms and permanently disband in line with their commitments under the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation.

Further by the resolution’s terms, the Council urged all parties to the conflict to respect the agreed ceasefire and called on the Central African Republic’s authorities and the signatory armed groups to fully implement the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in good faith.  It urged the authorities and all national stakeholders to ensure the preparation of inclusive, free and fair local elections in 2022, calling upon the authorities to ensure secure conditions and unrestricted access to the polls, including through cooperation with MINUSCA.

Also noting with concern the grave risks that violations of the status‑of‑forces agreement can present to the safety and security of United Nations personnel in peacekeeping operations, the Council requested the Secretary‑General to implement the provisions of resolution 2589 (2021) for establishing accountability for crimes against peacekeepers.

Speaking after adoption, the representative of the United States said that while the resolution reaffirms the centrality of the 2019 Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, it is silent on several important matters.  Individuals supported by the Russian Federation and invited into the country by the Central African Republic’s Government stand accused of committing egregious human rights abuses.  Calling attention to the use of the phrase “all parties to the conflict” in the resolution — which the United States views as including contractors from the Russian Federation — he said such abuses must be fully investigated.  The resolution also remains silent on the 1 November attack on a bus of unarmed, recently arrived Egyptian peacekeepers, he added.  Expressing disagreement with the use of the phrase “in accordance with relevant provisions of international law” in paragraph 52, he urged Council members to draw from more legally accurate humanitarian access clauses in resolutions concerning other Missions.

The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his delegation’s decision to abstain, emphasized that when the Council adopts resolutions it must not forget the opinion of the host country.  Several fundamental concerns raised by the Central African Republic were not reflected in today’s text.  Turning to United Nations peacekeepers, she voiced support for their work but pointed out that, over the course of its existence, MINUSCA has frequently been a source of scandal.  Peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse, including against children, and of trafficking in resources, most recently the removal of diamonds to countries in Europe.  On the accusations made against specialists from the Russian Federation working in the Central African Republic, she said such personnel are working — on the invitation of the legitimate Government — to bolster the vocational training of the country’s soldiers.

The representative of India, noting that the Central African Republic is at an important juncture in its tenuous journey to peace, highlighted the ceasefire and the ongoing preparations for local elections, which indicate the country’s commitment to put in place a democratic framework.  Such efforts require support from the Council and the international community, he said, adding that it is essential to have good working relations between the Mission and the Government. Further, he added, the 2022 assessment of MINUSCA must enable the Council to reflect on the uniform, civilian and leadership components of the Mission.

China’s representative recalled that, over the course of 2021, the Central African Republic overcame multiple difficulties, successfully held elections and continued to improve its security situation.  MINUSCA has also made important efforts to improve the situation in that country, and its continued presence is still necessary.  He supported the renewal of the mission’s mandate but stressed that consent of the country concerned is an important principle to which peacekeeping missions must adhere.  As the Government’s suggestions were not given full consideration, China abstained from the vote.  He expressed his hope that the Government’s reasonable opinions will be given more attention going forward.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 10:24 a.m.

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