[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
Earlier this month, the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Mr. Dmitry Titov, visited MINURCAT, the peacekeeping operation in Chad and the Central African Republic, to get a first hand account of developments in this nascent expanding Mission.
Together with Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Victor Da Silva Angelo and Deputy SRSG Rima Salah, Mr. Titov also traveled to the Mission’s forward headquarters in Abeche and sector base in Iriba, where some of the 250,000 refugees from neighbouring Darfur and 166,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sought shelter. He was able to exchange views with a number of Chadian officials including the Prime Minister, Ministers of Justice and Human Rights, governors, sultans and police, justice and corrections officials.
MINURCAT’s unique feature is the selection and training of a Chadian police service Détachement Intégré de Sécurité or DIS. Mr. Titov acknowledged that the deployment of both MINURCAT and the DIS, under such challenging logistical conditions and given the regional security problems linked to instability at the Chad/Sudan border, has made a considerable impact. This achievement was all the more complex due to the relatively short timeframe for deployment and the very harsh conditions on the edges of the Sahara desert.
There are currently some 600 out of 850 DIS deployed in six police stations and 12 police posts in eastern Chad. The DIS can be seen on the ground and partners ranging from local authorities to international non-governmental organizations expressed their satisfaction with the DIS performance. The presence of the DIS and MINURCAT is a stabilizing factor in an otherwise volatile area. However, construction of proper accommodation, installation of communications equipment and provision of transport necessary to deploy the remaining 250 DIS officers still have to be expedited.
The security situation in Chad merits the sustained support of the international community. The core activities of the Mission depend on the goodwill of a handful of donors who are contributing to the MINURCAT Trust Fund. Just over USD 21 million has been received or pledged to date, but at this rate MINURCAT will not be able to support full deployment and operations of the DIS through the end of 2009.
The international community had provided the Chadian authorities a unique stabilizing opportunity and is willing to assist Chad in addressing impunity and various issues related to rule of law in a comprehensive fashion. Although DIS law enforcement activity is vital, it is not sufficient without proper justice and corrections systems in place, in order to instil confidence among the refugee, internally displaced and local populations in the east.
In the months to come, MINURCAT intends to develop a case-tracking mechanism to monitor the treatment of individuals detained or arrested by the DIS, and expand the mobile court system to key locations in eastern Chad. The Mission, which currently includes 300 United Nations police and a number of justice and corrections officers, will also work closely with national and local authorities to build bridges between traditional and formal justice actors, and strengthen key prisons in the eastern part of the country.
Under Security Council resolution 1861 (S/RES/1861), MINURCAT will assume – as of 15 March – the major responsibility to contribute to protecting civilians in danger and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and altogether contribute to a more secure environment, which will require 5,200 military personnel. These tasks are currently performed by the European Union-led operation EUFOR Chad/CAR (Central African Republic).