Importance of EU Peacekeeping Mission in Central African Republic

Central African Republic is in midst of a turmoil. The UN has termed the situation in the country as nothing short of genocide. The country descended into chaos last year after a Muslim rebel coalition, Séléka, seized power, unleashing a wave of killings and looting that in turn sparked revenge attacks by the “anti-balaka” Christian militia. Since 22 March 2014, the Red Cross has recorded at least 15 civilian deaths in Bangui, and the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières has treated almost 40 people for life-threatening wounds sustained in attacks. A MISCA peacekeeper was killed in the town of Boali, 80 km from the capital, and several more have been injured in a number of anti-balaka attacks against MISCA personnel and assets in the capital since 23 March.

A growing number of peacekeepers are being sent to the country – but as yet, they have been unable to stop the downward spiral of violence. France has committed 2,000 soldiers; there are some 6,000 soldiers in the African Union’s peacekeeping mission, known as Misca – which translates as International Support Mission in Central African Republic; while the European Union has contributed 1,000 soldiers. The UN has proposed a 12,000 strong force, which would have a more robust mandate, with an initial focus on protecting civilians – but it could be up to six months before they’re on the ground.

In the context of escalating violence, it was imperative for the EU to deliver on its role as an global actor in conflict management. It was thus significant when EU ambassadors unanimously proposed Brussels there should be a rapid deployment of a battalion-size force to back up the African and French peacekeepers in their efforts to restore security in the CAR. According to them, there was a pressing need” to restore security in order to avoid the CAR sliding towards complete state failure and large-scale massacres.

The European Union has committed to send 500 troops to the tumultuous Central African Republic — a number that the coalition is “looking” to double, according to its foreign policy chief. Already, France, an EU member, has deployed 1,600 personnel there to support African Union troops following a U.N. Security Council vote in December authorizing military intervention.

On February 11 2014, the European Foreign Affairs Council deliberated upon the legal mechanisms necessary for a military operation in the Central African Republic. The new military operation, which has been given the name EUFOR RCA, will provide temporary support to secure the area around the capital city, Bangui. The operation will provide temporary support, for a period of up to six months, to help to achieve a secure environment in the Bangui area, with a view to handing over to the AU. This objective takes full account of UN Security Council Resolution 2127, and in particular of the possibility of MISCA being transformed into a UN peacekeeping operation. The military force would thereby contribute, within its area of operations, to international and regional efforts to protect the populations most at risk and would contribute to the free movement of civilians

A strong EU peacekeeping mission is urgently required in the Central African Republic. The support for MISCA is part of a global approach by the EU in the Central African Republic. Although slowed and reoriented due to the security and institutional situation, EU development cooperation in the CAR has never been suspended and concentrates on meeting the needs of the populations. When security would be restored, the priority for the EU i will be to accompany the process of transition towards the restoration of democratic institutions and the holding of elections.

Central African Republic is in midst of a turmoil. The UN has termed the situation in the country as nothing short of genocide. The country descended into chaos last year after a Muslim rebel coalition, Séléka, seized power, unleashing a wave of killings and looting that in turn sparked revenge attacks by the “anti-balaka” Christian militia. Since 22 March 2014, the Red Cross has recorded at least 15 civilian deaths in Bangui, and the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières has treated almost 40 people for life-threatening wounds sustained in attacks. A MISCA peacekeeper was killed in the town of Boali, 80 km from the capital, and several more have been injured in a number of anti-balaka attacks against MISCA personnel and assets in the capital since 23 March.

A growing number of peacekeepers are being sent to the country – but as yet, they have been unable to stop the downward spiral of violence. France has committed 2,000 soldiers; there are some 6,000 soldiers in the African Union’s peacekeeping mission, known as Misca – which translates as International Support Mission in Central African Republic; while the European Union has contributed 1,000 soldiers. The UN has proposed a 12,000 strong force, which would have a more robust mandate, with an initial focus on protecting civilians – but it could be up to six months before they’re on the ground.

In the context of escalating violence, it was imperative for the EU to deliver on its role as an global actor in conflict management. It was thus significant when EU ambassadors unanimously proposed Brussels there should be a rapid deployment of a battalion-size force to back up the African and French peacekeepers in their efforts to restore security in the CAR. According to them, there was a pressing need” to restore security in order to avoid the CAR sliding towards complete state failure and large-scale massacres.

The European Union has committed to send 500 troops to the tumultuous Central African Republic — a number that the coalition is “looking” to double, according to its foreign policy chief. Already, France, an EU member, has deployed 1,600 personnel there to support African Union troops following a U.N. Security Council vote in December authorizing military intervention.

On February 11 2014, the European Foreign Affairs Council deliberated upon the legal mechanisms necessary for a military operation in the Central African Republic. The new military operation, which has been given the name EUFOR RCA, will provide temporary support to secure the area around the capital city, Bangui. The operation will provide temporary support, for a period of up to six months, to help to achieve a secure environment in the Bangui area, with a view to handing over to the AU. This objective takes full account of UN Security Council Resolution 2127, and in particular of the possibility of MISCA being transformed into a UN peacekeeping operation. The military force would thereby contribute, within its area of operations, to international and regional efforts to protect the populations most at risk and would contribute to the free movement of civilians

A strong EU peacekeeping mission is urgently required in the Central African Republic. The support for MISCA is part of a global approach by the EU in the Central African Republic. Although slowed and reoriented due to the security and institutional situation, EU development cooperation in the CAR has never been suspended and concentrates on meeting the needs of the populations. When security would be restored, the priority for the EU i will be to accompany the process of transition towards the restoration of democratic institutions and the holding of elections.

Sources

  1. http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/newsroom/all-news/eu-supports-misca-intervention-central-african-republic,
  2. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/eu-to-deploy-500-troops-in-central-african-republic-after-genocide-warning-9073178.html.
  3. http://www.dw.de/eu-signals-support-for-peacekeeping-force-in-central-african-republic/a-17355423.
  4. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/car-urgent-deployment-eu-peacekeepers-needed-quell-fresh-violence-2014-03-26.
  5. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/03/crisis-car-forgotten-now-ignored-2014324174939124732.html.
  6. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/140666.pdf.

Sources

  1. http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/newsroom/all-news/eu-supports-misca-intervention-central-african-republic,
  2. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/eu-to-deploy-500-troops-in-central-african-republic-after-genocide-warning-9073178.html.
  3. http://www.dw.de/eu-signals-support-for-peacekeeping-force-in-central-african-republic/a-17355423.
  4. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/car-urgent-deployment-eu-peacekeepers-needed-quell-fresh-violence-2014-03-26.
  5. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/03/crisis-car-forgotten-now-ignored-2014324174939124732.html.
  6. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/140666.pdf.

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