On 4 December 2017, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic held informal consultations to consider the final report of the Panel of Experts and hear briefings by the United Nations Mine Action Service and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on weapons and ammunition management in the country.
In its presentation on the key findings and recommendations detailed in the report, the panel noted that the security situation, particularly in the south‑east and north‑west, had remained volatile and that no substantial progress on the political process had been achieved during the reporting period. The panel highlighted that self‑proclaimed self‑defence groups, loosely connected to some members of the anti‑balaka movement, had continued to implement their agenda of “liberation” of the south‑east, specifically targeting Muslims and peacekeepers. These attacks were fuelled by inflammatory anti‑Muslim and anti‑United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) rhetoric and disseminated via Bangui‑based instigators.
The panel noted that the dynamics among ex‑Séléka factions had changed after the signing of the Ippy agreement on 9 October 2017, which resulted in halting the intra‑Séléka fighting, securing freedom of movement on the Bria‑Bambari Road and reopening of the transhumance corridors. The panel also underlined that anti‑balaka and self‑proclaimed self‑defence groups had taken over the arms trafficking routes from Union pour la paix en Centrafrique in Bema, south‑east of Bangassou bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while in the north, arms trafficking activities by ex‑Séléka factions had temporarily decreased, owing to the rainy season.
Delegations emphasized that more cooperation was needed among the regional States to counter arms trafficking, and expressed concern with regard to the implementation of travel ban by the regional States. They also recalled the importance of the Central African Republic authorities implementing the asset freeze concerning listed nationals.
Providing an update since its last briefing to the Committee in May 2017, the representative of the Mine Action Service noted that his organization continued to actively assist national authorities of the Central African Republic by providing technical advice and expertise, building and refurbishing weapons and ammunition storage facilities and, in cooperation with UNIDIR, assisting the Central African Republic authorities in implementation of the two‑year (2017-2018) small arms and light weapons road map aimed at producing a national strategy and action plan. In his first briefing to the Committee, the representative of UNIDIR provided preliminary findings concerning its report on weapons and ammunition management in the Central African Republic, which would be published in the beginning of 2018.
Members of the Committee welcomed the briefings by the Mine Action Service and UNIDIR. Several members expressed appreciation for the panel’s final report, noting in particular the importance of its work in monitoring incitement to violence by armed groups, political leaders, religious and civil society representatives in the Central African Republic. Several members of the Committee also underlined the importance of ensuring the security of members of the Panel of Experts in the implementation of its mandate pursuant to paragraphs 27 and 28 of resolution 2339 (2017).