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New Head For UN Mission In Chad And CAR

Ban Names New Head For UN Mission In Chad And Central African Republic

New York, Mar 31 2010 5:10PM Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named a veteran United Nations official as his Acting Special Representative for the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which was set up over two years ago amid increasing unrest, partly due to the war in neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region.

Youssef Mahmoud, a Tunisian national who joined the UN in 1981, replaces Victor Angelo who retired this month. He has already been in Chad for over a week discussing the Mission’s future after the African country called for the withdrawal of its military component, saying it had served its purpose and it was better for Chadian forces to take over security responsibilities.

Earlier this month the Security Council extended MINURCAT’s mandate through 15 May, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy saying this technical roll-over would “give some time to try to find agreement with the Chadian authorities.”

MINURCAT was set up in 2007 to ensure the security of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur, other displaced persons and humanitarian workers in both countries.

Last month Chadian Permanent Representative Ahmad Allam-mi told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York that that the military component had served its purpose. With new agreements on border security with Sudan, and with MINURCAT not strong enough to provide complete security in eastern Chad, he said, it was better for Chadian forces to take over and for the mandate to be adjusted.

The mission currently comprises nearly 4,000 uniformed personnel and 430 international civilian staff, 500 local civilians and 143 UN Volunteers. Its mandate calls for it to liaise with the national forces to create a more secure environment, combating in particular the problems of banditry and criminality; and to support efforts to relocate refugee camps which are close to the border.

In the humanitarian field, it is entrusted with promoting human rights, with particular attention to sexual and gender-based violence, recommending action to fight impunity, and assisting the Government in promoting the rule of law, including support for an independent judiciary and a strengthened legal system.

Before his arrival in Chad, Mr. Mahmoud served for three years as Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB). He has held several high profile positions, including UN Resident Coordinator in Guyana and Director in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). He has also held posts with the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) and Office of Human Resources and Management (OHRM) in New York.

ENDS

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