The United Nations is stepping away from its traditional no force “blue helmets” peacekeeping and has authorized the use of force to maintain stability and to prevent the situation from getting worse in the Central African Republic. The conflict in Central African Republic has been going on for nearly a year now. It began in December of 2012 between the Government of Central African Republic and Seleka, who are a coalition of rebel forces. The rebels accused the Government for upholding peace agreements created in 2007 and 2012 to resolve the Central African Republic Bush War, which the same rebels fought in against President Francois Bozize after he seized control of 2003.
Rebel forces began to pledge allegiances to each other at the end of 2012 and the nations of Chad, South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, and Republic of Congo sent troops to back the Government and President Bozize. In March of 2013, the rebels captured the capital and President Bozize fled the country. Michael Djotodia, leader of the rebel forces, declared himself President and was recognized in a regional summit as the transitional head of state. In May, President Bozize was indicated for crimes against humanity and incitement of genocide.
The situation has only deteriorated in the country with the security being poor. There has been fighting among rebels and supporters of Bozize and human rights abuses including the use of child soldiers, rape, torture, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances. There has been conflict between Muslims and Christians, who make up the majority of the population as well, with Muslims attacking Christian villages. Christian militias, known as Anti-Balaka have been launching counter attacks against Muslims.
In November the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2127, which mandated a mission to restore state authority in lawless areas and to protect civilians from these human rights violations. The UN said in the mandate, “On the human rights front, the Council strongly condemned widespread human rights violations by Séléka elements, anti-Balaka elements and the Lord’s Resistance Army, urging the Transitional Authorities to ensure that all such perpetrators were held accountable. It requested the Secretary-General to establish an international commission of inquiry, for an initial period of one year, to investigate reports of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic by all parties since 1 January 2013.”
France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said, “”On the security front, the country risks collapsing into chaos, with uncontrollable and unforeseen consequences for the whole region,” he warned. “On the human front, the risk of mass atrocities is there.” France under the mandate will increase its troop forces from 600 to 1,200 and the African Union will increase their forces from 2,500 to 3,500. The United States announced $40 million dollars in assistance and the United Kingdom is in talks to help provide logistical support to France.
The fear the United Nations and other countries has is the spiral downward towards genocide and anarchy of the nation. With similar conflicts engulfing other African nations, should this be a precedent for the United Nations Security Council and other nations to follow to prevent such atrocities or is this a unique, isolated incident? Also, the UN only authorized more troops and not a full fledged UN peacekeeping force in the country, but do you think they should have included that measure to stabilize the nation or was this resolution sufficient?