An Urgent Call For Action

 

The Central African Republic (CAR) currently lacks rule of law and remains in an alarming state of violence. The country is in a situation that is characterized by a long list of ‘increasing violations of international humanitarian law…widespread human rights violations and abuses.” According to a UN Security Council Report, these include “extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence against women and children, rape, recruitment and use of children and attacks against civilians and attacks against places of worship.”

The UN Security Council and the European Union have already expressed a “deep concern at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the CAR.” The current situation is a continuation of the civil war that has been plaguing the country and is a result of “religiously motivated targeted killings” that have left the county in a concerning state of instability and chaos. The anti-Balaka, a militia group, reports the Security Council, “have increased their attacks on Muslims as have mobs of civilians who have carried out gruesome killings of Muslims in recent weeks.”

Since March of 2013 “thousands are estimated to have been killed while some 833,000 people have been displaced from their homes. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported an additional 268,779 people have sought refuge in Cameroon, Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Half of the 4.6 million inhabitants are reportedly in need of humanitarian assistance.”

Hope filled the nation earlier this week with the election of Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of Bangui, as interim President. However, Samba-Panza’s election is only a temporary solution. It seems she probably will only serve for “a little over a year, with the goal of leading [the CAR] to national elections.”

Although Samba-Panza’s leadership has been predicted to help bring stability to the nation, there is an urgent need for the international community to come together and respond quickly. As indicated by the UN Security Council Report, the children are the ones suffering the worst consequences.

The international community has responded to the situation. There are currently about two thousand French troops and about five thousand African Union soldiers in the CAR, sent there to keep the peace. In addition, the UN Secretary-General has announced the formation of an international commission. This commission is to verify the continuing human rights violations that have been reported. The Secretary General has also promised to “focus on ways of curtailing the violence protecting human rights, and supporting the delivery of humanitarian assistance” in the CAR.

More needs to be done, and it needs to be done now. The situation in the CAR continues to worsen and the safety of its people, specially its children, calls for swift action. What do you think Catherine Samba-Panza should do in her attempts to put back together her broken nation? What other international agencies do you think should be getting involved?

 

SOURCES

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UN Security Council

The UN Security Council Report 

2 comments

  1. I am very sad to hear that the individuals in the Central African Republic are going through these very horrible times. “Extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence against women and children, rape, recruitment and use of children and attacks against civilians and attacks against places of worship,” must be dealt with immediately. The government of CAR, and its new President, Catherine Samba-Panza, must do all it can to put an end to the violence.

    The county is in a concerning state of chaos due to religious prejudice. Everyone should be able to practice whichever religion he/she wants without fear of being persecuted. The biggest problem I find with casualties similar to this one is that the relief is too delayed. I am happy to hear that the international community has responded to the situation, and sent over two thousand French troops and about five thousand African Union soldiers in the CAR to keep the peace, but relief should have came sooner. And if these troops are not enough then the United Nations needs to intervene more zealously and send more enforcements and aid to help the victims of this tragedy.

  2. It seems like Catherine Samba-Panza has an extremely difficult task facing her, and not likely one that will be anywhere close to solved if she is only in office for a year or so. But certainly the first thing Samba-Panza needs to focus on is bringing stability to the Central African Republic, before the long healing and rebuilding process can begin. Samba-Panza needs to instill in the CAR a strong legal system; one which follows the rule of law and which has the power to hold people – particularly corrupt officials – accountable for their actions. Until there is a cost to be paid for these horrible atrocities, nothing will change. The UN should be instrumental in facilitating this process and ensuring stability in the CAR. The UN should be the primary international point-agency in regard to the structural changes that need to be made, but for the humanitarian needs there are dozens (if not hundreds) of humanitarian organizations worldwide that could lend support to make sure the people in the CAR get the help they need.

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