By: Razanne Chatila
Complete chaos and unending violence have engulfed the Central African Republic, CAR, after former president Michel Djotodia resigned in January after a tumultuous nine month rule. Now, international organizations fear a complete genocide from occurring as “ethnic cleansing” especially towards Muslims and sectarian violence have left many displaced, killed or seeking aid from international organizations. Part of the problem is the resurgence of rebel militant groups in the region in opposition of the previous rule and as CNN reports greed for power and the country’s resources have fueled these leaders’ actions. According to a recent report by Amnesty International these recent militia attacks have led to a “Muslim exodus of historic proportions.” They further reported that “to protect the country’s remaining Muslim communities, international peacekeeping forces must break the control of anti-balaka militias and station sufficient troops in towns where Muslims are threatened.” Although UN peacekeepers were deployed in December, compromising about 5,500 African Union troops and 1,600 French troops, regaining control in order to reduce the violence has failed.
These clashes are also targeting children with violence at unprecedented levels. According to UNICEF, it has verified the killings of at least 16 children, injuries among 60 and the beheading of at least two children and the mutilation of one. More than half the population of the capital city of Bangui has been displaced, and nearly 60 percent of them are displaced children, according to the latest report from UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency. There are also nearly 935,000 displaced people who have resorted to hiding in bushes and seeking refuge with host families. Churches and schools have also been converted to makeshift shelters. The violence can and has become a ripple effect across the region, with surrounding neighbors such as Sudan and the Congo, no strangers to unrest and fighting.
Unending violence is just one of the growing problems in the region. Food shortage is also an imminent concern in this region. The UN stated that currently 90 percent of the population is just eating one meal a day especially as food prices have skyrocketed. The UN’s World Food Program has however, started a month-long aid airlift to provide 82 tons of rice and then 1,800 tons of cereal in the coming weeks. Food has to be airlifted despite it being a more expensive option because the roads have become too dangerous to transport food without a military escort. WFP spokesman Alexis Masciarelli told the BBC that there is enough food to feed 150,000 people but it was not enough since there are 1.25 million in need of food aid in the country.
Although current interim president, Catherina Samba Panza says individuals will be tried for their crimes at the International Court in Hague, clear solutions on how to restore CAR to a democracy and stop these atrocious from occurring, have not been discussed nor has there been any type of plan of action deliberated. The reports from both the different UN agencies and Amnesty International are clear warning signs that the country is falling apart beyond a point of repair unless more action is taken to restore stability and reduce the power of these militia groups.
This post reflects the author’s personal opinions, not the opinions of Arizona Model United Nations.