With nearly 400,000 people displaced by violence in Central African Republic, the United Nations Security Council has authorized French and African troops in Central African Republic to use force to protect civilians.
The deployment of MISCA and French forces are mandated protect civilians, prevent atrocities, and restore humanitarian access that has been lost due to unrest and instability.
Yesterday, France’s strong leadership in committing 800 additional troops and their support to the African Union-led stabilization mission in the CAR (MISCA)which sends a powerful message to all that the violence must end.
Reports say the situation on the ground is deteriorating at a much faster pace and the country’s capital Bangui is vulnerable to a total breakdown in law and order.
The Seleka, a loose coalition of armed groups that took power in a March 2013 coup has broken up into multiple armed groups. The population feared these groups may trigger violence.
Tens of thousands of Christians are now finding refuge in a church outside Bossangoa and thousands of Muslim civilians are sheltering in mosque. All of them are fearing the possibility of an attack on their lives.
US supports the UN response to crisis in CAR
Yesterday, the US voted in favor and co-sponsored the UN Security Council’s strong resolution that gives MISCA, and French forces in support of MISCA, Chapter VII authority to restore security and bring peace to a people that have suffered for too long in CAR.
In addition, US Permanent Representative to UN Samantha Power today said the UN resolution marks a very important moment in the Council’s response to the crisis in the Central African Republic.
“It reflects our shared belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Central African Republic.” – Ms. Power
The US also commends and supports the robust efforts that are being made by countries who are putting their troops on the line to try to prevent atrocities and save lives in the CAR.
US addresses the crisis in CAR
Highlighting the surge of insurgency perpetrated by Seleka forces which has displaced hundreds of thousand of civilians, the United States along with others in the international community, have publicly condemned Seleka’s overthrow of the government from the very beginning.
To address the violence, the United States Government suspended direct assistance to the C.A.R. central government, but allowed support for programs operated by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The programs provide for humanitarian aid throughout accessible areas in C.A.R., and combat trafficking in persons, and civilian protection in support of the counter-Lord’s Resistance Army campaign.
The Seleka rebel group is notorious for including murders, rapes, robberies, looting and burning of villages. The group’s abuses also led to the surge of Christian self-defense groups that have sought to kill both Seleka fighters and C.A.R. Muslims, creating a dangerous dynamic of inter-religious hatred and tension that risks spiraling out of control.
On humanitarian crisis
The crisis in the Central African Republic has internally displaced nearly 400,000 people and forced approximately 68,000 new refugees into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Chad.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have little to no access to clean water, schools, or health services.
The U.S. Government partners continue to try to reach these populations with life-saving assistance, but are constrained by lawlessness and banditry.
In Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. Government provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance in C.A.R. to support programs providing food and non-food items, health services, access to clean water, and more.
In addition, The UN Humanitarian Air Service, supported by USAID and the State Department, continues to provide access to affected populations that are otherwise inaccessible.
On September 25, the State Department announced an additional $6.2 million contribution to respond to the needs of new refugees in neighboring countries.