Against a backdrop of persistent political instability, low socio-economic standards and weak governance, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced increasing levels of violence since the initial attacks against the former government in December 2012 until its overthrow by the Seleka coalition in March 2013. Since August 2013, violence against civilians and ethnic minorities has soared in the northern and western regions, causing fear, mistrust and hatred between communities, generating a dangerous spiral of violence marked by gruesome attacks and retaliation.
On 5 December 2013, violence escalated even further when “anti-balaka” militia attacked Bangui and Bossangoa. The sectarian fighting that ensued between this Christian milita group and fighters of the former Seleka rebel movement (mainly Muslims) – and the atrocities that continue to be perpetrated by armed actors – has resulted in gross human rights violations, countless deaths and thousands of displacements. Within the last two weeks, more than 1,000 people have been killed and some 215,000 people have been displace internally, with many taking up residence in more than 50 makeshift sites in Bangui or with host families. In total, about 639,000 people are internally displaced, or 14% of the population. With inter-communal violence rife and evidence of ethnic cleansing in some areas, the country is at increased risk of spiraling into chaos.
Nearly everyone is affected. Violence and fear grip the country, resulting in the collapse of the state administration and public infrastructure and a breakdown in basic social services. The protection and security dimensions of the crisis are key concerns. Armed groups have reportedly committed indiscriminate attacks against civilians, sexual and gender based violence, recruitment of children, summary executions, forced disappearances and torture. The African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), which was created by the United Nations (UN) Security Council on 5 December, has a mandate to protect civilians and restore security. It is supported temporarily by the French military, and has focused on confiscating weapons and patrolling insecure areas in an effort to curb violence.
Large-scale displacement, destruction of property and loss of livelihoods have exacerbated vulnerabilities of an already fragile population, and the population movements have resulted in increased incidence of disease. There is little national capacity to assist those affected. The response of the UN and its non-government organization (NGO) partners has been limited due in part to security and access concerns as well as a lack of resources. While conditions remain difficult, humanitarian work is possible. The UN and NGOs are currently scaling-up their humanitarian presence to be able to adequately respond to the scale and severity of this crisis.
Parameters of this plan
A robust response is required to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. This 100 day plan serves two purposes: (i) it reconfirms the direction of the response (aligned with the 2014 strategic response plan for CAR) and (ii) it presents the operational capacity priorities. This plan requests US $152.2 million to immediately and rapidly scale-up operations and to increase the provision of protection and life-saving assistance to people in need of urgent care over the next 100 days. Although the strategic response plan requested $ 247 million, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has determined that the response requirements will be significantly greater due to the escalation of violence. This increase will be reflected in a revision of the strategic response plan in January 2014, following the results from the Multi-sector/cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA), currently underway.
The publication of this plan follows the IASC Principals declaration of a Level 3 emergency for CAR on 11 December 2013.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.