Overview of the CAR Crisis
Over the past year, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced a major political and protection crisis that has affected nearly its entire population. Since the overthrow of the Government by the Seleka rebel movement in March 2013, the northern and western regions of the country have seen intense and unprecedented violence against civilians and minorities. In December 2013, the violence in and around Bangui escalated when the anti-balaka militia attacked the capita and fighting ensused between then and the ex-Seleka.
The security situation in CAR continues to deteriorate. With increasingly radical anti-balaka and ex-Seleka rhetoric and violence, as well as renewed spikes in violence along the northern border, tensions are on the rise. There is a real risk the country could be partitioned into two or more areas, controlled by various factions of armed groups.
Growing threats directed at Muslims in west and central parts of the country have led the majority to leave these areas. Compounded by what appears to be an instrumentalization and manipulation of communities by political and commercial leaders, there has been a marked shift from what was seen as opposition between anti-balaka and ex-Seleka at the beginning of the year to serious hostility between self-proclaimed representatives of Christian and Muslim communities. Towns that used to have people of diverse religions have been emptied of their Muslim communities.
The severity of the situation is shocking. Gross human rights violations have been – and continue to be – committed on a daily basis, including killing and maiming, abductions, rape, and recruitment of children as soldiers.
Community tensions and sectarian violence are on the rise. Around 20,000 people from minority communities remain trapped in 16 different locations in CAR due to the risk of attack. They are unable to move freely beyond confined neighbourhoods, are unable to maintain jobs, and have limited access to schools, healthcare, etc.
More than a million people – about a quarter of CAR's population - have fled their homes for safety. As of 2 June 2014, 557,000 people remained displaced inside CAR. A quarter of these people are living in Bangui. Since December 2013, some 250,000 14 countries in West and Central Africa. The highest the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo (Congo), in that order. Thousands of people continue to escape CAR every week. Many are still hiding in the bush in fear for their lives, surviving on leaves and roots.
Those who have fled are often traumatized, malnourished and dehydrated. Many have walked for weeks and taken refuge in the bush along the way to hide from armed groups. Some have been exposed women and children, as the men in the families often remain in CAR to protect family assets. Many people themselves stranded in unfamiliar surroundings with no social or economic support, and are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance.
Many families sheltering those who have fled the violence are also struggling to cope with the added strain of hosting displaced people in their homes. for neighbouring countries and has strained already limited resources in host countries and communities. Host communities along the border with CAR have been exposed to increased insecurity and in some situations have also been temporarily displaced due to incursions and looting by armed groups from CAR, as has been the case in some border villages in Cameroon.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.