Civilians must be protected against brutal attacks in the Central African Republic
"Central African Republic is currently balancing on a knife's edge. If we are to avoid the whole country from sliding back into civil war, there is an urgent need for better protection of the civilian population against attacks," said the regional director for the Norwegian Refugee Council Marianne Irion.
Tomorrow, 15 November, the UN Security Council meets to discuss a renewal of the mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. The UN Secretary-General has recommended a continuation of the mandate and an increase in the troop ceiling by an additional 900 military personnel.
"The UN peacekeeping mission should be strengthened to enable peacekeepers to better protect civilians against a surge in brutal attacks and abuse," said Irion. "Political leaders, armed groups and the international community all have to do their share to end the negative cycle of violence that is currently crippling several parts of the country," she added.
A surge in violence and brutal attacks on civilians in northern and eastern parts of the country during the last year has forced an increasing number of people to flee their homes. Currently, a record high 1.1 million people are displaced by the conflict.
So far this year, the capital Bangui has been little affected by the increased level of violence. But this weekend a concert was attacked with a grenade, killing at least four people and wounding about twenty other. Several people were killed in reprisal attacks that followed.
"The attack in Bangui is another reminder of how fragile the situation in the country is at the moment, and how urgent it is to avoid the violence from spreading," said Irion.
She also called for safe access for humanitarian organizations to provide support to people affected by the crisis. Some of newly displaced people are hiding in the bush, and insecurity has left many without any humanitarian support to cover their basic needs.
Zara Mamat fled Batangafo some months ago, after her husband was killed in the conflict:
"Five of my children are still in Batangafo. I am afraid of what may have happened to them. Everyone is fleeing Batangafo now. All I want is peace and to know that my children are safe," Mamat told the Norwegian Refugee Council.
600,000 people are displaced within the Central African Republic and 520,000 people are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.
More than 2.4 million people are need humanitarian assistance, close to half the country´s population.
Central African Republic ranks as number 188 out of 188 countries at the UN's human development index.
The country also tops NRC's list of neglected displacement crises: https://www.nrc.no/the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises/ · So far, the aid organizations have received only 37 per cent of the funding needed to respond to people's most basic needs this year.
Sources: NRC, UNOCHA
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