New approach to peace needed in the Central African Republic

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Armed groups control most of CAR and show no respect for the rule of law or the peace agreement.

Sixty years after gaining independence, the Central African Republic is still struggling to consolidate as a state. Despite many attempts to stabilise it, the country remains trapped in the vicious cycle of violence that began in late 2012. Violent rejection of the December 2020 election results threatens the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation. A new approach is needed to break the cycle of violence and instability.

Key findings

  • Although some progress has been made towards peace since 2013, the security situation in the CAR remains precarious, as evidenced by recent attacks by armed groups.

  • Key provisions of the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation have not been implemented and the agreement is not tenable under current circumstances.

  • The many violations by armed groups since the signing of the agreement are evidence of their lack of commitment to its provisions, and don’t bode well for a return to peace and stability.

  • Armed groups still control the vast majority of the territory, collecting taxes in areas under their control. The balance of military power has largely been in favour of these groups, which have shown no respect for the rule of law.

  • Instability is also fuelled by regional and international factors. While the presence of international peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and NGOs has helped, it has also had adverse effects and caused some resentment among the locals. UN presence has, at times, drawn the ire of certain sections of the population who feel it has lasted too long and has not improved the situation fundamentally.

  • A new approach is needed if the CAR is to attain peace and stability, while rebuilding an autonomous state and society, as well as a sound economy.

About the author

Mohamed M Diatta, who holds a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po Paris, is a Researcher in the ISS’s Africa Peace and Security Governance Programme. Before joining ISS he taught Political Science and International Relations at Sciences Po Paris. His research areas include governance, democracy, peace and security, state building and African regional organisations.