Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Mr. Aurélien A. Agbénonci, 12 december 2015 [EN/SG]

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 12 Dec 2015

(Bangui, 12 December 2015): The Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic, Mr. Aurélien A. Agbénonci strongly condemns recurrent direct attacks on humanitarian organizations and reiterates his call for the protection of civilians during the electoral period.

“I was very disappointed to learn about the recent direct attack by armed groups on three humanitarian organizations on 9 December in Bossangoa, Ouham province; the unlawful detaining of over twenty humanitarian workers during the attack and theft of supplies including personal belongings. Consequently, one of the affected organizations has temporarily suspended its activities in the Bossangoa and Bouar regions where many armed groups are present.

Similarly, on the same day, three humanitarian workers were attacked by an armed group in Bangui’s PK9 neighborhood; leading to the theft of their belongings.

Humanitarian workers are here to provide life-saving assistance and to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the crisis. That is our fundamental objective in this country and our operations are guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality. I therefore urge all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians to respect and protect humanitarian workers in compliance with International Humanitarian Law.

Since the beginning of 2015, more than 200 attacks have been perpetrated against humanitarian organizations. These attacks must stop. The humanitarian community requires unhindered humanitarian access to reach the people in need of immediate help.

I also call on all arms carriers and their leaders to respect humanitarian workers who act purely based on needs, irrespective of any ethnic, political or religious backgrounds.

Moreover, during the current electoral process, I urge political leaders to avoid any action or statements that could endanger the lives of innocent people and compromise the protection of civilians. These elections must not aggravate the dire conditions of those already affected. I appeal to all parties concerned to ensure freedom of movement during the upcoming referendum. All eligible Central Africans have the right to vote freely and peacefully”.

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