SPECPOL STUDY GUIDE MA?ALLAHTopic B: Violence and impunity in Central African RepublicWhat happens in Central African Republic stays in Central African Republic. General OverviewHistorical BackgroundCurrent SituationPrevious Actions TakenPossible SolutionsBibliographyGeneral OverviewAmongst one of the top ten poorest countries in the world despite its rich uranium reserves, crude oil, gold and other resources such as cobalt, Central African Republic (CAR) has the lowest level of human development. The Central African Republic has had unstable political and military balances since it has gained independence from France in 1960. The country has been dragged into a devastating turmoil in 2013, however, with Muslim rebels under the umbrella of Seleka group seized power in the Central African Republic, which has a Christian majority. Mostly Christian militias, called anti-balaka, rose up to counter the Seleka. After almost a year of social and political unrest, the Seleka handed its power to a temporary government, but violence didn’t cease to exist.
Afterwards, country has been partitioned effectively, despite the existence of a UN Peacekeeping Force and a French mission there.In February 2016, a former prime minister and maths professor, Faustin-Archange Touadera, was elected president after a contentious election. He campaigned as a peacemaker and when casting their ballots, many voters expressed their wish for a peaceful environment. Another troubling aspect of the turmoil is the involvement of the United Nations Peacekeeping forces and the French mission, Sangaris.
Almost 100 girls in Central African Republic reported they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers and three told UN staff they were tied up, undressed, and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014. Similiar accusations has been made against the French Sangaris forces.The UN peacekeeping mission, Minusca, is widely seen as a failure. Dogged by reports of sexual exploitation and abuse, it is viewed by many in the Central African Republic as either ineffective or biased.
Visiting the country in October 2017, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, repeatedly said the troops had no agenda beyond restoring peace. Guterres also criticised those who “use political manipulation to divide communities of different religions”.At the core of the turmoil in the Central African Republic lies the battle of religions, but it’s not that simple. Numerous warlords fight for power and wealth, leaving innocent civilians no other option but to suffer as a result. A United Nations peacekeeping soldier provides security during a food aid delivery in Central African Republic in April, REUTERSIII. Current SituationSince the conflict began five years ago, half of the country’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance and more than a million people have been uprooted by fighting. The crisis in CAR has deepend over the last 12 months. Violence between armed groups, often competing for natural resources in a context of complete lawlessness, has overlapped with long-standing ethnic rivalries and distrust between the Christian majority and the Muslim minority.
The situation in the north-west – where fighting is underlined by ethnic rivalry between farmers and cattle herders – is also a growing concern. Thierry Vircoulon, who has conducted research for the NGO Mercy Corps, warns the government should urgently intervene in the region to prevent the escalation of violence ahead of the dry season, when herders move cattle from Cameroon to CAR.Despite 2016 elections, which were mostly peaceful and brought renewed optimism, the government has not done enough to unite the country or condemn violence driven by ethnic rivalry.
The humanitarian space has been shrinking rapidly over the past few months, with many areas of the Central African Republic now simply too dangerous to reach, leaving thousands without access to emergency assistance. Even in areas where aid workers can operate, resources are limited.The UN humanitarian appeal for the Central African Republic has received only about ? of the $497m required.
An appeal to assist people forced to flee their homes has been less than 10% funded.