THE security situation in troubled Central African Republic is already bad enough, but it is likely to get worse. The CAR is on the brink and without a safety net.
Amnesty International says – in a report detailing terrible cruelty – that civilians are the direct targets of a wave of violence by sectarian militia, forcing those that can to flee. More than 1.1 million people have been displaced, the “highest level ever”, notes UNHCR. The violence has been particularly acute in the centre, northwest, east, and southeast.
The insecurity is blocking humanitarian access to those in need, with Médecins Sans Frontières announcing last week that it had been forced to pull out of the town of Zemio as a result of recent attacks. Behind the violence is the largely Muslim UPC and rival primarily Christian anti-balaka and assorted armed “self-defence” groups.
Their victims are civilians on either side of the religious divide. Amnesty is scathing (as are most people in the country) over the ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeeping force. “MINUSCA has failed to prevent these abuses,” the rights group says. “Amnesty International is calling for a review of MINUSCA’s capacity to carry out its mandate, covering factors such as training, equipment, coordination and the number of uniformed and civilian personnel.”
To compound matters, MINUSCA which was part of a sex abuse scandal in 2014, now faces fresh allegations over the mishandling of additional cases.
The US-based Code Blue Campaign says it has received 14 internal UN reports that demonstrate how investigations were a botched and “manifestly sham process”. According to the accountability NGO, the leaked files reveal the hidden scope of sex abuse by UN peacekeepers.
The new report by the NGO Redress, ahead of a high-level-meeting on Monday at UN headquarters, says the world body must do much more to enable victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers to “access reparation, support and assistance”. Something’s got to give.