News / Africa

Rights Groups Call for UN Peacekeeping Mission in CAR

An African Union peacekeeper stands on a chair as a small child sits of the floor at an Islamic center where Peul refugees have sought protection in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 18, 2013.
An African Union peacekeeper stands on a chair as a small child sits of the floor at an Islamic center where Peul refugees have sought protection in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 18, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
— Two leading rights groups are calling on the United Nations to send a peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, to help stop the spiralling sectarian violence.   Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International document horrific rights abuses in the impoverished African nation.

The reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch follow field visits by both rights groups to the Central African Republic, to document some of the sectarian violence first hand. Their findings are brutal and graphic. Amnesty's report focuses on the capital, Bangui. It describes, for example, how Christian anti-balaka militias went door-to-door, killing about 60 Muslim men.

Over the past two week alone, the United Nations estimates that fighting in CAR has killed roughly 600 people and uprooted 210,000 others.  Christian militia groups are staging bloody reprisals against Muslims - after many were themselves terrorized by members of the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition that staged a coup in March.

HRW's report focuses on CAR's northwestern Ouham province, and again describes bloody attacks between Christians and Muslims.

HRW's Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert authored the report and has visited CAR twice in recent weeks:  

"We documented many cases in which both Christians and Muslims were targeted because of their religion and their attackers made statements like, 'we will kill all the Muslims in the country.'  We've documented where children as young as three years old had their throats cut by the attackers. So we're talking about extreme violence and communal violence. And once that communal violence sets in, it's very difficult to stop," said Bouckaert.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty are calling on the United Nations to send in a peacekeeping force to CAR to protect civilians. Bouckaert says that while French and African forces in CAR are making a difference in trying to halt the violence, it is not enough.

"We believe that's important that a United Nations peacekeeping mission is deployed in the Central African Republic because that would also bring the monitoring capacity which is needed to monitor the abuses which are taking place. And also the political dimension; in terms of trying to find a political solution out of this bloodshed and to establish a government which actually has some credibility in the country," he said.

France is expected to ask for more European support for its mission in CAR during a European Union summit Thursday and Friday. Bouckaert agrees that French and African forces need more boots on the ground.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid