News / Africa

Rights Groups Call for UN Peacekeeping Mission in CAR

Two Million in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in CARi
X
December 19, 2013 6:58 AM
The United Nations says an estimated two million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic ((CAR)), where political instability led to deadly clashes that forced thousands of people to flee from their homes.
Two Million in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in CAR
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 spiraling sectarian violence. 
 
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 weeks alone, the United Nations estimates that fighting in C.A.R. 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, which staged a coup in March.
 
HRW's report focuses on the C.A.R.'s northwestern Ouham province, and again describes bloody attacks between Christians and Muslims.

  • Michel Djotodia, Central African Republic's president, walks back to the Chadian armored vehicle he arrived in following his meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 19, 2013.
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power answers questions at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 19, 2013. 
  • Internally displaced children escaping the violence pose at Saint Paul's Church, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 17, 2013. 
  • French soldiers carry their weapons as they patrol Boy-Rabe, a northern district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 17, 2013.
  • A severely malnourished child lays by his mother at a pediatric center in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 17, 2013.
  • Internally displaced people escaping violence take shelter at Saint Paul's Church, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 17, 2013.
  • Internally displaced people escaping violence take shelter at Saint Paul's Church, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 17, 2013. 
  • A uniformed FOMAC peacekeeper chats with local boys while another one dressed in full riot gear sits in the tense combatant neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 16, 2013.
  • People line up in front of a bank in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 16, 2013.
  • A FOMAC peacekeeper dressed in full riot gear sits in the tense combatant neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 16, 2013.

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 groups are calling on the United Nations to send in a peacekeeping force to protect civilians. Bouckaert said that while French and African forces in the C.A.R. 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," said Bouckaert.
 
France is expected to ask for more European support for its mission in the C.A.R. during a European Union summit Thursday and Friday. Bouckaert agrees that French and African forces need more boots on the ground.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More