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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid