News / Africa

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Fears Genocide in CAR

US actress and Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Mia Farrow (C, L) takes part in a mass at the Bossangoa cathedral, Nov. 10, 2013.
US actress and Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Mia Farrow (C, L) takes part in a mass at the Bossangoa cathedral, Nov. 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow warns the Central African Republic is on the verge of genocide because of growing ethnic and religious tensions between Muslims and Christians.  The actress and human rights activist is calling for urgent international intervention to protect the civilian population and stave off a potential blood bath.

Farrow calls the Central African Republic a failed state.  She said the government is absolutely useless and unable to stem the violence, which is out-of-control.  

Farrow has just returned from a weeklong trip to the CAR, her third visit to this conflict-torn country since 2007.   What she finds most alarming, she said is the growing hostility between Muslims and Christians.  She says these communities, which previously had lived harmoniously, are now separated.

She said they have formed two armed groups, which are attacking each other’s civilian populations along religious and ethnic lines. “There are the seeds, the seeds are present for a genocide.  You have the ethnic components.  You have the armed groups.  You have ongoing atrocities of the worst kind and you have a very, very imperiled civilian population,” she stated. 

Farrow says her assessment of this frightening possibility echoes that of other U.N. officials, notably U.N. humanitarian chief John Ging.

She is calling for a high-level diplomatic intervention to protect the civilian population and aid agencies in the CAR.   She said the U.N. needs a larger force and stronger mandate to try to bring some stability to the country.

UNICEF reports that one-half of the CAR’s 4.6 million people are under the age of 18.  It says some 400,000 people have fled their homes since December of last year, when the Seleka rebels began their rebellion against President Francois Bozize, who they ousted in March.

It says people have fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.  It said families are too afraid to return to their fields and are unable to produce food to feed themselves.  It says seven out of 10 children are still out of school.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Farrow said the worsening situation in the country is taking a particularly heavy toll on women and children.  She said it is past time for the world to pay attention to the dire needs of people in that country. “It has been referred to as a forgotten crisis.  But, I think that is a misnomer because that implies that it was once remembered.  I think it is more appropriate to refer to Central African Republic as an abandoned population because the world has really looked away,” she stated. 

Farrow said she understands the difficulty of getting people to pay attention to the CAR while they are fixated on the horrific events unfolding in the Philippines and Syria.  

And, yet, she said she believes the world has the means and the compassion to come to the aid of the children in the Central African Republic who, after all, are of equal value to children in other countries of crises.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

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

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
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 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 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 Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
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