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.
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

Ferguson Grand Jury Expected to Reconvene

It remains unclear whether jurors will reach a decision by midweek Thanksgiving holiday on whether to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid