Video: Central African Republic (CAR): The Forgotten Crisis. Bordering some of the most dangerous places on earth, the CAR is a country in turmoil, ravaged by years of raging conflict and crushing poverty. 2009. UNTV
In the course of 2008 and 2009, renewed clashes between government troops and rebel groups in the Central African Republic have forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, perpetuating what the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has called one of Africa’s “neglected emergencies.” Faltering steps towards peace, an upsurge in violence, a foundering economy and a deterioration in the security situation have dampened hopes for an end to a humanitarian crisis that has plagued the country for more than a decade.
More than 300,000 people have been uprooted by violence in the Central African Republic during the last ten years. Fighting between rebels and government forces, complicated by ethnic divisions and disputes over cattle, has pushed growing numbers of refugees into Chad and other neighbouring countries.
Over the last two years, tentative steps have been taken to resolve the internal armed conflict that broke out in the CAR in 2005; the signing of peace accords between government and rebel groups in 2007 and 2008 and the holding of an ‘inclusive political dialogue’ in December 2008 between the government, rebel groups, the political opposition and civil society. Government troops have been fighting armed rebel groups since 2003, when President Francois Bozize came to power.
The optimism generated was short-lived however. By January 2009, fighting had resumed across the north, forcing nearly 24,000 people to once again flee their homes and villages. Many of the displaced were women and children who sought refuge in makeshift shelters in the bush, where they had no access to clean drinking water or health facilities. Others, caught between a rock and a hard place have fled to Chad and other neighbouring countries.
New rebel groups have emerged amidst increasing ethnic tensions, and the peace process has stalled, with rebels accusing the government of failing to implement the peace accords. Deteriorating security conditions are hampering access to displaced communities, posing an ongoing challenge to humanitarian relief efforts.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
Fatoumatta Mboge-Jallow, Desk Officer for Central African Republic
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
Charlemagne Kekou Akan, Media Officer, CAR
World Food Programme (WFP):
USEFUL WEB LINKS:
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
World Food Programme (WFP)
UN News Centre