The Central African Republic: A Humanitarian Crisis

Following the increased violence and destruction after the December 2020 elections, the United Nations Security Council authorised the deployment of a peacekeeping force to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Violence in the country wreaks havoc on civilians as thousands die, over a million are displaced and many children and adults are left with very limited access to water, sanitation, food, education, health care, and protection. Numerous schools and hospitals have been damaged as a result of the violence in the country. In 2013 alone, the country’s G.D.P decreased by 5.4% due to the conflict.

The conflict in the C.A.R. is largely the result of longstanding tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities in the country. These tensions were exacerbated in the 2013 coup d’état, which saw the Muslim Seleka rebels take control of the government. In response, Christian anti-Balaka militia formed and began attacking Muslim civiliansForeign parties, including Chad and Sudan, who support opposing sides of the war, have worsened the situation. 

The international world has responded slowly to the C.A.R. war. In December 2013, the United Nations Security Council denounced the violence and demanded the protection of civilians. The African Union authorised the deployment of the M.I.S.C.A. peacekeeping operation to the C.A.R. in February 2014. The United Nations has labeled this battle as a “humanitarian tragedy” and a “classic example of ethnic cleansing” and the E.U. issued a statement in March 2017 asking for an end to the bloodshed. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also expressed grave concern over the violence, with a spokeswoman declaring the humanitarian situation as highly concerning and worsening daily. The U.N.S.C authorised a peacekeeping mission deployment in the nation in 2014. The M.I.N.U.S.C.A. operation has been commended for its efforts to protect people and provide humanitarian aid, nonetheless, the mission has also been condemned for its inability to stop the bloodshed. The Security Council authorized an increase of troops in the C.A.R in 2016 and the expedition has also received assistance from the African Union and France. Yet, there seems to be little progress.

Peace is still possible. Mediation and diplomacy can be an effective means of resolving the crisis in the C.A.R., as these have been used to effectively handle other crises like the conflict in Sudan.This may be a challenging procedure since parties must be prepared to compromise in order to achieve an accord. However, if the parties are able to achieve an agreement, it can be an effective means of dispute resolution. The international community can potentially play a role in resolving the situation in the Central African Republic by lending financial and military support to warring parties. The international community might also exert pressure on the conflicting parties to find a settlement. For instance, the United Nations can impose penalties on conflicting parties.

Despite the obstacles, there is still hope that the problem may be resolved. In order to safeguard the civilian population and establish a durable peace, the international community must continue to strive toward a peaceful conclusion to the conflict.