Although CAR has been unstable for most of its independence, this is the first time the country has experienced what appears to be sectarian violence along religious lines. CAR consists of 80% Christians who typically control the state, and 15% Muslims who control commercial trade. The conflict’s primary actors involve the “Séléka”, a Muslim-led coalition of rebel groups from the Northeast, and the “anti-balaka”, loosely associated militia groups formed in response to Séléka’s violence.
The crisis began when the Séléka marched from the northeast on the capital, Bangui, and took over the government. The anti-balaka launched an offensive and eventually pushed back the Séléka fighters towards the east of the country. The Séléka leader was removed from power in January 2014 under international pressure to make way for a transitional government.
During the fall 2013, the Central African Republic was plunged into a cycle of indiscriminate and retaliatory violence based on religion and ethnicity. Today, armed groups, including anti-balaka and ex-Séléka militias, continue to fight and target civilians. The crisis, now in its fourth year, has led to unprecedented violence, mass displacement and over 5,000 deaths.
Violence has continued sporadically. Though many were encouraged by the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2016, instability persists.
What’s the situation on the ground?
Of the 4.6 million Central Africans, 2.4 million are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance and 2 million face hunger. More than one million people are displaced, both internally and as refugees, in four neighbouring countries. Under-financed and faced with an enormous task, the government has a serious challenge ahead.
Which sectors need your help?
After extensive research and analysis from our network of experts, iguacu recommends Triangle Génération Humanitaire in the CAR. The humanitarian needs are growing nationwide. Between January and July 2017, the number of internally displaced people has risen from 402,240 to 600,000. 2 million Central African are food insecure and many die from easily preventable and treatable illnesses such as malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases.
Triangle Génération Humanitaire has been present in the Central African Republic since 2007 and implement a multi-sector approach to respond to the crisis. With short-term relief and long-term development programs combined, Triangle supports the agriculture sector, ensures access to safe-drinking water and restores schools.
Explore the Central African Republic
Slightly bigger than France, its former colonial power, and bursting with natural wealth, the Central African Republic (CAR) has the potential to thrive. CAR is replete with natural resources such as diamonds, gold, timber and uranium. Well managed, these resources could contribute to a prosperous future for CAR and its people. However, political instability, opportunistic resources’ exploitation, violence and poor governance have until now prevented the majority of Central Africans from benefitting from this natural abundance.
The current conflict, which began in December 2013, continues today, though some steps towards peace have been made. A peace accord was signed by all major warring parties and national elections were peacefully held in spring 2016. President Touadéra has taken office and has plans to reconcile the country. Despite such signs of hope, the security situation remains volatile and millions of Central Africans still face a severe humanitarian crisis and need your support.
Photo Credits (top to bottom): Craig Murphy, IOM, Pierre Holtz, UNICEF / CC BY-SA 2.0, Pierre Holtz, OCHA / CC BY 2.0, Nicolas Rost / CC BY-NC 2.0, S. Phelps, UNHCR, Map: The World Factbook.
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