water news: get to know C.A.R.

We’re in Central African Republic for this year’s September campaign. Don’t know much about C.A.R.? You’re not alone. Here’s a list of resources that may help you get an idea of what the country has been through and where it is now:

irc

from the IRC:
One of the Poorest Countries on Earth
(an eight-minute podcast)

BBC

from the BBC:
conflict history and country stats

hrw

from Human Rights Watch:
update from 2008 and history

unicef

from UNICEF:
background and health stats

car africa basic

Central African Republic at a glance.

4.3 million — population
1.5 million (34% of population) — lack access to safe water
48 years — life expectancy
69% of population -– lacks sanitary latrines
64% of population — lives on less than $1 day

CAR HRW report

The sorry fact is that the perpetrators of violence and abuse, the majority of them government soldiers, have so far enjoyed total impunity for acts that include war crimes.

– Human Rights Watch report

C.A.R. in a ‘State of Anarchy’

It’s widely believed that conflicts in C.A.R. are mostly the cause of spillover conflicts from neighboring nations. But Human Rights Watch widens the scope of explanation with this report, saying the link between conflicts in C.A.R. and those in Darfur have been exaggerated. Although rebel groups from the Sudan have definitely affected the people of C.A.R., HRW says foreign influence is not the only driving force behind rebellion in C.A.R. — much of the conflict in the north is homegrown.

Human Rights Watch calls on the government to hold its officials accountable for war crimes and allow the International Criminal Court to investigate human rights crimes across the country.

(This report is 108 pages long; we recommend just reading the executive summary, which gives the essentials.)

Mercy Corps: women in C.A.R.

The results of a two-year study on women in C.A.R.:

Most recently: attacks in Birao, elections postponed.

Several rebel groups signed or agreed to a ceasefire in 2008, which was a major victory at the time. But since then, few rebel groups have actually been integrated into political life, and this has crippled the peace process.

Conflicts between discontented groups continue, mostly in the north. Last week, 13 were killed in an attack in the northern town of Birao, which is a base for about 300 UN peacekeepers overseeing refugee safety and aid distribution. Sources say the national army has since secured the area, forcing out the opposition, but flair-ups may persist in the northern region.

2010 was supposed to be a transitional period for C.A.R., marked by transparent, democratic elections. But President Bozize canceled the elections originally scheduled for April 18 and only last month they were rescheduled for for October 24.

We’ve been working in C.A.R. for three years.

More than a third of the nation lacks clean water. Almost half the children living here under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition — and as you might know, half of all malnutrition in the world is attributed to lack of clean water and sanitation.

We started working in C.A.R. in 2007 with local partner Integrated Community Development International (ICDI). Since then, we’ve funded 199 water projects to serve 216,489 people with clean and safe drinking water. But we’re just getting started.

This September — charity: water’s fourth birthday — we’re focusing on a little-known group of people called the Byaka. There are about 16,000 Bayaka in southern C.A.R. living without clean and safe drinking water. We plan to help every one of them, and 50,000 more people in the country. Stay tuned for details.

Do you have any news or reports to add on C.A.R.? Anything you think our online community should know about? Leave a comment, let us know.

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