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:
from the IRC:
One of the Poorest Countries on Earth
(an eight-minute podcast)
from the BBC:
conflict history and country stats
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
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.
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.