© Amnesty International
There is a real danger of further escalation of what is already a human disaster. The peacekeeping forces have had an effect where they are deployed, but there are large swathes of the North West where there is a notable absence. Here towns have been attacked and there is a real risk of further atrocities.
Central African Republic: AU must deploy remaining peacekeepers to protect civilians from imminent attack
(Brussels, 29 January 2014) The African Union (AU) Heads of State meeting, to be held today and tomorrow in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, must address the growing crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). The AU must ensure they complete the full and rapid deployment of peacekeepers to protect civilians in rural areas at risk of imminent attack. The EU, through increased financing and political backing, must continue to support this effort.
Over the last week Amnesty International has gathered first-hand information of large scale slaughter of both Christian and Muslim civilians in the North-West CAR. The presence of international peacekeepers in these areas is essential to help prevent further atrocities, particularly as rival militias converge on this region.
“There is a real danger of further escalation of what is already a human disaster. The peacekeeping forces have had an effect where they are deployed, but there are large swathes of the North West where there is a notable absence. Here towns have been attacked and there is a real risk of further atrocities.” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser who is currently in the region.
Armed clashes between anti-balaka militias and remnants of the ex-Seleka forces and their supporters over the last week have resulted in unlawful killings and injuries to civilians, as well as the burning of thousands of homes. Amnesty International has two senior crisis advisers reporting from the areas around Baoro, Bossemptele and Bozoum.
“We fear civilians in the Central African Republic are paying a heavy price for delays by the AU. The meeting of the Heads of States today should be used to ensure that the remaining troops are deployed rapidly and effectively so that they fulfil their mandate to protect civilians.” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International.
Peacekeepers were sent to the CAR with a clear mandate: to protect civilian lives. The EU and its member states must continue to act to catalyse and ensure a sustained international effort for the protection of civilians in CAR, even as global peacekeeping capacities are currently challenged by multiple crises.
To arrange interviews with Amnesty International spokespeople in the Central African Republic, please contact:
In Bangui: Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Adviser, +23672026384, +447904397927
In Bangui: Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Adviser, +236 720 381 20, +447904398067
In Addis Ababa: Netsanet Belay + 251 91 3447 341
In London: Michael Simkin Press Officer, + 4420 7413 5871, [email protected]
For any EU-related issues, please contact Maeve Patterson, +32 2 5482773, [email protected]
High resolution images from Amnesty International’s recent mission to the Central African Republic are available to download here.
Audio: Donatella Rovera reports from the Central African Republic on the extreme dangers faced by the Muslim minority: