Forced Displacement in CAR at Highest Level since 2013

Newly arrived Central African refugees in Chad Newly arrived Central African refugees in Chad UNHCR

8 February 2018
As violence surges and international peacekeeping efforts stall, millions are forced to flee and even more face food insecurity.

CAR, the Central African Republic, has been overwhelmed by violence since 2012 as various armed factions battle for control of the country, falling along religious and sectarian lines.

Over 600,000 people have been internally displaced since the fighting began, and over 500,000 refugees are now seeking refuge in neighboring countries. In the first weeks of 2018 over 17,000 Central Africans fled from newly intensified violence in the northwest of the country to Chad. This number is over ten times that of the entirety of 2017.

On 30 January 2018 the United Nations unanimously passed a French-led resolution extending current sanctions, including an arms embargo, travel bans. Many rebel groups are funded through illegal taxes that they levy, mostly on producers of coffee which is a major export of CAR and source of international currency. The major buyers are France and Belgium.

The UN peacekeeping mission currently has over 10,000 soldiers and 2,000 police deployed in CAR, but has been struggling to establish security. Between 2013 and 2016 France had deployed 2,000 troops to stop violence in the country, it’s seventh military intervention in CAR since relinquishing colonial rule in 1960.

Among these developments, Armel Sayo, president of the militant Revolution and Justice rebel group, made a call on 5 February to all rebel factions to put down their arms and engage with the UN led national program Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration. Sayo also formally acknowledge that “the national defense and security forces as well as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSCA) are the only legitimate forces responsible for the protection and safety of civilians in CAR.” This was met with optimism by Vladimir Monteiro, a MINUSCA spokesperson, who hopes that other armed factions will follow suit.

UNHCR warns that if refugees cannot return to their homes in the coming months, it will affect the planting season dramatically and could create food shortages later in the year, affecting “some 2.5 million people”.


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