Central African Republic
Political instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) dates back to French colonization, but has been increasingly unstable since 1960 when it gained independence from France. The current crisis started in December 2012 and involves the Muslim majority (Seleka) which organized to oust General Bozize.
On March 24, 2013, the Seleka led by Michel Djotodia, took control of CAR’s government. Djotodia declared himself president. However on January 10, 2014, after intense international pressure Djotodia resigned from the Presidency. In the aftermath the Chrisitan majority (anti-balaka) militai groups began to carry-out violent attacks against the Muslim communities throughout the country killing thousands and driving the rest away.
There has been massive displacement of people, both within the country and to neighboring countries such as Chad, Sudan and Cameroon. In 2012, the UNHCR estimated 130,000 CAR refugees have sought refuge in neighboring countries and an estimated 176,000 internally displaced persons remain in the CAR. On September 6, 2013 the UN was alerted to the massive number of internally displaced persons along with the human rights violations in the CAR. Among the reports were accounts of looting, torture and abandoned and burned villages (UN report).
Lord's Resistance Army
The Central African Republic has also become a refuge for the militant group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by mass murdered Joseph Kony of Uganda to escape arrest by African Union patrols. The LRA has committed numerous human rights violations including abducting children for use as child soldiers and sex slaves.
Potential for Genocide
The humanitarian crisis in CAR has reached historic proportions. Human rights violations are committed on a daily basis including documented cases of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, sectarian killings and war crimes. Muslim civilians have been the victims of violent attacks committed by anti-balaka Christian militia groups. There is a shortage of adequate water, food and shelter.
Featured Images: Courtesy of UNHCR