Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Central African Republic: Better Late Than Never

Source: International Crisis Group

As the Central African Republic (CAR) stares into an abyss of potentially appalling proportions, the international community must focus on the quickest, most decisive means of restoring security to its population.

In its latest briefing, Central African Republic: Better Late Than Never, the International Crisis Group looks at the derailing of the transition that started after the March 2013 coup. Within nine months, the already weak state has collapsed, triggering a serious humanitarian crisis, with 400,000 displaced and nearly half the population in need of assistance. After months of “wait-and-see”, the international community has finally realised it cannot afford another failed state in Africa, with its attendant risk of regional spillover.

However, the situation on the ground is deteriorating at a much faster pace than the international response is mobilising.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
  • To avoid the disintegration of CAR, the international community needs to step in with immediate security measures. The Security Council should authorise under Chapter VII the African Union and French forces to restore law and order in Bangui and other troubled areas.
  • Tensions between Muslims and Christians have culminated in several killings. The UN and donor countries should immediately implement stabilisation measures such as inter-religious dialogue and urgent reconstruction projects in areas affected by fighting and looting, as well as a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program (DDR).
  • The UN, transitional authorities and donors should establish a team to investigate the plundering of natural resources and support the mixed commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations.
  • CAR’s long-term stability requires establishing effective, inclusive systems of governance countrywide: a long-term process requiring the patient, consistent support of the international community and, above all, the restoration of law and order.
“Many have evoked a risk of genocide in CAR, but what is certain today is that a non-religious conflict is turning into a confessional one’s future”, says Thibaud Lesueur, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Analyst. “CAR is now ungovernable and the transitional authorities, religious leaders and civil society organisations are calling for help”.

“The crisis in CAR was a real test for the architecture of peace and security in the region”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. “It is time that those who call for an African solution in CAR recognise that this crisis is a threat to regional peace and security that cannot be left to Africa alone to resolve”.