Atrocity Alert in the Central African Republic

An alert made by ReliefWeb reported that the Central African Republic (CAR) is at risk of mass atrocity crimes. This year, over 180,000 people have been displaced due to the continued conflict in the region.

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Stephen O’Brien, warned that the Republic is showing the very early warning signs of genocide after it became apparent that ethnic cleansing had become the objective of various armed groups.

Since May, approximately 2,000 Muslims in the Bangassou region have been sheltering in a Catholic church; as members of an anti-balaka militia have been threatening to kill them. Almost 60 fatalities have occurred as a result of  violent clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-balaka factions.

The UN peacekeeping mission in CAR (MINUSCA) has become a target in response to these attacks and, as a result, the aid upon which close to half the population depends has been suspended. On 3rd August, six Red Cross volunteers were killed in the Gambo region.

The alert by ReliefWeb recommends the UN Security Council authorise additional troops for MINUSCA immediately, with a main focus on protecting vulnerable civilians.

Phoebe Egoroff

Founder and of Jurist International, a website focusing on the latest developments in international human rights and criminal law.