Resurgence of violence in CAR causes new displacements

A wave of violence on a scale not seen since the establishment of the Transitional Government in January 2014, has hit Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), leaving the population without access to necessary assistance and protection. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) calls for access to provide emergency assistance and protection to the affected communities.

On 26 September 2015, a spiral of sectarian violence and human rights violations has hit the population in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic. In just two days, dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds injured in addition to countless cases of violence and exploitation, looting of property, and the desecration of religious buildings. Fighting in Bangui has also caused a massive displacement of people. Prior to the end of September 2015, some 27,000 people resided in IDP sites in Bangui; due to these events the number of IDPs has increased to around 70,000 (OCHA, 2 October 2015).

“The process of return and working on durable solutions was well advanced before this recent crisis. This positive process has been halted and the current number of displaced has gone far beyond those of January 2015. The city has been paralyzed, and although a relative calm seems to have ruled for the past three days, there is a general feeling of fear and mistrust which are perceived by the communities in the city; the collected evidence point to a deep sense of emotional distress and despair for the future by the population,” says Davide Stefanini, Program Director for DRC in CAR.

Looting and violence that occurred between Saturday and Monday, September 26-28, targeted more than a dozen of international and national NGOs, consequently further hampering the humanitarian response capacity in town. None of DRC's premises have been looted.

“The population in CAR fears the ongoing movements of armed groups and at the same time, INGO activities are slowed down or suspended. Currently, the most serious problem is the restricted of access to the population and very limited humanitarian space in the areas most affected by violence and displacement of people. The school year scheduled for late September has again been shifted as security is not guaranteed, preventing families from sending their children to school. DRC continues to monitor the displacement provided protection assistance and medical referrals - via national partners in some districts - including cases of gender-based violence and other abuse referred, though our response capacity and protection by presence in all the high at risk districts of Bangui has been also affected,” says Davide Stefanini.

Despite the events and looting, DRC is ready to resume field operations to meet the many humanitarian and protection needs of communities.

“DRC is involved in humanitarian coordination which is preparing to make an immediate response to the multiple needs of the communities. DRC expresses its solidarity with all communities who lived through those terrible moments and invites all stakeholders to put the protection of civilians at the centre of their interest and efforts and to respect the neutrality of humanitarians allowing them to deliver humanitarian assistance,” says Davide Stefanini.

This current events have greatly increased humanitarian needs among the already vulnerable Central African population and further exacerbated structural needs such as youth unemployment, dearth of socio-economic infrastructure, and limited access to basic services in a country that remain among the poorest and forgotten in the world.

Thus, a call is made to the Transitional Government, all the national and international partners, and all duty bearers to:

  • Ensure better security in Bangui and especially strengthen prevention and response capabilities of the humanitarian community;
  • Ensure that all the communities have access to basic services, (free and safe access to health facilities, including schools and counseling centres) and ensure that national and international NGOs have free and safe access to affected communities in order to provide adequate assistance and protection;
  • To mobilize more resources to reconstitute the response capacities of national and international NGOs, and meet the changing needs of the newly affected communities;
  • Maintain, increase, and adapting early recovery interventions that can contribute to sustainable solutions and building community resilience.