- Elections scheduled for August 2015
- World Vision working with faith leaders to bring understanding
BANGUI, Central African Republic (March 3rd 2015) – The Central African Republic (CAR) needs urgent and concerted efforts to avoid a repeat of the deadly clashes that peaked in March last year and left many people, including children, dead, displaced or homeless. World Vision is calling for urgent action in reconciliation efforts and peacebuilding to stop the spread of violence.
“This is a key moment if there is any hope of stopping the cycle of violence. If left unattended, the election planned for later this year and the campaigns leading up to it could inflame the already tense situation between religions and ethnicities, rendering children even more vulnerable,” said Paul Sitnam, World Vision’s CAR Response Manager. “The stakes are high for the entire region. An unstable CAR could open doors for opportunistic, violent, extremist organisations to seek safe-haven or gain influence.”
“This is a key moment if there is any hope of stopping the cycle of violence."
The Central African Republic exploded in inter-communal violence which, in March 2013, divided the country along ethno-religious lines mostly between Muslims and Christians, with the brutality peaking a year later. So far thousands have been killed and nearly a half million have been displaced inside the country. Almost 1.3 million children have been affected by the conflict.
Global military efforts, life-saving humanitarian work, and international and national political exertions have helped restore relative calm and hope. The intermittent lulls in conflict need to be used to bolster efforts for reconciliation and peacebuilding.
World Vision is working with inter-faith leaders, who continue to be pragmatic yet optimistic about building understanding between faiths and ethnicities. World Vision has worked to weave social cohesion in to its child protection and food distribution programmes. For example, a Child Friendly Space at a camp for displaced people is open to children from host communities as well as those who have been forced to leave their homes. Children play and learn together as messages of peace get shared.
Children play and learn together as messages of peace get shared.
Al Hajj Ousman Leidou, leader of the minority Peuhl (Fulani) community, currently staying in Yaloke, (some 200 kms north-west of Bangui) believes peace is possible:
“After one of the leaders of the warring forces called a meeting in Yaloke and told community members to live in harmony, we are now able to walk out of the enclave to the hospital, to the market and to the water point. With more effort we can live in harmony.”
“Many children are suffering so much pain, including psychologically, and this is unacceptable,” Sitnam said. “Images of children and their parents living in uncertainty and enclaved in camps are vivid in my mind, and I hate to imagine what would happen if they have to go through similar clashes again.”
Notes to Editor:
World Vision has worked in CAR since March 2014. The organisation’s projects are concentrated in two areas, Ombella M’poko and Nana Mambere, and include Water and Sanitation (WASH), IDP Camp Coordination, Child Protection, Food Distribution, Nutrition, Distribution of survival kits, Peace-Building and Social Cohesion.
- 2.7 million people of a population of 4.6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance
- 443, 000 are internally displaced
- 424,000 people are now refugees in neighbouring countries.
- 1.3 million children affected by the crisis
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