“The Worst Crisis You’ve Never Heard Of”

What is happening in the Central African Republic is something that no one really seems to understand, or even know about. The Central Africa Republic (CAR) was a French colony that was granted its autonomy in 1960, however since its’ liberation, it has not developed at all. There has yet to be a peaceful decade in CAR since its independence, as it is plagued by interimagesnal violence and violence that spills over from neighboring states. The conflicts that are present in Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all have an effect on CAR. As of 2013, the crisis has been steadily escalating with no real signs of stopping. There are two main rebel groups, the Séléka and the Anti-Balaka. The Séléka have a Muslim connection while the Anti-Balaka, with Christian roots, formed in response to the Séléka taking over the capital in 2013. The two groups have recruited fighters from Chad and Sudan, making it even more difficult to contain. This also leads to more division among the groups because of the outside biases that recruits can bring in. Both groups are responsible for gross human rights violations. The violence has resulted in around 2,000 deaths, 643,000 IDPs, and 200,000 refugees. Currently, the Anti-Balaka is gaining ground and many Muslims have had to be evacuated.

There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the conflict because of the lack of international interest and the complexity of the issue. That is why no one has really heard of what is happening in CAR, because no one wants to invest anything into solving the problem and therefore do not give it the attention that it needs. The n9cd748660b12845a54c2cec09a47bb72umbers are not big enough to make it a major humanitarian priority, and many people just think that the lack of security makes it helpless. The only outside intervention that has occurred has been to gain economic control of the rich natural resources in CAR, i.e. they become involved to take, not to give. The rebel groups also capitalize on the natural resources, especially the diamond mines, and use the revenue to fund their militant activity. The African Union, European Union and the United Nations have tried to organize and send peacekeeping missions, but because the government, currently headed by interim President Samba Panza, is so unstable it is hard for them to establish any authority or get anything accomplished. The government officials have even taken sides on the conflict, which makes it impossible to get anything done because they are further divided on what’s the best way to proceed.

What the Central African Republic needs is an organized government, one that has impartial goals and one that will work to strengthen the justice system of the state. The peace process also needs to be bottom-up, not top-down, because this way it removes the authoritarian mark that many in the CAR believe stains their government system. It is also really important to create security and stability, or at least enough for aid organizations to be able to get in and begin to help the IDPs. The Central African Republic is a long way off from being a functioning state, but that does not mean they should be allowed to fail.

-Genny

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