ND037 - UNICEF warns for dramatic rise in Central African Republic violence
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UNICEF warns for dramatic rise in Central African Republic violence

Violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has increased tremendously in the past few months. The troubled country remains one of the most unsafe countries in the world for civilians as well as humanitarians. According to the United Nations, several NGOs have been forced to retreat from the conflict-torn region where many vulnerable people are in dire need for humanitarian assistance.

Increased violence in the Central African Republic

“The past year, and especially the last quarter, has seen a dramatic increase in violence,” spokesperson Donaig Le Du for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told reporters. “There are now an estimated 600,000 internally displaced people, a big increase in the past 2-3 month. Out of an estimated population of a little over five million, one in five is either a refugee or displaced, half of them being children.”

UNICEF noted that it is almost impossible for humanitarians to travel in CAR. The roads are in a sorry state, and the rainy season coupled with insecurity are only making it worse. There is also limited cell phone coverage, with terrible consequences. Le Du gave the example of six Red Cross volunteers whose deaths were not reported until two weeks after they were killed in Gambo earlier in August.

What characterizes the CAR conflict is that there is little fighting between armed groups. Armed, violent attackers are targeting civilians on the other side instead. Also, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) and humanitarian actors have increasingly come under threat. “Several NGOs have retreated, which means no healthcare. Supplies are looted – at one health center, solar panels were stolen from solar fridges for example, which means no immunizations,” Ms. Le Du elaborated.

Major international NGOs have indicated to the United Nations that the CAR is the most dangerous country in the world to deliver humanitarian assistance. It’s the country with the world's highest level of violence against humanitarian workers, accounting for a third of all registered attacks on aid workers.

Circumstances for children also have been particularly devastating. Horrendous reports on children's rights violations have surfaced over the past months and weeks. The UN spokesperson stressed to say, "Precise numbers are impossible to know, but we know for a fact that children have been killed; there have been incidents of sexual violence, and that recruitment into armed groups is happening.”

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