Central African Republic: Security remains fragile ahead of UN troop withdrawal and presidential election
Displaced school girls in the Central African Republic, 2007. (Photo: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF, www.hdptcar.net)
- Country Statistics
- Latest IDP figure:
- Around 175,000 (15 March 2013)
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- Number of refugees:
- (Originating from the country)
160,736 (UNHCR, as of December 2011)
- Total Population:
- 4.6 million
Download Africa Overview
31 December 2012
At the end of 2012, there were around 132,000 IDPs in the Central African Republic (CAR). They were displaced variously by the internal armed conflict between 2005 and 2008, subsequent fighting between armed opposition groups and government forces, clashes between cattle herders and farmers, and attacks by Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and criminal groups known as coupeurs de route.
An estimated 106,000 people were newly displaced during 2012. As of September, 21,000 remained in displacement having been forced to flee their homes by LRA since 2008.
The security context in CAR evolved very differently from region to region over the course of the year. The situation in
the north-west and north-east of the country was reported to have improved, while north-central and south-eastern regions remained unstable as a result of tensions between local and nomadic communities and the presence of foreign armed groups, including LRA and Chad’s Popular Front for Recovery (Front Populaire pour le Redressement or FPR).
At the end of the year, Séléka, a new coalition of armed group factions, marched from the north towards the capital Bangui, taking control of broad swaths of the country by the end of December. Troops from Chad, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon supported CAR’s armed forces to halt the rebels’ advance, and tens of thousands were displaced by the fighting.
IDPs in CAR live in camps, with host families or in some cases in the bush. Their needs and vulnerabilities vary signiantly depending on the length of their displacement - from a few days up to several years - and the distance from their habitual place of residence, which can be anything from one to hundreds of kilometres. Protection needs include food, health care, water and sanitation, education and adequate housing. Many IDPs do not hold identity documents, which puts them at risk of statelessness.
Women and girls continue to experience sexual and ger-based violence, especially domestic violence and rape. Those who have to travel long distances to water points or farmland are particularly at risk. A late-2011 survey undertaken by UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council in northern camps revealed that many displaced children, both girls and boys, were used as labour by host communities in exchange for housing, food or money. Early and forced marriages often yield the same incentives, and 30 per cent of displaced girls aged between 12 and 17 have been sold as brides to members of host communities.
Around 35,000 IDPs returned to their places of origin in 2012. Most returns were spontaneous and took place in the north-west and north-east of the country, as a result of improved security and the ongoing disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of members of armed groups. IDPs going back to their home areas face obstacles, however, in making return a durable solution, and this is particularly the case for those who have suffered protracted displacement. Challenges include livelihood changes, poor or non-existent basic services and in some areas ongoing insecurity.
Profiling exercises carried out in the areas of Kabo and Bamingui-Bangoran in 2011 and 2012 revealed that the majority of IDPs surveyed would prefer not to return to their places of origin. That said, tensions with host communities have pushed some to return despite the challenges they are likely to face there.
Progress towards national legislation on displacement was made in 2012. A stakeholders’ workshop held in August reviewed a draft law and passed it to parliament for adoption. Until the proposals are enshrined in law, however, there is no framework for assisting IDPs despite CAR being a party to both the Kala Convention and the Great Lakes Pact. There is only limited leadership in responding to displacement issues on the ground despite policy initiatives.
The international humanitarian response continued to face challenges. Access restrictions in particular hampered efforts to reach those in need in several conflict-affected areas, especially in the south-east where LRA was present. Assistance continued to be coordinated via the cluster approach, which has been in place in CAR since 2007.
Despite renewed conflict at the end of the year, CAR risks becoming a forgotten crisis, as evidenced by the rapid turnover of staff on the ground and the continued lack of funding for both humanitarian and development programmes. By the end of 2012, only 64.8 per cent of the $124 million requested in the 2012 CAP humanitarian appeal had been donated.
Séléka coalition seizes power amid humanitarian crisis
(8 April 2013)
On 24 March, the Séléka coalition of armed groups seized control over the Central African capital Bangui, after resuming hostilities on 21 March. The coup forced the President Francois Bozizé to flee the country and Michel Djotodia, one of Séléka’s leaders, proclaimed himself the new president of the Central African Republic (CAR).
While there is very little information on population movements during this last episode of the crisis, it is estimated that about 173,000 people in CAR were internally displaced as of mid-March, most of them as a result of Séléka’s march on the capital in December. In addition, around 35,000 have fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad since the beginning of the crisis in December. Access to IDPs was already difficult these last months, with only small parts of the affected population being within the reach of humanitarian workers. With the rebels having seized wider parts of the country over the last weeks, humanitarian access has reportedly become even more difficult, which will hamper future missions to assess the situation and needs of IDPs and assistance activities. It was reported in March that many IDPs did not have access to adequate shelter and were hiding out in the bush, in some cases since December.
The protection of civilians remains a major concern in CAR. The UN received reports of allegations of human rights abuses, including rape, physical violence, and looting, committed by both national security forces and Séléka fighters in the last days. Children, including internally displaced children and especially when separated from their families, face a high risk of being forcibly recruited. UNHCR estimated in March that one out of five children out of school has been forcibly recruited by armed groups. On 8 April, the Global Protection Cluster called on all parties to the conflict to respect international human rights and humanitarian law and to protect civilians.
Central African Republic: Humanitarians returning to fragile peace struggle to provide assistance (7 February 2013)
Tensions remain between the rebel coalition known as ‘Séléka’ and government forces despite signing a peace agreement on January 11, which marked the end of a month-long conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). An estimated 80,000 people had been displaced by the hostilities in December and January, and while some who had fled their homes in Ndélé have since returned, most are afraid to go back to their areas of origin due to the security situation.
While the announcement of the new prime minister, Nicolas Tiangaye, on 17 January was widely accepted by most, the announcement of the government of national unity three weeks later was met with resistance by some rebels. In addition, reports of armed attacks in the country has led to accusations that some members of the rebel coalition breached the ceasefire.
The humanitarian organisations that had evacuated at the height of the conflict have, in the past two weeks, returned to the country. Upon their return, they were granted access to wide parts of the country, including to rebel-held areas, and were able to promptly carry out missions to assess the situation of the affected population. Despite this, some international agencies returned to find their offices had been looted during their absence, hindering their capacity to respond to the needs of the population.
The Rapid Response Mechanism in place in the country provides IDPs with emergency assistance such as water, sanitation, nutrition and non-food items. Inadequate funding for the 2013 Consolidated Appeals Process in CAR has compounded existing challenges to providing assistance.
Central African Republic: Several thousand uprooted by rebel insurgence (17 January 2013)
Since early December 2012, several thousand people were forced to flee armed violence in the north, centre, and east of Central African Republic (CAR). Reports indicate many of the newly displaced are hiding in the bush, without adequate shelter or access to drinking water, exposing them to a high risk of diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea.
The crisis began when a newly created coalition of rebel factions took control over wide parts of CAR and marched on the capital. The newly displaced joined over 52,000 people in the country previously internally displaced by ethnic tensions, by activities of criminal groups, by the presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the south, and by an internal armed conflict that ended in 2008. Recent fighting left many of these vulnerable people beyond the reach of humanitarian aid.
After a month of hostilities, the government and the rebel coalition ‘’Séléka’’ signed a peace agreement on 11 January in Libreville, Gabon. The peace agreement provides that President François Bozizé will remain in power, but a national unity government with a Prime Minister chosen by the opposition will be put in place. The peace process brings new hope for an end to the recent conflict and for the provision of humanitarian assistance, but also for a long-term political settlement and durable solutions for IDPs.
Security remains fragile ahead of UN troop withdrawal and presidential election
1 December 2010
Armed conflict pitting government forces against various armed groups in northern areas of the Central African Republic (CAR) caused the internal displacement of more than 200,000 people between 2005 and 2008. Following the signing of peace and reconciliation agreements, their number fell to around 108,000, but since 2009 clashes between the army and a splinter rebel group, and attacks on civilians by the Lord’s Resistance Army have caused a new wave of displacement. As of November 2010, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) was estimated at over 192,000.
Civilians have suffered a range of human rights abuses, including killings, the looting and burning of villages, destruction of fields, loss of livelihoods, sexual violence and the abduction and recruitment of children. In June 2010, CAR was one of six African countries that signed the N’Djamena Declaration to end the recruitment of children by all parties to the region’s conflicts. The country is also now a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). (...)
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1 December 2010
||Security remains fragile ahead of UN troop withdrawal and presidential election (1 December 2010) HTML | PDF
||A la veille du retrait des troupes de l'ONU et de l'élection présidentielle la sécurité reste fragile (1 décembre 2010) HTML | PDF
Internal Displacement Profile
"Résumé du Profil en Français","Résumé du Profil en Français"
"Causes and Background","Background","Causes of displacement"
"IDP Population Figures","Number of IDPs","disaggregated by age and sex where data are available","Location of IDP populations"
"Physical Security and Integrity","Physical security","dignity","mental and moral integrity"
"Basic Necessities of Life","Food and water","Shelter and housing","Medical care and sanitation"
"Property, Livelihoods, Education and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights","Primary education and educational programmes"
"Family Life, Participation, Access to Justice and Other Civil and Political Rights","Other civil and political rights"
"Durable Solutions (Return, Local Integration, Settlement Elsewhere in the Country)","Documented returns","settled locally and settled elsewhere","Prospects for and obstacles to voluntary return","local settlement and settlement elsewhere","Support for return integration and reintegration"
"National and International Response","International human rights and humanitarian law framework including references to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement","National response","Humanitarian access and assistance","International response","Recommendations by international human rights bodies"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Security Council Resolution 2031, UN SC, 21 December 2011
- Consolidated Appeal for CAR for 2012, UN OCHA, 15 December 2011
- Report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation in CAR and BINUCA, UN SC, 28 November 2011
- Conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on CAR, UN SC, 6 July 2011
- United Nations Development Assistant Framework for CAR (2012-2016), UNDP, May 2011
- Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in CAR, UN SC, 13 April 2011
- 2010 Report on Human Rights Practices, U.S. DOS, 8 April 2011
- Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2011-2015, Ministry of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, April 2011
- Situation Analysis of Children and Women in CAR, UNICEF, September 2010
- Building Peace, Seeking Justice, Human Rights Center/University of Berkeley, 4 August 2010
- Strategic framework for peacebuilding in CAR 2009-2011, PBC, 9 June 2009
- An uncertain future? Children and armed conflict in CAR (May 2011)
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- State of Neglect: Displaced Children in CAR (November 2008)
( En | Fr )