Since gaining independence in 1960 from the French colonial power, the Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced several periods of armed conflict and successions of violent political overthrows and military rule. In 2012-2013, another round of violence erupted with the emergence of a coalition of armed groups called the Seleka, comprised of many rebel groups located in the north Muslim northern areas of CAR. From late 2012 to early 2013, they launched a brutal insurgency against the government and seized the capital Bangui. In response to this, a coalition of Christian fighters counter-attacked with the fighting between the militias resulting in heavy civilian casualties. As a result, thousands of refugees have been displaced and forced to fly to neighbouring Cameroon.
The CAR plunged into a cycle of violence and a humanitarian crisis, leading to the deployment of a peacekeeping mission with forces from the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and France; the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). This mission was established in the CAR in 2014 in order to bring the violence under control. Following its mandate, MINUSCA has focused on the protection of civilians, support for the political transition and reintegration process, Rule of Law, humanitarian assistance, and promotion of human rights.
In 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced the Congolese rebel commander and later Vice-President Mr. Jean Pierre Bemba to eight years in prison for his militia’s abuses in the CAR between 2002 and 2003. Despite the optimism following the election of President Fautin Archange Touadera same year, the crisis in the CAR has intensified, seeing humanitarian workers threatened and several UN peacekeepers losing their lives.
On June 13, 2017, the CAR Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) met to discuss the current situation in the country and discuss the implementation of the peacebuilding plan and the status of the peace process. The meeting was chaired by Permanent Representative (PR) of Morocco to the UN and attended by the Special Representative for CAR and Head of MINUSCA, the Minister of Justice of CAR, Chief of Financing for the Peacebuilding Branch of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), among others. They provided updates on the international, regional and national commitment to the peacebuilding process as well as the participation of stakeholders to help the government address the challenges related to peace building, security sector reform, and reconciliation.
In addition to the need for accelerated implementation of the peace process, the discussion drew attention to the need for a coordinated approach, focusing on cross border activities, poverty eradication and institution building as well as enhanced coordination between PBC and the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Read the Peacebuilding Commission reports here.
This update was written by Anne-Laure Méar.