20 February 2014

Is the global community failing the Central African Republic?

Extreme violence persists on a daily basis across the Central African Republic.

The inability to protect civilians affected by targeted violence is evidence that the international community is failing the Central African Republic, said humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today.

MSF says it has treated more than 3,600 people for injuries caused by gunshot, grenade, machete and more, since December 5.What little that is being done falls well below acceptable humanitarian standards.

When regular violence returned the country that has been in crisis for nearly a year, in December, people had few options for humanitarian assistance. Medical aid was the only form of assistance many people received for roughly four weeks, claimed Hurum. She described the situation in the Central African Republic as the “roughest mission” in her eight years with MSF.

“There is an exceptional situation going on. I’ve never seen such a high level of violence, in the last few years,” agreed Dr Joanne Liu, President for MSF International.

The organization called on members of the international community, including donors and UN Security Council countries, to take immediate action in order to stop fighting before it escalates further. Other aid groups expressed the same concerns recently.

“Our concern is that CAR may once again fall off the radar and slide into obscurity until the next cycle of violence jolts the country back into the news,” said International Rescue Committee (IRC) country director for the Central African Republic, Sarah Terlouw in the Guardian.

The IRC has managed to provide food support to 10,000 people, but is also struggling to meet growing needs with so few financial resources. The lack of support leaves people with very few options. In addition to the vital supplies that international actors can provide to people in the Central African Republic, they can offer protection. MSF staff have literally put themselves in front of the people they are treating to keep combatants away.

“People need to be given real choices. In view of the levels of violence in Bangui, they need to be able to choose whether to go home or stay where they feel safe. Assistance should be provided wherever they feel safest,” said Dr Liu.

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