The Central African Republic (CAR), long a fragile state, has spiraled downward since March, when the president was ousted by a diffuse group of rebels called Seleka. The humanitarian situation is dire and getting worse. More than 460,000 Central Africans have been displaced and, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, half of the population of 4.6 million needs humanitarian assistance and about a quarter are seriously food insecure. Without strong, high level international engagement, the CAR risks descending into chronic violence and lawlessness guaranteed to cause even more human suffering.
Secretary Kerry’s statement on November 20 condemning the ongoing abuses and announcing that the U.S. Government will provide $40 million to support the African Union Peacekeeping Mission (MISCA) in CAR is a step in the right direction. Now, the United States must urgently deliver the promised support to MISCA, work with the international community to accelerate humanitarian relief, and engage with community-based and national efforts to advance reconciliation and political transition. Several respected international rights groups issued a statement to that effect on November 19, outlining recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. Government strategy that merit serious consideration.
As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs Subcommittee, Senator Coons is closely following the ongoing situation in the CAR and is committed to working to support peacekeeping, humanitarian, and democracy efforts in the country.