Displaying items by tag: Conflict & insecurity

Humanitarian crises frequently give rise to new kinds of settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs). In the Balkans in the 1990s, humanitarian actors provided assistance in ‘collective centres’ – pre-existing buildings such as schools and churches – which subsequently received increased attention. I wrote an article in this magazine about the ‘tent villages’ set up following the earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005. The conflict in South Sudan since 15 December 2013 has arguably produced yet another type of IDP settlement to add to the humanitarian lexicon: ‘Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites’. These settlements have hosted more than 100,000 IDPs…
Understanding humanitarian needs is key to responding to humanitarian crises efficiently. Yet in many humanitarian crises, obtaining an accurate picture of humanitarian needs has been a challenge. This has been particularly true in the Central African Republic (CAR), where humanitarian access and resources have been limited. In June 2014, the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) published an analytical report on humanitarian needs assessments in CAR[1]. The report aimed to strengthen the humanitarian community’s understanding of and response to the CAR crisis by: • Analysing the current situation in terms of humanitarian needs assessments. • Identifying gaps, limitations and lessons. • Making…
When they were done with me they went back to my daughters. A 14-year-old girl. A 12-year-old girl. Both they raped. We just ran with underwear, they ran another way. I haven’t seen them since then. I live in pain right now.[1] Since December 2013, vicious attacks in Bangui have caused over half the city’s population to flee their homes. As soon as the crisis hit, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) deployed two case workers from its programmes in Kagabandoro to Bangui to provide gender-based violence (GBV) emergency case management services to survivors, and later opening listening centres in Bangui.…
Heavy fighting in the Central African Republic since the overthrow of the government of President Francois Bozize in March 2013 has forced thousands of people to flee into the bush, leaving them at the mercy of disease, without adequate healthcare and with scant access to food and clean water. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been focusing on livelihood support in the north of the country, but it shifted into emergency response mode, often in partnership with the Central African Red Cross Society. Teams evacuated casualties, collected and buried dead bodies, provided emergency medical treatment, traced people…
Once a country where Muslims and non-Muslims married and lived together, the Central African Republic (CAR) is now divided along ethnic and religious lines that have pitted communities against one another. Atrocities committed by now ex-Seleka fighters, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebel groups, against Christian communities elicited reprisals against Muslims by Christian militias known as anti- Balaka. This tit-for-tat conflict has produced a large-scale humanitarian crisis in a forgotten country where UN officials have repeatedly warned of a risk of genocide, and where both sides may have committed war crimes. Since the Seleka overran Bangui in March 2013, the…
The conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been raging for over a year with violence, often linked to religious affiliation, involving rape, murder, torture, pillaging and the destruction of property. The scale of the emergency is immense: according to OCHA, as of 11 August 2014 an estimated 2.5 million people out of a total population of 4.6m are in need of humanitarian assistance, and a fifth of the population (almost a million people) have been displaced. Humanitarian workers are having difficulty meeting these needs. Interventions are severely underfunded, and agencies are struggling to register beneficiaries and distribute commodities,…
Between February and May 2014, I was seconded to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Central African Republic as the Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) inter-agency coordinator. As part of the Transformative Agenda, interagency coordinators can be deployed at the onset of Level 3 emergencies, with the objective of ensuring that accountability and sexual violence are on the table, and that appropriate processes and capacities are supported. My role in CAR was to provide support to the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the Inter-Cluster Coordinator (ICC) and the…
Muslim and Christian communities in the Central African Republic (CAR) are separated by mutual fear and suspicion, and the chances of restoring social cohesion in the country are dwindling rapidly. Since December 2012, CAR has spiralled from a long-term crisis of poverty and chronic vulnerability into a complex humanitarian emergency. Almost the entire population of 4.6 million has been affected, with one in five forced to flee their homes. The widespread violence and insecurity has torn the social fabric of the country apart. Faith groups are separated not only by perception but increasingly by geography, as a large proportion of…
The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) constitutes one of the most intractable humanitarian crises in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are living in dire conditions. In a context of continuing violence, a failed state, insufficient international troops, limited capacity of humanitarian actors and the lack of a clear chain of command for non-state armed actors, protecting war-affected communities through humanitarian action has proved particularly challenging. Context In March 2013, northern Seleka fighters took the CAR capital Bangui, ousting President Michel Bozizé. Seleka fighters were mostly Muslims, and included numerous Arabicspeaking mercenaries from…
The Central African Republic (CAR) government, regional and donor governments, humanitarian organisations and faith leaders agree that a comprehensive security, political and humanitarian approach is needed in the CAR – a comprehensive approach that includes security, political and humanitarian goals. However, in CAR’s complex operating environment the approaches and goals of these different tracks vary. Political and security efforts are needed to help the government re-establish basic security and state administration. These efforts take a robust stance against armed groups and support the restoration of the state. Humanitarians on the other hand aim to alleviate suffering and need community acceptance…
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