Humanitarian group warns of surge in barbaric attacks against civilians in CAR

Bangui, CAR (PANA) - An international humanitarian organisation, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), along with 27 organisations, is calling on the UN Security Council to undertake stronger efforts to protect civilians in the Central African Republic.

“World leaders must enable UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic to protect innocent civilians against a surge in barbaric attacks, rape and torture,” said Eric Batonon, the country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “Each day attacks are allowed to continue, more people get their future crushed and the trust among communities is diminishing.”

The mission’s mandate ends 15 November 2017, but the UN Secretary-General has recommended a continuation of the mandate and an increase in the troop ceiling by an additional 900 military personnel, NRC said in a statement on Monday.

“Current levels of insecurity exceed those of 2014 when the mission was established, as does the severity of the humanitarian crisis now gripping the country,” stresses the letter to the Security Council members.

The scale of violence in the country has increased dramatically over the last six months and the number of displaced people has reached 1.1 million, the highest level ever recorded, NRC said.

“Lack of security and arbitrary attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers means that many people in need are cut off from humanitarian assistance,” Batonon added. “This has deadly consequences. Parents are unable to find sufficient food to their already malnourished children and basic health services are unavailable in many areas.”

NRC said there is also a dramatic lack of funding for humanitarian assistance. Donors have provided just one-third of the money needed to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs this year.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is deciding whether to increase the number of United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the recommendations put forward by Secretary-General António Guterres for strengthening the operation, which was discussed at Monday’s meeting in New York.

Briefing the Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for CAR, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, said the proposal to increase the strength of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) by 900 troops is part of “a comprehensive strategy to address the deteriorating situation,” while working closely with the Government and creating space for the political process.

“We will seek to improve the protection of civilians with a stronger emphasis on early warning and prevention, and we will put greater efforts to ensure humanitarian access to populations in need,” said Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, according to a UN statement.
-0- PANA MA 7Nov2017

07 november 2017 08:01:18

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