Civilians march for peace in the Central African Republic
United Nations field representatives joined a youth-led march for peace this morning in Bangui, the capital. “We want to express our desire to restore the harmony that has always existed between Christians and Muslims in this country,” a participant said.
Since 5 December 2013, the outbreak of violence in the capital has claimed over 500 lives and displaced about 200,000 others. According to the latest reports, an average of three people per hour were victims of fighting during the second week of December alone.
In response to the situation, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark expressed her concern for the security situation in Central African Republic and has called for an immediate halt to the violence. “We hope that the situation stabilizes very quickly so that UNDP can resume its work to support lasting peace here,” said Helen Clark.
With a presence in the country since 1976, UNDP has worked in a complex and fragile context to support CAR in the areas of governance, poverty reduction and combating HIV/AIDS.
However, the takeover in March 2013 by the Seleka rebels forced the United Nations System to suspend implementation of its 2012–2016 country programme and to align itself with the road map for the transitional government. As a result, UNDP refocused its activities around the following priorities:
- Support protection of people, their property and their rights by developing the capacities of communities to cope with the crises
- Facilitate the return of former rebels to their home regions in the Central African Republic and reactivate the resettlement programme in the north-west and central-north regions
- Facilitate technical implementation of the road map; the return to peace; the holding of free, democratic and transparent elections; and continued reforms in the justice sector; and
- Reactive the implementation of the accelerated MDG framework for food security
Today’s march coincides with a United Nations mission to conduct field visits and consultations with CAR transitional officials, regional organizations, the diplomatic corps, faith-based organizations, civil society, the humanitarian community and United Nations representatives based in the country to assess the conflict’s impact on the civilian population, particularly for women and children.
Christian Aimé Ndotah, UNDP Communications Officer,Central African Republic
Tel.: +236 75 50 55 45/70 50 55 45