Central African Republic: Pre-election violence ‘must stop’ – UN envoy 

24 December 2020

Days before Sunday’s election, armed clashes in the Central African Republic (CAR) have prompted the “serious concern” of the UN aid coordinator in the country. 

 

An escalation of tensions, uptick of violence in several parts of the country, insecurity and fear has led over 55,000 people to flee their homes, which further increases their vulnerability. 

“I strongly condemn these acts of violence which serve to increase the suffering and the trauma of the people of the Central African Republic”, said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown. 

Humanitarians in crosshairs 

The UN official also pointed out that armed combatants have increased their threats and attacks against CAR’s dedicated humanitarian actors, preventing hundreds of thousand people in the west and center of the country from receiving urgent assistance, particularly surrounding health.  

In the past week alone, over 17 incidents against humanitarian personnel and assets have been recorded, with an ambulance and a health district vehicle carjacked, injuring a worker.  

“I call on armed elements to immediately stop all attacks against humanitarian personnel and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure”, the Humanitarian Coordinator asserted. 

Delivering aid 

Despite prevailing insecurity and access challenges, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that humanitarian partners continue to deliver critical lifesaving assistance across the country, deploying emergency medical teams and airlifting indispensable health and nutritional supplies. 

“Humanitarian actors continue to remain in the communities alongside the population, despite the violence, which must stop,” said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator. 

Against the backdrop that 2.8 million people need assistance and protection, Ms. Brown also appealed to donors to scale up vital funding for CAR’s humanitarian response, including for the UN Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS).  

Managed by the World Food Programme (WFP), UNHAS offers safe, reliable and cost-efficient transport for the wider humanitarian community to and from areas of crisis and intervention. It is the only humanitarian air service that gives equal access to all aid entities. 

The 2021 Humanitarian Response plan requires $444.7 million to assist 1.8 million people. 

 

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Just days before elections in the Central African Republic (CAR), an uptick in armed violence is threatening the safety of civilians and their right to vote, according to the UN human rights office.  

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