Human Rights in Central African Republic
Human Rights Concerns
The Central African Republic (CAR) is currently experiencing a human rights and humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. Amnesty International researchers have documented that war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and sectarian killings are occurring as Muslim civilians continue to come under violent attacks from anti-balaka Christian militia groups. The current crisis began in December 2012 when the predominantly Muslim armed coalition Séléka launched an armed offensive against the government of François Bozizé that culminated in his removal from power in March 2013. After gaining power, Séléka forces continued to commit human rights abuses against the majority Christian civilian population including massacres, extrajudicial executions, rape, torture, looting and massive burning and destruction of villages.
Séléka's leader, Michel Djotodia, resigned from the Presidency on January 10, 2014 after significant international pressure. Séléka forces then began to withdraw from cities and towns throughout the CAR as they retreated back to the northern part of the country leaving a power vacuum which the anti-balaka militia groups filled by carrying out deadly attacks against Muslim communities and civilians in a deadly tit-for-tat that has resulted in a mass exodus of Muslims out of the country. Once vibrant Muslim communities in towns and cities throughout the country have been completely destroyed as all Muslim members have either been killed or driven away. Those few left behind live in fear that they will be attacked by anti-balaka groups in their towns or on the roads. While an African Union peacekeeping force, the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), supported by French troops, has been deployed in the country since early December 2013, they have failed to adequately protect civilians and prevent the current ethnic cleansing from taking place. The urgency of the situation demands that the international community take all measures to respond to the crisis in the CAR, protect the civilian population, deploy to threatened areas and stop the forced exodus of Muslims from their homes.