CAR Response Blog

Humanitarian Communications

Ethnic Cleansing: What We Learned in the Central African Republic

27 February 2014
By Natalia Taylor Bowdoin, Central African Republic Country Specialist

The Central African Republic has been torn apart by bloody sectarian clashes since Muslim rebels ousted president Francois Bozize in March 2013 and replaced him with their leader Michel Djotodia, who was himself forced out last month (Photo Credit: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images).

Last week, Amnesty met with the President of the Central African Republic – a country where clashes between the Christian majority and Muslim minority have resulted in war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Christian militias are carrying out violent attacks in an effort to drive Muslims from the country. In response, Amnesty is demanding that international peacekeeping forces stop the violence and station troops in towns where Muslims are threatened.

The president was receptive during our talks. Meanwhile, three Amnesty experts on the ground documented the atrocities to support our call for increased peacekeeping operations.
They have taken over 100 first-hand testimonies of large-scale attacks on Muslim civilians in towns where only a scattering of international troops have failed to protect communities.

Senior crisis response advisor Donatella Rovera said: “We saw bodies littering the streets. Several of them had been partially burned and others had been partly eaten by dogs and other animals. One was the body of a baby who could not have been more than seven or eight months old. In one of the houses, I found an 11-year-old girl – the only Muslim survivor of the village. She was terrified. There had not been any peacekeepers there.”

This violence is unconscionable. Please take action and tell international international peacekeeping troops they need to step up their operations to effectively protect civilians, in particular the country’s remaining Muslim communities.

Original Article: Amnesty International