Ban Ki Moon authored a compelling op-ed in the Washington Post today about the situation in the Central African Republic. In short, the Secretary General is urging the international community to send more troops and provide more funding for CAR until the new UN Peacekeeping mission gets off the ground. Here is the meat of it.
This is a welcome step — and highly anticipated by all those I met in the country — but the mission will not fully deploy until September, and time is not on the side of the vulnerable.
Until then, support for the AU and French forces is crucial. I have urged the European Union to provide reinforcements — and I am glad troops are moving in. But even more security assistance is needed during this vital intervening period before the peacekeeping mission is fully operational.
Action must come on two other fronts as well.
The transitional government needs immediate help at ground zero of governance, including support for getting police, judges and prison guards back to work. At the same time, the country needs an inclusive political process to find the path to peace.
Accountability for atrocious human rights violations is central. The United Nations has sent a commission of inquiry to help advance the process. Religious leaders are also crucial to advancing dialogue and ensuring that evacuated people can return home.
With the support of the international community, the people of the Central African Republic can build a future of reconciliation and peace.
Ethnic cleansing, mostly committed against Muslim population is continuing a pace. Over 100,000 Muslims have fled Bangui alone–only 20,000 remain today. Whole regions have been emptied of their Muslim populations. And now, there is word that militias are blocking the main roads leading to relative safety in Cameroon, forcing people to cross wilderness–and literally walk across a river — to find refuge. This video, shot on a mobile phone by member of the UN Refugee Agency shows the lengths to which families are going to flee violence.
This is happening now. Countries that can make a difference ought to heed Ban Ki Moon’s call for additional security forces deploy to the region in advance of the peacekeeping mission’s launch in September. Unless additional security forces are urgently dispatched, the ethnic cleansing of CAR’s Muslims will probably have been completed by the time Blue Helmets an be mustered.