“Central African Republic is steering towards a catastrophe, unless upcoming peace talks succeed,” warns Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.
Parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic are scheduled to meet for peace talks in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday 24 January under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
“Repeated cycles of violence ravaging one of the world’s poorest nations have pushed people´s resistance to breaking point. The country is facing the abyss, unless its leaders and armed groups are delivering on people´s hope for peace,” said Egeland, who recently visited the country.
In addition to the peace talks initiated by the AU, the Norwegian Refugee Council calls for an international high-level meeting to address the deteriorating situation and increase efforts to ensure protection of the population and support the reconstruction of the country.
“Both the Central African government and the international community have failed in their response to the crisis. We now need to seize this opportunity to prevent the country from sliding backwards into a full-blown war,” said Egeland.
Most of the Central African Republic is now controlled by armed opposition groups. 2.9 million people, more than 6 out of 10 inhabitants, urgently need humanitarian support.
“The armed groups need to provide humanitarian organisations with safe access to people in need. At the same time, the international community needs to show that when this is in place, we are ready to scale up the support, and to stay and deliver,” said Egeland.
“Currently, the willingness of the international community to fund the humanitarian and development work in Central African Republic has been lacking, making unemployed and hungry people easy recruits for armed groups fighting for the country’s resources,” he added.
Last year, donor countries provided less than half of the $516 million needed for humanitarian relief, leaving many people without necessary support.