Religious leaders in the Central African Republic call for UN Peacekeeping Operation

Church leaders -both Catholic and Evangelical- are calling for the immediate establishment of a UN Peacekeeping Operation in the Central African Republic, with a minimum of 10,000 troops. They are joined in this call by Muslim clerics and CAR’s President, Catherine Samba-Panza. Following a conference hosted by Open Doors, church leaders issued a statement, Bangui II. In it they praised the efforts made so far by French and African Union forces but also identified the need for UN-led troops to the deployed.

The AU holds great influence over the international response to CAR, having led it thus far. However, the church and civil society in CAR think that a truly international response is needed to stop the crisis. Therefore, we are calling on the AU, as the most influential regional body on CAR, to openly support the establishment of a UN Peacekeeping Operation in CAR.

Background to the crisis

In March 2013 the Séléka alliance ousted President Francois Bozizé in a coup d’état. Since then Séléka rebels have terrorised the CAR population, causing intense suffering and often targeting the Christian community. In September self-defence groups formed and the country spiralled into extreme violence. The international community’s response has been very slow. In December 2013 – 9 months after the coup – the African Union finally transformed the regional peacekeeping force into an AU force. Around 4,500 soldiers were deployed and France sent a further 1,600 troops. The EU now also plans to send a small force, but there are still too few soldiers to stop the violence and restore peace.

Restoration of peace is vital for the safe delivery of aid and for a reconciliation process to begin. This is why Open Doors supports the call for a UN Peacekeeping operation to be deployed. Read Bangui II in full.