Some 109,000 out of 250,000 Central African Republic, CAR, refugees resident in Cameroon will participate in their country’s legislative and presidential elections due December 27, 2015.
The vote will end the transitional government put in place to stem the ongoing crisis.
The Central African parliament initially tried to block refugees from voting in the election, but the decision was overturned by the Central African high court.
Around 250,000 Central African refugees have fled into Cameroon since the outbreak of violence in CAR in 2013. More than 400,000 have fled the country in total.Almost a third of the refugees are spread across camps while the rest live with families in local communities.
VOTE OFFERS HOPE
Many of them do not know when they might be able to go home. Hassan’s sister, Habiba, is one of tens of thousands who moved camps and now lives with her brother and his family.
In the confusion of escape from the fighting in CAR, the family got split up. Habiba, who is blind, ended up in another camp, more or less alone.
“I can’t see and there was nobody to cook for me. There was no way for me to live at the other camp so I had to come to my brother here who has a wife and children who can help me,” Habiba said.
Sectarian violence in CAR risks derailing internationally-backed elections now set for December 27 after being postponed in October due to the fighting, leaving the fate of the refugees in Cameroon in limbo.
Almost half of the 70,000 refugees living in camps who are eligible to vote have registered to do so and will cast their ballots from polling stations within the camps.