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CAR: New UN Rep calls for readjustment of MINUSCA to protect civilians

UN Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, Valentine Rugwabiza   -  
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Central African Republic

The new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, Valentine Rugwabiza, called Wednesday for a "readjustment" of the UN force to protect civilians, victims of "abuses by all parties to the conflict" in the country.

The Central African Republic, the second least developed country in the world according to the UN, has been the scene since 2013 of a civil war that was very deadly at the beginning but has greatly diminished in intensity since 2018. President Faustin Archange Touadéra, however, called on Moscow at the end of 2020 to rescue his weak and destitute army to repel a rebel offensive that threatened Bangui and his regime.

"I made a point of asking for a readjustment of the concept of our force (...) The main thing is to adopt a proactive and preventive posture of exactions on civilian populations based on reliable information," Rugwabiza said at her first press conference, held in Bangui.

"We are observing abuses by all parties to the conflict," she added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and several groups of independent UN experts have denounced serious human rights violations against civilians, committed by rebel groups but also by the regime's armed forces and their Russian allies.

The new representative also emphasized the "worrying humanitarian situation" indicating that "the humanitarian response plan for 2022 estimated at 461 million dollars needs to be funded more than ever" because "only 22% of the necessary funds" have been made available so far.

The U.N. mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) was deployed by the U.N. in April 2014 to try to end the bloody civil war that began in 2013 after a coup against President François Bozizé. It has about 14,000 peacekeepers whose priority is to protect civilians.

Since the beginning of 2021, Central African forces and their Russian allies have pushed the rebels out of a large part of the territories and towns they controlled, but have not been able to reinstate the presence and authority of the state everywhere in a sustainable manner.

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