Since its independence in 1960, the Central African Republic (CAR) has been marked by authoritarian rule and instability. In the 1990s, growing rural insecurity, mutinies, poor governance, and state absence from many areas of the country facilitated the emergence of political-military opposition groups and increased violence. In 2013, following a coup, state institutions collapsed, and the situation evolved into a civil war running along ethnic and religious divides. Elections in 2016 marked a milestone in the process to rebuild state institutions, but critical reforms to address the root causes of conflict stagnated and Bangui elites continued to exploit the use of violence and instability for political and economic gain.
In December 2020, ahead of political and presidential elections, six opposition armed groups formed a new alliance called the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and launched an offensive against the government. The CPC quickly took control of major towns and large areas of the country and eventually reached the outskirts of the capital, Bangui. The Government of CAR, with international military reinforcements, defended Bangui and mounted a counteroffensive. Government, international, and opposition forces have all faced allegations of violations of international human rights and/or humanitarian law. Since the outbreak of the December violence, over 200,000 people have fled their homes and conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) has sharply increased. Today, civilians in CAR continue to face numerous threats to their immediate safety and well-being.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was deployed to CAR in 2014 to protect civilians and help stabilize the country.
Since the UN Security Council authorized the Mission’s deployment, CIVIC’s Peacekeeping program has undertaken research and advocacy to improve MINUSCA’s protection of civilians mandate and related activities. Currently, CIVIC’s peacekeeping research in CAR is focusing on the Mission’s early warning and rapid response (EW/RR) mechanisms. In addition, CIVIC is continuing its research and advocacy in CAR to advance the Peacekeeping program’s six overarching objectives.
This work builds on CIVIC past research in CAR, which has focused on:
- How MINUSCA strengthened community engagement to safely and effectively engage local communities
- How MINUSCA has incorporated gender into its conflict analysis and prioritized efforts to protect civilians from conflict-related sexual violence
- MINUSCA’s implementation of its protection of civilians mandate in 2016