The Central African Republic’s Historic Day

After three years of violence, the Central African Republic (CAR) is poised to move towards peace. With nearly half of the country’s population in dire need of assistance, the people of CAR have displayed a clear desire to emerge from war, and the United States will continue to stand with them in this effort.

A displaced mother walks with her two children in Bangui's monastery, where she and over 10,000 others found refuge in Bangui, Central African Republic. [AP Photo]

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power first visited CAR in 2013. Today, the country is a very different place. Then, violence had begun several months earlier, perpetrated by both Muslim and Christian militias, and characterized by horrific brutality. Neighbors and groups that had a long history of living side-by-side and coexisting in peace were pitted against each other. In the past three years, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

Data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs shows the number of people in the Central African Republic displaced or in need in 2016.

Now, Ambassador Power makes her fourth visit to CAR, leading a Presidential Delegation from the United States to attend the inauguration of CAR’s President-elect Faustin-Archange Touadera, whose campaign as a ‘man of the people’ resonated with war-weary Central Africans. In February, the people of CAR participated enthusiastically in largely peaceful elections, marking a real turning point for the country. Transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, known as the “mother” of CAR, has led her country through a very complicated and challenging process to a peaceful transfer of power we’re seeing today.

Many challenges remain: the forces and attitudes that drove some of the worst violence over the last three years are still present, and the potential to move backwards is very real. That’s why the United States remains committed to the people of CAR in their effort to create a unified and peaceful nation. We have provided nearly $800 million in humanitarian aid, elections assistance, long-term development assistance, and support for an international peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA. We will continue to fully support a robust international security presence in CAR and long-term efforts to promote accountability, justice for victims of human rights violations, and the rule of law.

At this historic moment, we will continue to be a strong friend and ally of the Central African people.

Ambassador Samantha Power listens to speakers in the Central African Republic in 2013. [USUN Photo]

Follow @AmbassadorPower and @USUN on Twitter for more on the Presidential Delegation’s visit this week to the Central African Republic.

About the Author: Caroline Weisser serves as Digital Media Advisor  at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Supporters of Presidential candidate Faustin Archange Touadera rally in the streets of Bangui, Central African Republic, February 12, 2016.
Posted by Caroline Weisser
March 30, 2016

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