Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Wednesday urged the international community [report, PDF; press release] to take immediate and effective action to halt the spread of sectarian violence and "ethnic cleansing" within the western part of the Central African Republic (CAR). AI reports that anti-Muslim militias have engaged in large-scale, recurrent attacks on Muslim civilian communities in retaliation for the previous killing of Christian civilians by Muslim-led forces. In January the UN Security Council [official website] extended the mandate [JURIST report] of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and authorized the International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA) and EU military personnel "to take all necessary measures," including the use of force, to maintain security and combat the "increasing cycle of violence and retaliation" resulting from continued sectarian conflict. AI asserts that, in order to protect the remaining Muslim communities, international peacekeeping forces must be given the authority to take "rapid steps" to gain control over the CAR's road network in order ensure that troops can be placed in strategic positions. In addition, AI urged the CAR's "transitional authorities" to restore security and the rule of law while continuing to "reconstitute basic government structures and institutions."
International concern continues to grow in the wake of reports of gross human rights violations in CAR since the Seleka rebel forces seized the nations capital last March. In January the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng warned [JURIST report] that urgent national and international action is necessary to stop the violence in CAR. Also, the UN reported last week that more than 6,000 child soldiers may be involved [JURIST report] in the conflict in the CAR. Earlier last month the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons urged [JURIST report] the international community to assist the approximately 1 million individuals who have been internally displaced by the ongoing violence in CAR. In December UNICEF issued a report [JURIST report] detailing horrific attacks against children in CAR. Also in December the UN Security Council voted unanimously [JURIST report] to authorize the deployment of peacekeepers to CAR. In November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned [JURIST report] that the continued violence between militias, rebels and government forces in CAR threatened to lead the country into renewed conflict. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned [JURIST report] the coup by the Seleka rebels last March and advocated for a "swift restoration of constitutional order."