UNICEF [official website] on Friday called for [press release] aid to approximately 1.2 million children distressed by conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder]. Violence has persisted in the CAR since the predominately Muslim-based Seleka rebels ousted former president François Bozize [BBC profile] in March 2013. More than 400,000 people remain displaced due to the violent overthrow, with over a half million more people seeking refuge in other countries. Mohamed Fall, UNICEF’s Representative in the Central African Republic, stressed a need for greater international support, as the fund has received only half of the financial aid required to sustain what it deems “urgent lifesaving interventions.” The call to action also expressed concern for those regions unaffected by the conflict, as, according to the statement, an estimated one third of the country lacks access to clean drinking water, and almost half of children under five suffer from malnourishment.
In January members of a UN investigatory commission reported that crimes against humanity have been widely committed by all parties to the conflict in the CAR, prompting the commission to call for [JURIST report] the establishment of an international court to objectively investigate and prosecute crimes. Earlier in January the UN published a report [JURIST report] stating that violent acts committed in the CAR constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity, but not genocide. Despite this finding, members of the international community maintain that there is much work to be done [JURIST op-ed] in the nation. In September the International Criminal Court [official website] opened [JURIST report] a second investigation into CAR war crimes.