Central African Republic (CAR) - African leaders meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week must address the growing crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has said. It said, in a statement obtained by PANA here Wednesday, that the leaders must ensure they complete the full and rapid deployment of peacekeepers to protect civilians in rural areas at risk of imminent attack.
Over the last week, Amnesty International said it had gathered first-hand information of large scale slaughter of both Christian and Muslim civilians in the North-West CAR.
It said the presence of international peacekeepers in these areas is essential to help prevent further atrocities, particularly as rival militias converge on this region.
“There is a real danger of further escalation of what is already a human disaster. The peacekeeping forces have had an effect where they are deployed, but there are large swathes of the North-west where there is a notable absence,' said Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Adviser Donatella Rovera, who is currently in the region.
Armed clashes between anti-balaka militias and remnants of the ex-Seleka forces and their supporters over the last week have resulted in unlawful killings and injuries to civilians, as well as the burning of thousands of homes.
“We fear civilians in the Central African Republic are paying a heavy price for delays by the AU. The meeting of the Heads of States should be used to ensure that the remaining troops are deployed rapidly and effectively so that they fulfil their mandate to protect civilians,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International.