The new United Nations envoy to the Central African Republic Wednesday called for the “readjustment” of a UN peacekeeping force towards protecting civilians from abuse from all sides in the conflict.
The Central African Republic, the second least developed nation in the world according to the UN, has been wracked by civil war since 2013, though it has decreased in intensity since 2018.
Valentine Rugwabiza at her first press conference in the capital Bangui said she had “asked for a readjustment of the concept of our force.”
“The important thing is to adopt a proactive stance and to prevent abuses against civilian populations on the basis of reliable information,” she said.
“We see abuses from all sides in the conflict,” she added.
In March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, condemned “serious human rights violations” in the country, including “murders and sexual violence” against civilians, committed by the rebel groups but also the armed forces of the regime and their Russian allies.
The UN deployed the MINUSCA peacekeeping operation to the Central African Republic in 2014 to try to quell the conflict that erupted after a coalition of armed groups overthrew president Francois Bozize.
It includes around 14,000 peacekeepers tasked with protecting civilians.
At the end of 2020, the most powerful of the many armed groups which then shared two-thirds of the territory launched an offensive on Bangui.
The country’s former colonial ruler France and its allies accuse President Faustin Archange Touadera of turning to Moscow to help push back the rebels in exchange for a share of the nation’s mineral wealth.