CAR most dangerous country for children, UNICEF
The protracted war between Christian and Muslim militias in the Central African Republic, CAR, has made the country “the most dangerous place in the world for children,” UNICEF said in a statement.
In the more than six-year-old war which has killed thousands of people and affected much more, over 4.6 million people are likely to face starvation in the and more than 1.5 million children are at the highest risk, aid groups have said.
David Brownstein, the U.S. chargé d’affairs in CAR, has raised the concernthat the country is degenerating into yet another prolonged period of war with the threat of ISIS fighters, now displaced from Syria, may take “advantage of vacuums. Literal vacuums, security vacuums, governance vacuums, perceived moral vacuums,” currently caused by a weak and destabilized central government to escalate the humanitarian crises.
Brownstein noted that “If they (ISIS)have somewhere else to go, that is ungoverned, or that is populated by people who are looking for champions, who feel that they are adrift in the world, and at a certain point they have no option but to cling to even a horrible champion, they can potentially move into CAR and we are simply shifting the problem.” This is added to the current reality that “right now, there are a lot of people who are benefiting more from war than they could gain from peace,” David Brownstein said.
In 2012 a group of Muslim fighters, the Seleka, attacked the state capital, Bangui and overthrew the Christian President François Bozizé. In a counter, a coalition of Christian militias, the anti-balaka, attacked Muslim communities and eventually overturned the bloody coup. But attacks and reprisals continue till date with women used as weapons of war earning the country the reputation of the rape country of the world.
The 2018 Global Hunger Index Central African Republic ranks CAR last out of 119 countries, including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan, with more than 43,000 children, below the age of 5, “expected to face an extremely high risk of death next year due to severe malnutrition,” according to UNICEF.
“This is the most dangerous place in the world for children,” Caryl Stern, the CEO of UNICEF USA,said.
Feature image/CC: UNICEF