13-19 July, 2015
Compiled by Christina Murphy
- United Nations is “concerned” about the decision to exclude refugees from voting
- One killed in attack along Chadian border
- FDPC ambushes, burns vehicles near Cameroon border
1. United Nations is “concerned” about the decision to exclude refugees from voting
“Central African Republic: UN concerned by decision of authorities to deny refugees vote.” UN News Centre, 13 July 2015. In English.
- Representatives from United Nations agencies, including the High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, expressed concern about the decision of CAR authorities to deny refugees the right to vote in upcoming legislative and presidential elections.
- The representatives noted that approximately 25 percent of the population are internally displaced and nearly half a million have fled the country. They also said that this decision could have a negative impact on peace and reconciliation efforts in the country.
“Centrafrique: l’exclusion des réfugiés du processus electoral.” Radio France Internationale (RFI), 17 July 2015. In French.
- Refugees from the Central African Republic are currently barred from voting in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, a fact which the UN recently spoke out against in a press conference.
- The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees noted that nearly one-tenth of the population currently lives outside the country, and the majority of these refugees are Muslim. They also said that denying these groups the right to vote “would create an additional injustice in a country that is already profoundly divided.”
- For their part, the National Transitional Council in CAR has said that they are concerned about the risk of massive electoral fraud if refugees are allowed to cast ballots from outside the country.
2. One killed in attack along Chadian border
“Une incursion d’hommes armés signalée à la frontière tchado-centrafricaine.” Centrafrique Presse Info (CPI), 17 July 2015. In French.
- A group of armed men crossed into CAR from across the border with Chad and attacked a village in the Markounda sub-prefecture, leaving one person dead.
- Although no information about the attack was confirmed by MINUSCA forces in the region, an ex-Seleka general told reporters that there are rumors of Chadian armed groups working with an armed group from CAR.
- This region of the country has seen frequent incursions from across the border, most recently in April 2015.
3. FDPC ambushes, burns vehicles near Cameroon border
“Le FDPC brule trois vehicules sur l’axe Baboua-Garai Boulai.” Centrafrique Libre, 17 July 2015. In French.
- Members of the FDPC, an armed group led by Abdoulaye Miskine, have reportedly ambushed three vehicles in the last week in the Baboua-Garai Boulai area.
- In each of the three attacks, the vehicles’ passengers were stripped of their possessions and the vehicles were burned.
- MINUSCA forces in the area have pushed back FDPC forces recently, but local sources say that they have only retreated to the bush to regroup and continue with their attacks.
- Sources say that these attacks by the FDPC may pose a threat to electoral activities in the area.
The upcoming presidential and legislative elections, including debates around electoral registration and voting eligibility, continue to dominate domestic media in the Central African Republic. This is a critical step in the country’s transition, and the election authorities face several key challenges, from securing financing to ensuring security for registration and polling sites. As noted by the UN this week, the exclusion of refugees could also threaten the credibility and perceived impartiality of these elections, since a majority of refugees are Muslim.
As evidenced by the attacks along the Chadian and Cameroonian borders this week, securing the rural areas of the country, and the region as a whole, remains a challenge for the country and a threat to human security. If these groups are not adequately brought into the transitional and political processes, they may continue to act as “spoilers” to the peace process and threaten civilians not only in the Central African Republic, but in neighboring states as well.