UNHCR renews call for protection of displaced people after attack on CAR convoy

News Stories, 29 April 2014

© UNHCR/A.Greco
This group of displaced people are living in a school in the town of Bossangoa but remain at risk, like some 15,000 other Muslims in surrounded sites.

BANGUI, Central African Republic, April 29 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday stressed the need to provide physical protection to forcibly displaced communities a day after a fatal grenade attack on a humanitarian convoy.

The convoy, carrying members of the Muslim community to safety in Kabo and Moyen Sido in the north, was hit by a grenade believed to have been thrown by an Anti-Balaka militiamen. The attack, which occurred at Dissikou, left two people dead and six injured.

"UNHCR condemns the attack and offers its condolences to the victims' families. It underscores the need to provide physical protection to displaced communities at risk," spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told journalists.

The 18-truck convoy was moving 1,300 people previously trapped in the troubled PK12 neighbourhood of the capital, Bangui. They had fled to PK12 to escape inter-communal violence that has been tearing apart the country since December 2013. However, PK12 later came under threat, leaving the displaced living in constant fear of attacks without enough food and in squalid conditions because of lack of sanitation facilities.

Taking into account their request to be moved to safer areas and given the imminent and serious threat to their lives, the UN humanitarian country team organized their relocation on Sunday. The operation was decided as a measure of last resort, under the leadership of Senior Humanitarian Coordinator Claire Bourgeois.

The convoy spent Sunday night near Sibut, before continuing its three-day journey. On Monday, despite the attack, it was able to continue to Kaga Bandoro, where people injured in the attack received medical assistance. A UNHCR team accompanying the convoy reported that three babies have so far been born during the journey.

This was the second relocation operation from PK12, following the movement of 93 people, including 35 children, to Bambari on April 20. "UNHCR participated in the operations in view of our commitment to promote the human rights of all the internally displaced, particularly the right to physical security, irrespective of their community background. UNHCR is committed to savings lives and alleviating the plight of all the displaced and to work with the government to that end," Lejeune-Kaba said.

There are currently more than 600,000 internally displaced in the Central African Republic, including above 15,000 Muslims who remain at risk. They are surrounded and threatened by militiamen in 15 locations across the western part of the country.

UNHCR and its partners are supporting mediation efforts to allow for co-existence. Such efforts have already produced some positive results in areas like Bouboua, where people recently returned from the bush where they had sought shelter. UNHCR and other members of the humanitarian community are looking to reinforce these tendencies, with a clear focus on paving the way for the return of those who have relocated, those who remain displaced in CAR, as well as for the more than 348,000 refugees who fled to neighbouring countries.

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Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Waves of fighting in eastern Democratic of the Republic since late April have displaced tens of thousands of people. Many have become internally displaced within the province, while others have fled to south-west Uganda's Kisoro district or to Rwanda via the Goma-Gisenyi crossing.

The stop-start clashes between government forces and renegade soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda began in the province's Masisi and Walikale territories, but subsequently shifted to Rutshuru territory, which borders Uganda.

Between May 10-20, one of UNHCR's local NGO partners registered more than 40,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Jomba and Bwesa sectors.

The IDPs are living in difficult conditions, staying in school buildings and churches or with host families. They lack food and shelter and have limited access to health facilities. Some of the displaced have reported cases of extortion, forced labour, beatings and recruitment of minors to fight.

UNHCR and other major aid organizations plan to distribute food, medicine and other aid. More than 300,000 people have been forcibly displaced in North and South Kivu since the start of the year, according to UN figures.

Displaced by Fresh Fighting in North Kivu

Internally Displaced in Chad

In scenes of devastation similar to the carnage across the border in Darfur, some 20 villages in eastern Chad have been attacked, looted, burned and emptied by roving armed groups since 4 November. Hundreds of people have been killed, many more wounded and at least 15,000 displaced from their homes.

Some 7,000 people have gathered near Goz Beida town, seeking shelter under trees or wherever they can find it. As soon as security permits, UNHCR will distribute relief items. The UN refugee agency has already provided newly arrived IDPs at Habila camp with plastic sheeting, mats, blankets and medicine. The agency is scouting for a temporary site for the new arrivals and in the meantime will increase the number of water points in Habila camp.

The deteriorating security situation in the region and the effect it might have on UNHCR's operation to help the refugees and displaced people, is of extreme concern. There are 90,000 displaced people in Chad, as well as 218,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad.

Posted on 30 November 2006

Internally Displaced in Chad

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