UNHCR calls for unhindered humanitarian access to assist displaced persons in CAR

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 14 October 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is alarmed at the recent outbreak of violence in parts of the Central African Republic's capital Bangui, targeting civilians, humanitarian workers and United Nations peacekeepers. The latest surge in attacks has badly hampered humanitarian activities.

The recent unrest was reportedly sparked by a grenade attack in Gobongo in the 4th district of Bangui on 7 October that killed four people. The alleged attacker, a presumed Seleka member, was caught by an angry mob and is believed to have been killed. These events were followed by attacks on civilians that left around nine civilians dead and 55 people injured.

Although some shops have reopened since the weekend and traffic has resumed since 13 October, the situation still remains tense in Bangui.

We have received initial reports of over 6,500 people being newly displaced, but the number could be much higher as we have been unable to confirm figures without access to the displacement sites in the city and surrounding areas.

The recent episode of unrest in Bangui represents a disturbing trend of attacks on humanitarian workers who are trying to access and assist displaced populations in Bangui and its suburbs.

We are, once again, calling on all parties involved in the conflict to respect humanitarian work and allow unhindered humanitarian access to relief agencies working to support thousands of displaced people in desperate need. UNHCR reiterates the call of the UN Senior Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR that our efforts are aimed to help the most vulnerable people based on the principle of humanitarian impartiality.

There are some 410,000 internally displaced persons in the Central African Republic including over 60,000 in 34 sites in Bangui. Around 420,000 CAR refugees have fled to the neighbouring countries.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Bangui, Etien Kouassi on mobile +236 7272 9292
  • In Geneva, Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106