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UNHCR Chief Guterres 'Deeply Distressed' by Situation in CAR

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UNHCR Chief Guterres 'Deeply Distressed' by Situation in CAR

12 February 2014

Bangui, 12 February 2014 - I have witnessed in the Central African Republic a humanitarian catastrophe of unspeakable proportions.

Massive ethno-religious cleansing is continuing.

There have been indiscriminate killings and massacres.

Shocking barbarity, brutality and inhumanity have characterized this violence.

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing the country for their safety, many are trapped with nowhere to go. In Bangui alone, thousands of people are in ghettos in grave conditions.

Even with a new President and the formation of a Government, it still cannot effectively protect its citizens.

It is imperative to re-establish security, law and order. For the people of the Central African Republic, safety and security for all is the most urgent priority.

The international community must come together for a significant and immediate increase of the forces and police on the ground.

Acting in concert, particularly with the support of religious leaders, all actors must enhance mediation and pave the way for the restoration of peace and sustainable reconciliation.

As High Commissioner for Refugees, I am deeply distressed that nearly half a million Central Africans have been newly displaced since December alone. In all, 2.5 millions are in desperate need.

Humanitarian agencies and NGOs are doing an exceptional job in helping these victims of the humanitarian crisis. We are all however facing dramatic underfunding. Our resources are overwhelmed and ability to do more hampered.

The Central African Republic is falling through the cracks of international attention. This cannot be allowed to happen. The country needs the same focus that is being put on Syria and South Sudan.