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ACT Alliance Press Release: ACT Alliance calls for protection of citizens in collapsed Central African Republic

Source: ACT Alliance - Switzerland - Fri, 20 Dec 2013 10:32 AM
Author: Elisabeth Gouel
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

PRESS RELEASE

ACT Alliance calls for protection of citizens in collapsed Central African Republic

19 December 2013

Over seven-hundred-thousand people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, global humanitarian and development organisation ACT Alliance has said.

ACT Alliance members Lutheran World Federation and Finn Church Aid who are working in the country have reported that nearly half of the country’s population is in need of assistance, with over 50 percent of that number children.

The most pressing needs include protection, security and food security, the alliance said.

ACT called for the international community to rapidly address these immediate humanitarian needs and to craft a strategy to support the rebuilding of the state in Central African Republic.

“Over the last ten months the Central African Republic has collapsed with very limited preventive action from the international community despite growing insecurity and religious tensions,” said John Nduna, General Secretary of ACT Alliance. “With inaction, the country has become ungovernable. The international community must make humanitarian assistance here a key priority and develop longer term strategies to support efforts to rebuild the Central African Republic state.”

According to a UNHCR report in March this year, 99 percent of the 168,000 children who went to school before the crisis are no longer in school, and one in five has been forcibly recruited by armed groups.

“The protection of children and youth is a particular concern,” said Nduna. “ Young people are particularly affected by the conflict and are subject to recruitment into armed groups. If exploitation of children and young people continues, there is very little hope for Central African Republic.”

With churches and mosques serving as refuges for thousands of people as the conflict continues, the alliance urged religious reconciliation in light of the conflict’s religious undercurrent and high tensions between Christians and Muslims.

“There is a concern that the sectarian violence will get worse, therefore religious reconciliation needs to be the top priority for both the religious and political leadership,” said Nduna. “We call on these leaderships to stop violence and invest in reconciliation and strengthening of the fragile social cohesion.”

ACT Alliance members Lutheran World Federation and Finn Church Aid are working in Bouar, Paoua, Ndele and Ombella Mpoko on issues of protection, education, return to villages, emergency preparedness and capacity building.

ACT Alliance has an active appeal running for assistance to support and protect war affected vulnerable communities in the Central African Republic. For more information about the ACT appeal visit the ACT Alliance appeals page at www.actalliance.org

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  1. ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations working together in 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people regardless of their religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality in keeping with the highest international codes and standards.
  2. Through its member organisations ACT Alliance mobilises more than 25,000 staff and around $1.5 billion for its work each year in the areas of humanitarian aid; development; and advocacy.
  3. ACT Alliance is a member of the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP).
  4. Numbers of displaced people used in the press release come from: http://reliefweb.int/report/central-african-republic/central-african-republic-situation-report-no-1-17-december-2013
  5. UNHCR data used in this press release can be found here: http://www.unhcr.org/5142fe3f9.html
  6. For more information about ACT Alliance contact Estelle Marais, Head of Communications, ACT Alliance on +41 79 358 3171.

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