The increasing levels of violence in the Central African Republic, coupled with the destruction of vital state institutions, has led the United Nations to act with uncharacteristic speed and agreement. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/world/africa/united-nations-central-african-republic.html?ref=africa) The Security Council, with France seemingly leading the charge, announced today that it will soon be proposing a “large and robust” force of peacekeepers to be sent to the C.A.R. to protect citizens from violence, which includes reports of ethnic cleansing. The proposed peacekeeping forces, which would be sent to C.A.R. “immediately” would number around 12,000 and would be made up of soldiers and police officers. In addition to peacekeeping forces, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommending the deployment of civilian specialists who would be responsible for repairing and rebuilding the many civic institutions that have been destroyed in the crisis.
In a press release today the Security Council emphasized the need for a “multidimensional approach” to deal with both the humanitarian crises in the country as well as the significant security concerns for both the country’s citizens and neighboring states. They stated that while French and MISCA forces, which are currently in the country, have saved lives but are simply not a large enough force to provide the level of security needed countrywide. Additionally, on the humanitarian front, they note that current efforts are hugely underfunded. Of the $551 million appeal made for humanitarian efforts only 16 percent has been made available. This humanitarian assistance is desperately needed, as Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has stated to provide for the 650,000 people currently internally displaced and living in “appalling conditions”. (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11308.doc.htm )
Is it too little, too late? A “speedy” response from an organization like the UN could still take months. If they are successful in bringing some moderate level of stability to the country, and end the worst of the violence that brought the crisis to international attention, will international support for the absolutely necessary post-conflict aid dry up? There is no lack of examples of the international community taking action to bring an end to conflict, but then not providing the support after the crisis has died down to prevent it from occurring again.