central african republic
Lots of great stuff to take your fancy on our frontpage today, leading with Rob Williams, chief exec of War Child UK on how the forgotten crisis in the Central African Republic, David Mellor on why the England squad needs John Terry, Richard Branson on looking after your staff and artist Stella Vine on the inspirational joys of the countryside...
A new War Child report, released this week, marks exactly a year since a coup sent the Central African Republic (CAR), a country mired in protracted emergency, spiralling into even deeper crisis. We are also two weeks away from the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide - a tragedy which robust peacekeeping could have prevented. If you think this could never happen again, have a look at CAR, where children as young as three years old have been raped and left with horrific injuries. Other children have been killed, maimed and even beheaded.
As disasters continue to increase in lives lost and in damage costs it is time for the international community to look again at the fundamentals of disaster response and invest in training the real First Responders, the families and communities affected by these emergencies.
Trucking Instead of Protecting: How International Militaries and Aid Agencies Are Failing Civilians in CAR
In a show of pragmatism seemingly incompatible with their stated mandate, international forces in CAR have been providing protection to convoys of Muslims trying to leave towns and villages in fear of certain death, instead of stopping attacks against them.
British citizen Moazzam Begg, arrested awaiting charge - a man tortured and abused in Guantanamo bay, held there for three years with no found evidence has once again has been called a terrorist.
Disturbing images which apparently show a man cutting flesh from the burning body of a Muslim man and licking the bloodied
The scale of the violence, which has intensified since November, has escalated rapidly. More than 1,000 people have died in the last month alone. A widespread culture of impunity has rendered women particularly vulnerable and sexual violence is being used to terrorise groups within the country. A million people have fled or been displaced from their homes, compounding the already desperate humanitarian crisis. Amidst the horror, there is also confusion - from those struggling to make sense of a conflict in a country where Christian and Muslim communities have coexisted peacefully in the past and where, now, intense religious division is leading to horrific violence.
UPDATE: 'Mad Dog' Cannibal Pictured Eating Flesh Of Second Muslim Man After CAR Lynchings (GRAPHIC PICTURES) The BBC named
There have been very few direct threats towards international journalists in the country, but getting caught up in the crossfire, being robbed, or even sexually assaulted are all daily risks. Some writers still managed to get the story out from a distance, relying on telephone or email interviews, and press releases from Human Rights Watch or Doctors Without Borders to embellish their copy. So, what changed?
I have just returned from a week in the Central African Republic (CAR). I was shocked by what I witnessed. Dead bodies littering the streets. Children shot and injured in the fighting. Hundreds of thousands of families driven into the bush by fear, living out in the open with no food or shelter. In the capital, thousands huddled around a monastery frightened for their lives. I will never forget the fear in the eyes of the children I met.