Central Africa: Massacre of 60 Christians must be investigated!
UN peacekeeping force fails to protect refugees (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for an independent investigation into the conduct of the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA in connection with a massacre in the Central African Republic, in which 60 Christian refugees got killed last Thursday. Eyewitnesses reported that the UN soldiers did not intervene when militiamen attacked a refugee camp in the center of Alindao City. According to the MINUSCA mandate – issued by the UN Security Council on November 15, 2017 – the protection of the civilian population has absolute priority.
"If the UN peacekeepers fail to fulfill their mission to protect the civilian population from violent attacks, then the UN Security Council must investigate their failure. In addition, the number of blue helmets in the Central African Republic has to be increased – urgently," demanded Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Thursday. Before, a spokesman of the United Nations had denied that the 50 blue helmets had not intervened because they were numerically inferior to the many attackers, so that they could not have protected the civilians.
The attack was aimed at about 27,000 Christian refugees from embattled rural areas who had tried to find protection in the vicinity of a cathedral. The attackers also killed the Vicar and a pastor, and they set fire to the church and to adjacent buildings. In total, around 40,000 refugees have sought shelter in Alindao, where there are several refugee camps.
Meanwhile, the military presence in the city was increased. However, around 20,000 people have fled from the Alindao massacre because they no longer fell protected by MINUSCA. "The UN peacekeeping force is experiencing a massive loss of credibility in the Central African Republic, as the blue-helmet soldiers have repeatedly failed to intervene early enough to prevent violence," Delius warned. There have been several incidents like this in the rural areas in 2018, and more and more people are fleeing to the cities. However, if MINUSCA is unable to protect the civilians there, the United Nations should no longer watch idly, but must take initiative. Currently, there are 10,758 peacekeepers in the Central African Republic to protect the civilian population. The country is twice as large as Germany.
Header image: United Nations Photo via Flickr