UN to send peacekeeping force in war-torn CAR

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The UN Security Council has unanimously given the go-ahead to the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force in the war-torn Central African Republic.  

The 11,800-strong force named MINUSCA, aims to put an end to the sectarian violence (bordering on genocide) raging on between Christians and Muslims in the landlocked country.

Key Points

  • The force named MINUSCA (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in CAR) will consist of 10,000 military troops plus 1,800 police.
  • It will assume the responsibilities from the now-deployed African-led International Support Mission (MISCA) from 15 September 2014.
  • MISCA, the 5000-strong African Union peacekeeper, has not been able to stop the violence largely due to logistical and operational resource crunch.

France, the erstwhile colonizer, will also contribute to the peace efforts by deploying a separate 2,000-strong force with a bold mandate of employing “all necessary means” to restore peace and security.

The Background of the Bloodshed

  • The impoverished country was plunged into initial chaos in a coup last year (March 2013), when Muslim dominated Seleka rebels seized power and launched a brutal regime. 
  • The Christian anti-Balaka militiamen in response waged a war against them to wrest the power.
  • The rebel Seleka government crumbled in January but the pro-christians anti-Balaka militia didn't relent.
  • They turned the power-struggle into ethnic war forcing tens of thousands of Muslims to flee.
  • The brutal war is still raging on with both parties indulged in gross human rights abuse in the territory they control.
  • The abuse ranges from killings and torture to sexual violence and enforced disappearances.

Objectives of the Mission 

  • Disarmament of combatants and the cessation of all forms of violence
  • Restoration of peace and law and order.
  • Investigation into all violations of human rights and humanitarian law 

(The Central African Republic, being a signatory, falls under the purview of International Criminal Court.)

  • To prepare groundwork for free and fair elections by February 2015. 

Some Facts

  • Area: 622,984 square km (45th largest in the world)
  • Slightly smaller than Pakistan
  • Population (2009 estimate): About 44 lacs (124th largest in the world)
  • Slightly bigger than Indian state of Tripura
  • Capital and largest city: Bangui
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