The ICRC in the Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, the ICRC helps people affected by conflict and other violence. We provide emergency relief, run livelihood-support projects and repair water and sanitation systems. We also visit detainees, restore contact between relatives separated by conflict and promote international humanitarian law.
The ICRC has been in the Central African Republic since 1983, opening a delegation in the capital, Bangui, in 2007. It has sub-delegations in Kaga-Bandoro, Ndélé and Bangui, plus an office in Paoua and a sub-office in Birao.
The CAR remains unstable, despite the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process launched in the north-west in mid-2011 and despite peace and ceasefire agreements. Security has improved in the north-west, but has deteriorated in parts of the north and remains volatile in the east, where security problems are seriously hampering aid work, including that of the ICRC.
Food, water and sanitation
The ICRC is distributing food and household essentials, drilling boreholes, repairing wells and protecting water points. The organization provides people affected by the violence with seed and ploughing tools so they can provide for themselves and even earn an income. It distributes brick moulds, wood and tools, enabling people to repair their houses and equip them with doors and windows. In some cases, this aid is accompanied by training in farming. The ICRC also builds latrines and is running a hygiene programme in the north-west and south-east.
Reuniting children with their families
In 2011, the organization reunited six former child soldiers with their families, plus 29 children separated from their relatives by armed violence. In February 2012, a nine-month-old baby girl who had got left behind following fighting in the central-northern part of the country and had spent three days alone in the bush was returned to her grandmother, since the ICRC has as yet been unable to locate her parents.
Cooperation with the Central African Red Cross
The ICRC is helping the National Society enhance its operations, focusing on disaster preparedness and restoring family links. It also helps the Society promote the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Ten new first-aid brigades were set up in 2011, bringing the total to 60.
The ICRC has been visiting places of detention in the Central African Republic since 1992, and currently visits over 30 facilities, focusing on improving conditions of detention and preventing ill-treatment. The ICRC supports the prison authorities, repairs facilities and improves water supply and health care. In exceptional cases the organization provides food for detainees.
The ICRC is helping combat malaria in the south-eastern town of Obo and has trained ten members of the community to detect and treat malaria. In Rafaï, the ICRC is developing a psychosocial programme for victims of extreme violence.
Promotion of international humanitarian law
The ICRC holds sessions to promote IHL and boost acceptance of the ICRC by civil society and arms bearers. The organization also uses a play performed by the Central African Red Cross drama group to promote the role of the National Society and of the ICRC, and in March 2012 the group attracted an audience of 3,000 villagers in the north-west.
The ICRC raises awareness through national and international media, pamphlets and seminars. It includes the authorities in awareness activities, and supports Bangui University and the National School of Administration and Magistracy. If violations of international humanitarian law occur, the ICRC approaches the parties to the conflict on a bilateral and confidential basis.