Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 14:37 GMT

Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Central African Republic

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 19 April 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Central African Republic, 19 April 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f97fb6528.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPs105,000
Percentage of total population2.3%
Start of current displacement situation2005
Peak number of IDPs (Year)212,000 (2007)
New displacement22,180
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index179

Six per cent of the 4.5 million citizens of the Central African Republic (CAR) were either internally displaced or living as refugees in neighbouring countries in 2011. In December, the UN estimated the number of IDPs at 105,000, including about 22,000 people who were newly displaced during the year, either in the south-east of the country by attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) or in the north-east by fighting between rebels of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix or CPJP) and the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement or UFDR). At the end of the year, the LRA had displaced more than 26,000 people in CAR since 2008.

Armed conflict broke out in 2005 between the government of President François Bozizé and armed opposition groups, including the CPJP, UFDR and the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy (Armée populaire pour la restauration de la démocratie or APRD), who were seeking greater political representation and a share of power. The fighting lasted until mid-2008, causing the displacement of 300,000 people, either within CAR or across the border into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad. Displacement was also caused by criminal groups known as coupeurs de route who took advantage of the security vacuum left by badly equipped, badly trained and often absent government forces; these groups were still active at the end of 2011.

2011 was marked by important national and international commitments that could bring stability to CAR. President François Bozizé was elected to a third term in office in January. The government signed an agreement in June with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda, to deploy a joint military force against the LRA managed by the AU, and in October the USA deployed 100 military advisors to CAR to support this objective. In June the government and the CPJP signed a ceasefire agreement.

Other events could have a positive impact on the protection of IDPs. In August the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants commenced; the UN signed action plans with APRD and CPJP in October and November on ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers; and in December the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the Integrated Office for Peacebuilding in CAR (BINUCA) by a year.

However, despite these developments, security in CAR remained fragile in 2011. Fighting in the north-east between CPJP and UFDR increased the risk of a resurgence of conflict, while the lack of funds to complete the DDR of former combatants and much-needed security sector reform also put the peace process at risk. Meanwhile, the government's inability to control its territory made CAR a base for foreign armed groups including the LRA and the Chadian Popular Front for Recovery (Front populaire pour le redressement or FPR) in the north-west.

The government was in the process of adopting a national IDP policy, but it had yet to enact national legislation to protect IDPs, despite its obligation to incorporate the Guiding Principles into domestic legislation under the Great Lakes Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and the Pact's Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons.

The humanitarian response to internal displacement remained limited in 2011 due to the absence of even the minimum funding needed to protect and assist IDPs, and because humanitarian access continued to be blocked in several conflict zones. In 2011, the humanitarian community increased its efforts to improve baseline information on IDPs, supporting a profiling exercise in the north-east while OCHA conducted a nationwide review of IDP figures. The profiling exercise found that 23 per cent of IDPs in the north-east had integrated locally and that most host communities were also affected by conflict and insecurity and unable to access their fields for farming. The OCHA study recommended the development of a displacement monitoring framework to monitor the specific needs of IDPs, and called for a nationwide collection of data disaggregated by sex and age, to be reinforced by the inclusion of IDPs in the upcoming 2013 census. Using improved baseline information, OCHA estimated that at least 66,000 people had returned to their villages of origin in the north-west of the country.

By December 2011, only 48 per cent of the $142 million requested in the 2011 CAP appeal for humanitarian funds had been met. This included $5 million allocated by the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for under-funded emergencies. While funding for the education sector increased from 33 per cent of the requested sum in 2010 to 64 per cent in 2011, funding for the protection sector dropped from 42 to 21 per cent.

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