Central African Republic: Student demonstrations in Bangui since 2002, in particular a 20 May 2004 demonstration, as well as the reasons for it and its location; police and military repression at the demonstrations, participants and individuals who were arrested, killed or wanted (2002 - February 2005)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||22 February 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||CAF43385.FE|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Central African Republic: Student demonstrations in Bangui since 2002, in particular a 20 May 2004 demonstration, as well as the reasons for it and its location; police and military repression at the demonstrations, participants and individuals who were arrested, killed or wanted (2002 - February 2005), 22 February 2005, CAF43385.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60b128.html [accessed 18 December 2014]|
The 10 September 2004 issue of L'Hirondelle, an independent newspaper published in Bangui, announced that students at Bangui University had resumed their studies after 1,500 students entitled to a scholarship received the first month of the scholarship. Without providing the date on which the demonstrations began, the same newspaper indicated that students had threatened to resume their protests if they did not soon receive the payment for the remaining two months (L'Hirondelle 10 Sept. 2004).
A 5 March 2004 Agence France Presse (AFP) article indicated that Bangui University students, who had been striking for one month, had begun a four-day truce in order to meet with the authorities to discuss the payment of grants owed since President François Bozize took power [on 15] March 2003. The same article indicated that, during the strike, the students had tried to barricade streets in Bangui and that police had dispersed them with tear gas (AFP 5 Mar. 2004).
Various other articles indicated that, in February 2004, students from Bangui University had erected barricades and thrown stones at vehicles in the streets to protest unpaid academic grants (AFP 25 Feb. 2004; Africa Research Bulletin 25 Mar. 2004, 15641; BBC 19 Feb. 2004) and to demand the reopening of a campus canteen (ibid.; Africa Research Bulletin 25 Mar. 2004). According to an AFP article, about 12 students were arrested by the police, who manhandled them and hit them with truncheons before shoving them roughly into cars (25 Feb. 2004).
In January 2003 and 2002, students at Bangui University had protested against the non-payment of their scholarships (Country Report 2003 25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 2b; IRIN 10 Jan. 2003; AFP 9 Jan. 2003; RFI 10 Jan. 2003). Sources explain that these students had set fire to tires (AFP 9 Jan. 2003; MISNA 9 Jan. 2002) and had thrown stones at cars (IRIN 10 Jan. 2003) in the streets of Bangui before the police (ibid.; RFI 10 Feb. 2003; MISNA 9 Feb. 2003; Country Report 2003 25 Feb. 2005, Sec. 2b; IRIN 10 Jan. 2003) and the presidential special battalion could intervene (ibid.). Citing Le Confident, a local newspaper, an IRIN report indicated that two students were shot dead by police; however, the same article indicated that the director of cabinet at the Ministry of Higher Education denied this information (10 Jan. 2003). No corroboration of this information could be found among the other sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
Without specifying when the incidents occurred, Country Reports 2003 indicated that, on a number of occasions in 2003, police violently dispersed students protesting the non-payment of scholarships (25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 2b.). Country Reports 2002 indicated that incidents of this kind had also taken place several times in 2002, particularly in October, when the police used tear gas to end a protest (31 Mar. 2003, Sec. 2b.).
No mention of a 20 May 2004 student demonstration could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Agence France Presse (AFP). 5 March 2004. "Students in Central Africa Call Truce in Strike." (Dialog)
_____. 25 February 2004. "CAR: Police Arrest Students Protesting Against Unpaid Grants." (Dialog/WNC)
_____. 9 February 2003. "CAR: Security Forces 'Violently' Break Up Student Demonstration." (Dialog/WNC)
Africa Research Bulletin. 25 March 2004. Vol. 41, No. 2. "Central African Republic: Disarmament Approved."
BBC. 19 February 2004. "Central Africa: 'Turmoil' Feared as Teachers Strike, University Students Riot." (Dialog)
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
L'Hirondelle [Bangui]. 10 September 2004. "Selection List: CAR Press 10 Sept. 2004." (Dialog)
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). 10 January 2003. "Calm Returns to Bangui after Student Demonstrations." (Dialog/Africa News Service)
Missionary Service News Agency (MISNA). 9 January 2002. "CAR: Police Forcefully Disperse Student Demonstration in Bangui." (BBC International Report/Dialog)
Radio France Internationale (RFI). 10 January 2003. "Program Summary." (Dialog)
Additional Sources Consulted
Publications: Africa Confidential, Europa World Yearbook, Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent, Keesing's Record of World Events, La Nouvelle lettre de la FIDH, Resource Centre country file.
Internet sites, including: AllAfrica, Amnesty International, FIDH, Human Rights Watch (HRW), ReliefWeb.