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Crisis in CAR Displaces 200,000

Feb 04, 2021

Blog Post

Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

Refugees from the Central African Republic wait in line in front of the UNHCR administrative offices in Garoua-Boulai, Cameroon, on January 8, 2021.

(Daniel Beloumou Olomo /AFP via Getty Images)

Insecurity in the Central African Republic (CAR) has recently displaced more than 200,000 people and helped form what is perhaps the biggest emerging refugee crisis in the world right now.

While the situation is not yet directly impacting HIAS operations in neighboring Chad, HIAS is aware of developments and watching the situation.

“While carefully monitoring the developments in CAR, HIAS continues its decade-long response to the needs of Darfurian refugees, including expanding its services to accommodate the increased influx from that region as of 2020,” said Raphael Marcus, HIAS’ senior vice president of programs. “We commend Chad’s dedication to refugee rights, most recently reflected in its adoption of the asylum law.”

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is warning that tens of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees who fled CAR are facing dire conditions. Most refugees are living in remote, hard-to-reach areas close to the rivers without basic shelter and facing acute food shortages. The CAR is one of Africa's poorest and most unstable countries. 

Refugee arrivals into the Democratic Republic of the Congo have reached 92,000 according to local authorities, and more than 13,000 people have crossed into Cameroon, Chad, and the Republic of Congo since violence erupted in December 2020. The election-related violence was so severe it forced the government to declare a state of emergency.

The conflict also involves Russia, Rwanda, France, and Chad. France and Chad are allied on one side, and, according to Foreign Policy, Russia has seen CAR as a means of undermining French interests and advancing its own geopolitical goals.