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Special Briefing: Building Sustainable Peace and Security in the Central African Republic
Oxford Research Group
Richard Reeve
11 December 2013
      - The Central African Republic (CAR) has been unstable throughout its 53 years of independence. In 2013 it is experiencing an acute escalation of conflict across the country that has displaced at least 460,000 and risks mass atrocities as deadly violence divides communities.

      - No country has experienced more military ‘peace support’ interventions than the CAR in the last two decades, yet none has been successful in restoring sustainable peace and security. The latest UN-mandated, EU- and US-funded, French-supported and African-led intervention may be sufficient to protect civilians in parts of the CAR in the short term. However, a larger, multidimensional force managed directly by the UN is likely to be necessary to disarm the population and build sustainable peace in 2014 and beyond.

       - The CAR state has never succeeded in establishing much presence beyond the capital, Bangui. Even this limited presence has collapsed in 2013. The task and opportunity beyond 2014 is not just to pacify the territory and elect a new government but to rebuild almost all CAR state institutions and infrastructure in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

       - The CAR is where the chronic conflict zones of Africa’s Great Lakes and Eastern Sahel (Chad, Sudan and South Sudan) converge. No solution to the CAR crisis is possible without a regional peace process and regional cooperation. Situated between the CAR and Nigeria, northern Cameroon and southwest Chad may be vulnerable to the violent polarisation of communities according to religion underway in both neighbours.

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