Muslim and Christian, men and women, young and old, urban and rural. My colleague Mark Yarnell and I have spent the last two weeks meeting with internally displaced people (IDPs) across the Central African Republic and with those living across the border as refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We’ve visited those living in both formal camps and in informal sites, including churches, mosques, urban centers, and with host communities. Speaking with dozens of IDPs and refugees, we heard unconscionable stories of suffering and horrific accounts of violence. Many felt hopeless about their futures after living in terrible conditions for years. But others were more optimistic, and told us of their hopes to return home and rebuild their lives.
The Central Africa Republic has been embroiled in civil conflict since a
rebel movement from the north descended on the capital, Bangui, and
overthrew the government in December 2013. While stability has since
improved in some parts of the Central African Republic, the situation in
the town of Bambari remains volatile.
In September 2013, fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a Muslim rebel group in the port city of Zamboanga on Mindanao forced 120,000 people - primarily minority Muslims - to flee. More than a year later, tens of thousands remain displaced, living in deplorable conditions.
Refugees International (RI) advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises.
We are an independent organization, and do not accept any government or UN funding.