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07 December 2023

OIC concerned over sectarian killing of Muslims in Africa

By Wam

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday said it was gravely disturbed by the recent escalation in sectarian killings in the Central African Republic (CAR), with the minority Muslim population being, once more, the target of attacks by the Christian anti-Balaka group.

"Although there was a short lull in the attacks against Muslims in the capital Bangui, sadly the Muslim Peuhl herdsmen tribe, scattered in many parts of CAR, have been systematically hunted and massacred by the anti-Balaka since the peak of the sectarian crisis early 2014, without so much attracting the attention of the international community. However, recently the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Human Rights Watch and several media outfits have voiced their serious concern over the plight of the Peuhl, trapped since April 2014 in Yaloke, around 200 kilometres from Bangui, and who have been "living in abysmal conditions and under constant duress".

Human Right Watch went on to say, "the Peuhl trapped in some of these enclaves face a grim choice: leave and face possible attack from anti-Balaka fighters, or stay and die from hunger".

Even more appalling, is the allegation that both the CAR Interim Government and the UN peacekeepers are blocking the Peuhl from leaving the enclaves for safety in Cameroun or Chad, which is in violation of international law. The UNHCR has reported several cases of death among the Peuhl as a result of starvation, chronic malaria and tuberculosis. There is a fear that if nothing is done urgently, the trapped Peuhl will soon perish under their current condition.

Disturbed by this unfortunate development, IPHRC is calling on the Secretary-General of the United Nations, UNHCR, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, as well as the Interim Government of CAR to take all necessary measures to rescue the trapped Peuhl population and to evacuate them to the nearest refugee camps in Cameroun or Chad, which are their preferred destinations.

IPHRC also appealed to the OIC Secretary-General to revisit the commission's recommendations in its report on the CAR, adopted by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers at its 41st session, and to set in place the necessary mechanisms for their implementation.