Statement by the Press Secretary on the Central African Republic
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In late 2012, armed groups began a rebellion that sparked a period of devastating instability, lawlessness, and anarchy in the Central African Republic (CAR) that led to the overthrow of its government in early 2013. Escalating violence and human rights abuses set the stage for the eruption of sectarian conflict by December 2013. Communities that have lived together peacefully for generations are being torn apart along sectarian lines. More than 2.5 million of the country's 4.6 million people need humanitarian assistance. Approximately one million people have been displaced. Growing attacks perpetrated by both Muslim and Christian militias have brought CAR to a crisis of disastrous proportions.
That is why today President Obama issued a new Executive Order declaring a national emergency and authorizing the imposition of sanctions to deal with the threat posed by the situation in the CAR. The Executive Order also imposes sanctions on five individuals – sending a powerful message that impunity will not be tolerated and that those who threaten the stability of the CAR will face consequences. Today's actions follows the UN Security Council's unanimous vote in January to establish a sanctions regime against those responsible for instability and atrocities in the CAR, and the listing of three individuals by the UN Security Council CAR Sanctions Committee on May 9.
The United States continues to work with the international community, regional partners, and CAR's transitional authorities to help set the country on a path toward recovery. We strongly support the African Union, French, and European Union forces who have been working to reestablish security for the people of the CAR, and the UN peacekeepers who will continue their heroic work. We stand with the courageous individuals who continue to call for peace and reconciliation. We will continue to provide support to the Transitional Government as it works to restore governance and pave the way for a return to an elected government, and to deliver humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict. We urge all parties to end the violence, to ensure justice and accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses, and to work together to forge a brighter and more prosperous future for all Central Africans.