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Minister Costello calls for urgent response to Central African Republic crisis

Irish Aid, Minister Joe Costello, Press Releases, Africa, 2014

 

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello T.D., has underlined the need for stronger international action to end the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

The Minister was speaking before a High-Level meeting on the crisis taking place in Brussels on Monday morning which brings together representatives from EU member states, neighbouring countries, the UN and NGOs. 

Minister Costello said:

“I recently announced funding of €2 million to the UN to support its efforts to provide the most vulnerable in the Central African Republic with food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. This brings Ireland’s total contribution to the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund for the Central African Republic since it was established in 2008 to €14 million.

“This crisis is affecting the country’s entire population of 4.6 million with 2.2 million people in urgent need of lifesaving emergency assistance.  They need the support of the international community not just now but into the future, if we are to prevent the violence of recent months from happening again.

“I am gravely concerned at the impact of the violence on children. Children and adults have been victims of killings, disappearances, torture, ill treatment, and sexual violence. I call for all those who have perpetrated acts of violence against civilians and contravened international human rights law to be held accountable without delay.”

“Ireland is strongly committed to addressing humanitarian needs in protracted crises. I hope that this meeting will help to focus the efforts of the international community.” 

The meeting, which brings together a wide range of stakeholders, will hear about the impact of the response to date and the challenges faced by humanitarian agencies. Participants will also discuss key humanitarian priorities for the coming months.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore T.D., is also in Brussels to attend a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council at which the crisis in the Central African Republic will be discussed.

ENDS

Press Office

19 January 2014

 

Notes to the Editor:

-        Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

-        The Central African Republic (CAR) has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960. A protracted humanitarian crisis caused by the legacy of civil conflict and continuing instability has endured for more than a decade.

-         The country has been in chaos since rebel leader Michel Djotodia ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013. Djotodia left office on 10 January 2014, and the current transitional Government has minimal authority even in the capital.

-        Following fighting which started on 5 December 2013, an African Union peacekeeping mission, acting under a UN mandate, has been responsible for restoring security in the Central African Republic. In addition up to 1,600 French troops have been deployed.

-        Ireland has been a long-standing supporter of the UN Common Humanitarian Fund for CAR since it was established in 2008. To date Ireland has provided €14m to the Fund, allowing the UN and NGOs present in the Central African Republic to undertake life-saving work with the most vulnerable communities.