Target: Catherine Samba-Panza, President of Central African Republic
Goal: End rape, torture, and abuse of innocent civilians by paramilitary group.
A paramilitary group in the Central African Republic is kidnapping young boys, unjustly torturing and killing young women, and sexually assaulting innocent girls. From holding young girls captive as sex slaves for years, to executing boys as young as 6-years-old, the paramilitary group known as anti-balaka is continually wreaking havoc on the livelihoods of innocent civilians.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, there are at least 42 known captives, some as young as a year old, being held for as long as 14 months at a time and forced to endure grave abuses while the Central African Republic’s government stands by.
It is said that the anti-balaka is responsible for repeatedly raping young women while in captivity and claiming them as “wives” without their consent. Without access to contraception, many of these women become pregnant. And, without access to medical treatment while pregnant, many of the children born die almost immediately.
The anti-balaka are allegedly responsible for killing and targeting thousands of Muslims since early 2013. The unrest began after Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a political campaign. As a result, the anti-balaka was born, motivated by a goal to launch large-scale retribution attacks against the Muslim Seleka. In the midst of these attacks, thousands of innocent civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced. Widespread looting of homes and other war crimes were initiated, and, today, the anti-balaka continues to execute shocking tactics to enforce their power.
The national justice system of the Central African Republic has been overrun by the effects of this conflict, political or otherwise, and lacks the necessary resources or expertise to deal with the magnitude of these disturbing crimes. With that being said, the Central African Republic’s government should shed its intimidation and do more to protect their citizens from these injustices.
Sign the petition to urge the President of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, to annihilate the paramilitary group anti-balaka and restore peace to the republic immediately.
Dear President Catherine Samba-Panza,
The turmoil taking place in the Central African Republic has taken the lives of thousands and continues to negatively impact the livelihoods of the country’s civilians. To date, the anti-balaka is allegedly responsible for kidnapping and raping young girls and women, claiming them as “wives” without their consent, and denying them access to medical treatment when they become pregnant.
According to a dispatch report by the Human Rights Watch, the anti-balaka is executing young boys, some as young as six years old, and allowing other captives to become ill or die due to malnutrition. So far, only 13 captives have been rescued while countless others perish at the hands of the anti-balaka and their outrageous approaches to exercising power.
The anti-balaka has also used extortion tactics on unsuspecting families of those held in captivity, threatening economically disadvantaged people to pay exorbitant bonds for their release. It’s been almost two years since the Muslim conflict began and the Central African Republic has yet to instigate any real change.
No child should experience unjust captivity, sexual abuse, and long periods of separation from their families. No child should be executed as a show of over-zealous enforcement of power. And no child should be denied medical attention or die of malnutrition in a jail cell, alone. I urge you to take action and eliminate the paramilitary group anti-balaka to restore peace to the suffering nation and save innocent lives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: GAIA via Flickr