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Many countries around the world are locked in a cycle of poverty, conflicts and destruction. Few, however, have received as little attention as the Central African Republic (CAR). Since its independence from France in 1960, CAR has been embroiled in a cycle of military coups attempts and violent power transitions, leaving the country fragmented, underdeveloped and violent.[1] Successive governments have had little control outside of the capital Bangui, and instability has been aggravated by warlords, rebels and mercenaries, who freely use remote rural areas as bases for their operations.[2] Several peacekeeping forces and investigations by the International Criminal Court into serious crimes allegedly committed in CAR have made international news, but the situation remains relatively unknown, especially in comparison with conflicts in neighboring Darfur and Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet, this is a critical time for CAR. Conflicts in Darfur and the Lord’s Resistance Army’s presence in the south-east of the country highlight the need for a regional approach to security. Internally, the challenges are to address the presence of several armed groups, hold presidential elections, and disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate former combatants. This study aims to provide a better understanding the scope and magnitude of violence in CAR and its consequences, as well as a snapshot of what the citizens of CAR believe is the best way to restore peace and rebuild their country. The goal is to inform the development of policies that will affect survivors’ individual and collective lives for years to come.

The MacArthur Foundation profiled the study in the YouTube video below:



[1] International Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°69: Central African Republic: Keeping the Dialogue Alive. Nairobi/Brussels: ICG, 2010; Berman EG, Lombard LN The Central African Republic and Small Arms. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2008.

[2] International Crisis Group. Africa Report N°136: Central African Republic: Anatomy of a Phantom State. Nairobi/Brussels: ICG, 2007.