August 22, 2013 (KAMPALA) - The African Union (AU) has called on member states to provide more support to communities affected by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).
The AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) made the call on Monday during its 391st sitting.
“The Council appealed to all AU member states to provide assistance to conflict-afflicted civilians in CAR and DRC”, said an AU statement released on 19 August to coincide with World Humanitarian Day which is held annually to mark the contribution of aid workers.
The AU’s call for more assistance for DRC and CAR came only a week after United Nations officials warned that the CAR poses a significant threat to peace in the Great Lakes region.
In March, president Francois Bozize was toppled by Seleka rebels, with the UN accusing the new government of failing to maintain law and order in the country.
The new government has also ordered the Ugandan army and its US supporters, currently hunting for the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, Joseph Kony, to leave its territory.
The Ugandan army and 100 US soldiers sent to advise forces hunting for Kony subsequently suspended operations against the LRA, leading to fears the rebels, who are thought to be at their weakest, could regroup and again target the civilian population.
DRC on the other hand has had a long history of violence along its eastern borders, often leading to thousands of refugees fleeing to Uganda. In July, fresh fighting broke out in eastern Congo, forcing 66,000 refugees into Uganda.
Uganda complained that the refugees had put its resources under enormous stress and called on the DRC to resolve its internal problems.
In its recent sitting, the AU condemned the violence in eastern Congo and urged the warring parties to peacefully resolve their grievances
“The council condemned the escalation of fighting in the east of DRC and urged both government and armed opposition to conclude the peace talks under the auspices of the ICGLR ( International Conference on the Great Lakes Region) to facilitate restoration of stability in DRC and the return of the displaced population”, the AU said in a statement.
The AU also urged the international community to “provide and increase assistance towards emergency humanitarian needs and protection of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)” in CAR and DRC.