On 23 March 2013 the world awoke to the news that President François Bozizé of the Central African Republic (CAR) had fled the country and a rebel coalition had taken the capital. The somewhat automatic response from the African Union (AU) condemning the unconstitutional handover of power was matched by ensuing chaos in the country as a loose coalition of rebel groups, predominantly from the north of the country and broadly Muslim, battled over who would become president. Eventually it was Michael Dijotida who took the helm and oversaw the country for nine months.
It was during that first nine months that some of the most serious human rights abuses were perpetrated, while global leaders pondered their response. As the rebel coalition, known as the Seleka, advanced on the capital, they left death and destruction in their wake. Meanwhile, religious leaders of all faiths would travel to communities, where at times bodies still lay on the ground, to comfort mourners and urge them not to take revenge.
The AU largely led the global response, with the exception of France, which decided to put troops on the ground while the UN negotiated the creation of a peacekeeping mission.
Continue reading “Ten years on from coup in the Central African Republic; armed alliances shift but civilians continue suffering” →
Nigeria’s ruling All Party Congress (APC’s) decision to do away with traditional convention and opt for a same faith ticket, which would result in a same faith presidency, feeds into a religious exclusivism that is inconsistent with the healing balm that a major political party such as the APC – or any other party – should be deploying at this crucial stage of the country’s political development, when instability and insecurity are at such unprecedented levels.
The nation is heavily fragmented along tribal and religious lines, among others. Therefore, political leaders from all parties ought to be advocates of unity through inclusivity, as a reflection of the country’s diversity.
This diversity holds many advantages for the strengthening mutual understanding, oneness, ensuring social cohesion, and fostering sustainable development, when handled correctly. Unfortunately, the APC’s decision to adopt a Muslim-Muslim ticket runs the risk of undermining the remaining gains of harmonious coexistence that the country has been battling to entrench.
Continue reading “Nigeria’s Muslim-Muslim ticket has implications for national cohesion” →
Three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries with severe restrictions on the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) – in fact, it’s one of the most widely-violated human rights in the world.
This blog is all about FoRB; how to better understand the different aspects of this often-overlooked right, the situation in countries where this and other rights are violated – and the perpetrators and victims at the centre of it all.
Expert analysis by members of CSW’s advocacy team, who work in over 20 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, will put a spotlight on FoRB issues in the news and CSW’s research.
Continue reading “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Full” →