Canada and the Central African Republic

Coup d'etat in 2013

The presidency in the CAF has rarely been passed on peacefully. David Dacko, the country's first president, was overthrown in 1965 by Colonel Jean-Bedél Bokassa, who was in turn overthrown by Dacko in 1979. In 1981, he was overthrown again, this time by General André Kolingba. Kolingba governed until 2003, until General Francois Bozizé staged a coup and named himself president. On March 24 2013, another coup d'etat took place in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Bozizé was overthrown by Séléka (a coalition of rebel groups) and Michael Djotodia, their leader, named himself president on March 30 2013. This coup was not unexpected; two other conspiracies to overthrow General Bozizé (shown below) were uncovered in 2012, and rebel groups had been working their way to the capital for more than two months.

International Reaction

On April 1st, the former opposition parties in the CAF announced that they would boycott the government put in place by the Seleka. Government representatives in Chad refused to recognize the new president, instead hoping for a transitional council to be formed and for genuine democratic elections to occur. On April 6, Djotodia signed a decree for the formation of a council that would serve as a transitional parliament. The council was told to find a president to serve until the election in 18 months.

The African Union suspended the participation of the Central African Republic in all of the organization's activities, they were suspended from participation in the International Organization of la Francophonie (membership that they shared with Canada).

During the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Durban, South Africa on March 27, there was notably no condemnation of the coup, though the UN did condemn it in continued security council meetings. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon described the security situation in the country in November of 2013 as precarious with government authority nonexistent outside of Bangui (the capital).

"Canada, along with other UN member countries, enacted sanctions under the United Nations Act to give effect to the Security Council's resolutions. The measures imposed against CAR include:

  • a prohibition on the export of arms and related materiel to CAR or to any person in CAR;
  • a prohibition on the provision, to any person in the CAR, of technical assistance related to military activities;
  • an assets freeze against persons designated by the UN sanctions committee established to oversee the arms embargo (the Committee); and
  • a travel ban against persons designated by the Committee." (international.gc.ca)

How and why is Canada Involved?

Canada involved themselves, alone with other UN member nations (UK, India, France) in the turmoil in this troubled region. Canada's concerns lay the most with  the continuing political and security instability in the CAR, the humanitarian and human rights situation, and the ongoing violence between Christian and Muslim communities as well as the impacts of this crisis on neighboring countries. We provide aid through worldwide organizations and work to promote humanitarian work and help the country as a whole; re-establishing a government, while discouraging and condemning any uprising of violence in the country. Canada has been providing assistance to many partner organizations in the country for many years; through Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and Save the Children Canada, we've contributed an estimated 17.53 million as essentially humanitarian aid.

Why is this significant for Canada's foreign policy?

Canada has always had a propensity for offering struggling countries aid. We allocate a certain percent of our budget for humanitarian purposes and with the turmoil following this coup in 2013,  it was necessary that we help the country get back on its feet. Since we started offering assistance, a new president and prime minister are in power and government presence and prevalence are expanding throughout the country. The world, and the UN, need to come together when there's problems/war/turmoil, and they need  to work together to solve the problems and help the people affected.

Bibliography

"FIFTHBRICS SUMMIT." FIFTH BRICS SUMMIT. BRICS, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015. <http://www.brics5.co.za/>.

"Central African Republic: Another Western Backed Coup D'Etat." Global Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/central-african-intrigue-another-western-backed-coup-detat/5330013>.

"Canadian Sanctions Related to Central African Republic." Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Assistant Deputy Minister Public Affairs, Corporate Communications. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015. <http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/countries-pays/car-rca.aspx?lang=eng>.

Flag of CAF. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6f/Flag_of_the_Central_African_Republic.svg/2000px-Flag_of_the_Central_African_Republic.svg.png>.

Canada Flag. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/cf/Flag_of_Canada.svg/1280px-Flag_of_Canada.svg.png>.

Image of Bazize. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/25/85025-004-3240652D.jpg>.

Civil War CAF. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/files/2013/12/bangui.jpg>.

Red Cross in Syria. Digital image. Red Cross. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.redcross.ca/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=6f7063db-6d2a-461c-ad89-255392880cae>.

By: Connor Mowat

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