central african republic
Following the civil war, 260,000 Central African refugees found shelter in neighbouring Cameroon including 62 per cent of children, living in very precarious conditions in refugee camps or with host communities. More than 88,000 children are still not in school.
On World Humanitarian Day, August 19th, the United Nations asks us to "recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others." There are many Canadian humanitarians working with aid agencies to help people in desperate need all around the world.
We must reclaim our position as a strong advocate for human rights and peace. In order to do this, we must do more than increase our financial support to the Central African Republic. We must condemn the abhorrent acts of violence against women and children. We must advocate for religious tolerance and reconciliation. And we must denounce the international apathy that has allowed this crisis to drag on for so long.
The number of major crises taking place around the globe this past year has been unparalleled in recent history. In fact, 2014 often seemed filled with intractable emergencies that were simply too big, too complex and too daunting to fathom, let alone solve. This felt particularly true when it came to humanitarian action.
During this holiday season, Canadians come together to care for one another -- we find ways to support our local communities. As we get ready to celebrate the beginning of 2015, I would like to share with you my wishes for the children who are suffering through the world's worst humanitarian crises.
Thursday is the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely endorsed human rights treaty in history. The Convention enshrines children's rights to protection, survival, development and participation. For a quarter century it has influenced laws, policies and government priorities in 194 countries. Most importantly, it has changed how children are viewed and treated.
Will the Government of Canada make a second humanitarian contribution to South Sudan to avoid yet another human catastrophe? Moreover, given that nutrition is one of the key pillars of the Every Woman Every Child Initiative, it is counterproductive to wait until South Sudan is classified as a severe famine before intervening.
It's been hanging over us in impending fashion for years. It creeps in around the edges of consciousness, leaving its effects
Self-congratulations and blanket statements of support are not helping the children of CAR, who face crimes against humanity and war crimes. What we do now or fail to do will have an impact on society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.
Will Canada support the organization and monitoring of fair and free elections that will take place in one year? CAR must not become another Rwanda. As the Government considers what action to take, it must remember that what we do now or fail to do will have an impact on CAR society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.