Freedom in Central African Republic

The Political Context, State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Capital: Bangui

Population: 4,659,080

GDP 2017 (US$ million): 1,949.41 

Language: French, Sango

Political Regime Type: Unitary Semi-Presidential Constitutional Republic

President: Faustin-Archange Touadéra

Current Political Context

  • The government has minimal control outside the capital with armed groups continuing to fight for territorial control, targeting civilians, humanitarian workers and peacekeepers

State of Democracy

  • Presidential elections in February 2016 were deemed free and fair, despite reports of irregularities
  • 2016 constitution established a bicameral parliament with a directly elected National Assembly held in May 2016 while elections for Senate have yet to be carried out
  • In June, the government and 13 of the 14 armed groups signed a peace agreement which included immediate ceasefire, political representation for armed groups, and the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission

State of Rule of Law

  • There is small progress in creating a Special Criminal Court to continue investigations of crimes committed in the country, composing of international and national judges and prosecutors 
  • Impunity still is one of the main challenges when addressing past and ongoing atrocities

State of Human Rights

  • Much of the country remains insecure and unstable due to severe human rights violations
  • Despite the presence of United Nations peacekeepers, armed groups control key towns
  • Rape and sexual assault of women is rampant, and survivors of sexual violence continue to face stigma, rejection, and other barriers to accessing services and justice
  • UN peacekeeping missions has deployed 10,050 military peacekeepers and 2,000 polices across the country but still struggle to establish security in key areas and sufficiently protect civilians
  • UN estimated that there are total about 601,600 internally displaced people and about 538,400 refugees 
  • Nearly half the population (2.4 million) needs humanitarian assistance and 1.4 were food insecure, reported the UN

Freedom House Democracy Index Score (2018): 29/100