An insurgency in the Central African Republic (CAR) led by Seleka (or “alliance”)—a coalition of armed, primarily Muslim groups—has resulted in the severe deterioration of the country’s security infrastructure and heightened ethnic tensions, which collectively increase the risk of mass atrocities. Seleka launched an offensive against the CAR government in December 2012, seizing the capital city of Bangui in March 2013. “Anti-balaka” coalitions of Christian fighters formed to carry out reprisal violence against Seleka fighters, displacing tens of thousands of Muslims to Seleka-controlled areas in the north.
The CAR has since seen a surge in human rights violations (including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity), increasing tensions between Christians and Muslims, intra-Seleka fighting, and the arrival of foreign fighters from Chad and Sudan.
Recently, Christian militias in Central African Republic have carried out ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population during the country's ongoing civil war, but there is no proof there was genocidal intent, a United Nations commission of inquiry. "Although the commission cannot conclude that there was genocide, ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population by the anti-balaka constitutes a crime against humanity," the report said. There is a strong fear of a potential genocide as this area has many of the same tensions and warning signs as Rwanda and Darfur. The French army is already involved in the Central African Republic, but they are there because this is one of their negative colonial legacies. The French are there to keep the peace and protect civilians.
What should Canada do? Should Canada do nothing and let the two groups figure it out themselves no matter the cost of human suffering? Should Canada offer peacekeepers to the United Nations to try to maintain the peace and protect civilians? Should the Canadian military offer to send soldiers to work alongside the French soldiers, bilaterally, to help protect civilians and initiate a peace treaty? Or should Canada take the lead and send in a peacemaking force and go after the group that has been singled out as the main offenders of the crimes against humanity/ethnic cleansing based on the United Nations Commission of Inquiry in the CAR(2015)?
Is it in Canada’s national interest to get involved in this volatile situation? If yes, what are two reasons for your perspective? If not, what are two reasons for your perspective? Make sure you use past evidence to help justify your opinions. Response must be over 350 words.