Peter Bouckaert, Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch, has just returned from the Central African Republic.
Peter, along with his HRW team, has given this program exclusive footage documenting horrific violence, destruction and the mass exodus of Muslims from the country which the United Nations says amounts to “ethnic cleansing”.
Peter Bouckaert told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour “the Muslim population of the Central African Republic is facing an unprecedented wave of violence”.
“We were in the country for just over three weeks and personally witnessed 12 lynching’s or attempted lynching’s… it’s a scene of absolute brutality in the Central African Republic at the moment,” he says.
The Central African Republic was plunged into chaos last year after a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels dubbed ‘Seleka’ ousted president Francois Bozize.
They have since been forced out of power but Christian militias known as the anti-balaka have been allowed to fill the power vacuum.
Peter Bouckaert says more peacekeeping troops are needed on the ground.
“The small presence of the African peacekeepers and the French peacekeepers is simply not enough to stop the violence. We have gone out to many of these communities and people are really desperate to stop these attacks… We need a much larger peacekeeping presence, hopefully a full UN peacekeeping mission so this violence can stop and the Muslim community can continue to live in this country where they have lived for generations and generations. It will take a much greater international effort than what is underway at the moment”.
Click above to watch Amanpour’s interview with Peter Bouckaert.