Exclusion of Central African refugees in electoral process of "serious" concern

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Refugees from Central African Republic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: UNHCR File Photo/B.Sokol

The refusal by the authorities to allow Central African refugees to vote in the upcoming presidential elections has been described as a deeply concerning situation by top UN humanitarian officials.

The warning on Monday was issued by the entire humanitarian community in the Central African Republic, including the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country and the High Commissioner for Refugees.

In recent years, the Central African state experienced a major political crisis that led to violent conflict affecting almost all of the population.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Since December 2013 more than 460,000 Central Africans have fled to Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad. 

This represents 10 per cent of the population, which the UN says cannot be ignored. 

In statement, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Central African Republic, Aurélien Agbénonci, said he wants to draw attention to the consequences of excluding them from presidential and parliamentary elections. 

These are scheduled to take place on 18 October, with a possible second round for the presidential election on 22 November. 

Mr Agbénonci underlined that such exclusion would affect the credibility and inclusiveness of the elections. 

In addition to almost half a million refugees in neighbouring countries, approximately 25 per cent of the Central African population has been displaced inside the nation. 

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 58″

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