On March 3, the House overwhelmingly adopted H.Res. 387 by a margin of 378 to 7, a clear sign of support for the Central African Republic (CAR).
The resolution condemns armed groups’ role in ongoing violence against civilians in CAR and supports efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the conflict, building on a peace agreement signed last year in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. It comes two weeks after clashes in the northeast left more than a dozen dead.
Lead Democratic sponsor Rep. David Cicilline (RI-1) stated the following:
“While CAR has made significant progress toward democracy over the past few years, the continued support of the United States and international partners is key to achieving long-lasting peace. I’m proud that this bill reaffirming our support for CAR, for the ongoing United Nations and international peacekeeping efforts, and for the full implementation of the Khartoum Peace Agreement passed the House today with overwhelming bipartisan support. I thank Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and my colleagues for their support of this important bill.”
Contact: Ursala Knudsen-Latta, Friends Committee on National Legislation, email@example.com
Lead Republican sponsor Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) explained the timeliness of the resolution as the Central African nation begins preparations for elections later this year:
“The Central African Republic is a forgotten place. It’s been in conflict and famished for decades. Resolving to bring security to this crossroads of Africa is the right and proper thing to do, so that resource-rich CAR can become a self-sufficient, democratic member of the community of nations.”
The resolution calls on the international community to support ongoing peace efforts and condemns killings of civilians by armed groups. The resolution also calls on the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to increase investments in peacebuilding, lifesaving relief and economic recovery efforts, and to ensure that the U.S. and U.N. missions are adequately resourced.
As Quakers, FCNL is always in search of peaceful, diplomatic solutions to conflict, and welcomed the House’s call for all parties in the conflict “to advance long-term sustainable peace for the citizens of the Central African Republic.”
Non-governmental organizations have also praised the passage of H.Res. 387. Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign, said “the House of Representatives took an important step by recognizing the challenges facing the Central African Republic. Having witnessed the work of UN Peacekeepers, Representatives Cicilline and Fortenberry understand how critical U.S. and UN support is to CAR and the surrounding region.”
Mike Jobbins from Search for Common Ground noted that “independent evaluations have shown that U.S. investments in peacebuilding and conflict prevention have had in saving lives and strengthened communities. U.S. engagement is vital as we look to consolidate peace and prepare for upcoming elections.”