Mia Farrow's plea for the Central African Republic
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 01:02
The actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador talks about her recent visit to the country and her wish for peace. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
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STORY: Actress Mia Farrow met with the press at the United Nations on Tuesday (July 22) to share details from her recent trip to the Central African Republic.
This is the fourth trip for the activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to the region and Farrow said the effects of violence of the people there is only getting worse.
Farrow spent most of her time in the town of Boda, and visited with displaced women and children.
"It is the children that you worry about most because when talking to the children in the town of Boda. I talked to both Muslim and Christian groups, not together. The Muslim were asking for Muslim teachers to be sent to them. They did not want Christian teachers. They had their Muslim children and they had big sticks that they were laying on the backs of their students when we walked in. And we asked them please, don't do that. But the fear in the faces in the women and in the children is something that you can never forget," she said during the noon briefing.
Violence spiraled in the former French colony after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the government of President Francois Bozize in March 2013 and Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president of the majority Christian country.
Medical charity MSF said a survey of nearly 33,000 Central African refugees in neighboring Chad had shown 8 percent questioned had lost at least one member of their family.
Refugees reported 2,599 deaths between November 2013 and April 2014, the report said. A third of 3,449 families had lost at least one member, whilst a quarter had lost at least two.
Previous estimates of the death toll in the landlocked country based on the number of bodies collected by Red Cross workers had been in the region of 1,000 to 2,000 dead, mostly during a flare-up in fighting in December and January.
Seleka's rule was marked by a string of rights abuses, which spawned a Christian militia known as the 'anti-balaka'.
Djotodia stepped down in January under intense international pressure and violence has continued under the weak interim government despite the presence of about 6,000 African Union peacekeepers and 2,000 French troops.
The United Nations says that around 1 million people have been forced to abandon their homes in search of security - nearly a quarter of the population. Some 390,000 people have fled the Central African Republic as refugees.
"For now what I wish for is humanitarian aid access to all the people so they don't all die of starvation. And I wish for an cessation of the violence in Central Africa Republic so that people can reclaim the tatters of their lives and rebuild. It will take a generation, this kind of destruction will take time. There's been too much killing to say well in a month or in a year all will be forgotten. But, you want to see the road towards peace."
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