WASHINGTON, DC, April 23, 2014 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commends the appointment of a new U.S. Special Representative for the Central African Republic (CAR). We hope Ambassador W. Stuart Symington’s extensive and relevant experience will allow him to bring new diplomatic energy to addressing the conflict in CAR, ensuring access to people in need, and providing even more needed assistance. We also hope the announcement demonstrates that the U.S. government is on track to reopen the U.S. embassy in the war-torn country.
“This appointment is another sign of the U.S. Government’s commitment to CAR and to the humanitarian, economic, and security efforts that will be necessary for people to resume their lives in peace,” said Bill O’Keefe, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at CRS. “CRS will work with Ambassador Symington and others to bring concern, attention and action to the challenges facing CAR.”
CRS recognizes the Obama administration’s commitment of up to $100 million this year to the efforts of African Union and French forces to successfully re-establish security in CAR, as well as more than an additional $75 million for humanitarian assistance and conflict mitigation programs.
“Re-establishing security is paramount to the future of CAR,” O’Keefe said. “Our ability to help communities of all faiths reconcile and rebuild, and for people to return to their livelihoods depends on it.”
CRS, along with the Catholic Church in CAR, has responded to the humanitarian needs brought about by the conflict, providing emergency shelter, food, living supplies, agricultural recovery inputs and medical care. CRS has also worked to promote peace and social cohesion through projects working with Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders as well as other community leaders and institutions to facilitate a process of reconciliation.
The Church has been on the forefront of the response, supporting and caring for people of all faiths affected by the conflict.
# # #
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 93 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief and @CRSnews, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.