Central African Republic situation

man carrying building poles
Inter-tribal clashes in the Central African Republic (CAR) in August 2019 forced many to flee to safety in Sudan. Refugees from the Central African Republic receive a distribution of shelter materials from UNHCR partner, Norwegian Church Aid, at Al Amal settlement in Sudan’s South Darfur region.   © UNHCR/Modesta Ndubi

Latest updates

Global Appeal 2023

2023 population planning figures 

  • Refugees and asylum-seekers: 624,000 

  • IDPs: 550,000 

  • Refugee and IDP returnees: 236,500 


2023 situation overview 

One in every four Central Africans was displaced in 2022, a figure that testifies to the severity of the protracted forced displacement crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). Yet 2022 was marked by improvements in the security environment in some localities, allowing voluntary repatriations to safe areas to resume in May. At the same time, new difficulties such as global inflationary pressures and a fuel crisis linked to the war in Ukraine are affecting refugees, internally displaced people and host communities alike, exacerbating protection risks, reducing humanitarian access and forcing voluntary repatriation to come to a temporary halt.  

As the situation remains fragile, UNHCR’s response in 2023 will be key to ensuring that hard-won progress is not lost. Protection will remain at the heart of UNHCR’s response on the ground, with particular attention paid to the prevention of gender-based violence risk mitigation and response, and accountability to affected populations. UNHCR will continue to deliver protection, emergency shelter and core relief items to internally displaced people in line with its IASC mandate.  

Building on the Yaoundé Declaration signed in April 2022, UNHCR will operationalize a Solutions Support Platform bringing together the seven governments and relevant stakeholders affected by displacement from the CAR. This platform will seek to mobilize all the necessary support and resources to secure durable solutions both in the countries of asylum and in the CAR, from effective refugee inclusion to voluntary returns.  

Global Report 2021

2021 Year-end population figures

  • Refugees and asylum seekers: 737,000
  • IDPs: 692,000
  • IDP and refugee returns: 377,000

2021 Situation overview

The start of 2021 saw an influx of tens of thousands of Central African refugees into neighbouring countries, as post-electoral violence forced them to flee their homes. Throughout the year, the political and security situation improved but remained volatile and precarious in the country, which is home to one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world. The prevalence of gender-based violence, a rise in child protection incidents and the increased use of explosive devices contributed to an unfavourable and uncertain protection environment. Despite this difficult context, a ceasefire in the autumn and the resulting improvement of security conditions allowed UNHCR to resume supporting voluntary returns in October 2021, offering prospects and solutions for Central Africans wishing to return. In the final quarter of the year, UNHCR organized the voluntary repatriation of around 5,600 Central African refugees to safe areas within the country, with many IDPs also electing to regain their homes.

In addition to strengthening its presence in key return areas, UNHCR worked to improve the protection environment. In 2021, UNHCR set up and supported 89 protection committees, and identified and analysed close to 8,000 protection incidents. UNHCR strengthened its gender-based violence response by reinforcing, rehabilitating and equipping 26 dedicated support centres so that they could provide survivors with holistic support (psychosocial support; quality casework; referral services with additional support for transport and medical fees; dignity kits and other material and financial support; communal support and group activities for survivors), while also introducing a hotline enabling survivors located in remote areas to benefit from psychosocial support and case management. In total, close to 3,600 survivors benefited from those enhanced gender-based violence protection services in 2021.

To protect IDPs, UNHCR continued to lead the protection, shelter/core relief items and camp coordination and camp management clusters. Over 14,000 internally displaced people received core relief item kits, and UNHCR covered and reinforced 40% of all IDPs’ shelters with plastic sheets. In addition, UNHCR continued its advocacy efforts, promoting the domestication of the Kampala Convention and actively pursuing regional dialogue with governments and partners in the search of solutions for all affected populations in the Central African Republic and host countries.