GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The crisis in Syria shouldn't draw international focus completely away from a lingering crisis in the Central African Republic, U.N. leaders said.
CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye told the U.N. General Assembly last week his country is on the brink of collapse because of humanitarian and national security challenges. The rebel Seleka coalition, which toppled the government this year, is suspected of committing war crimes in the country, prompting the International Criminal Court to investigate.
Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh, two U.N. advisers addressing genocide and the protection of civilians, said in joint statement Tuesday the situation in CAR is deteriorating quickly.
"While the international community is deeply engaged with crisis situations around the world and with the crisis in Syria in particular, we must not forget other populations that are equally in need of protection," they said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week it was responding to the needs of those "hard hit by continuing armed clashes" in parts of the country west of the capital Bangui.
It said more than 50 bodies were buried after their identities were confirmed.
"While the international community has yet to engage in a concerted way to prevent atrocities in CAR, there is still time to take steps to halt the escalation of this crisis and the suffering of the population," the special envoys said.