After two years of devastating conflict in the Central African Republic, the signing of a disarmament deal by 10 armed groups this month is a small, but welcome step in the right direction. But the crisis is far from over: Close to 900,000 people have had to flee from their homes in this latest of many wars - and most are still too afraid to return.
The latest round of conflict started when a group of rebels, known as the Seleka, ousted former President Francois Bozize in March 2013. Fighting between the mostly Muslim Seleka and the Christian anti-Balaka militias led to numerous grave violations against the civilian population and a de facto separation of the country along sectarian lines. Now a transitional government is left to rebuild a country where mistrust still runs deep and the economy is in ruins. More than half of the country's population is in need of humanitarian assistance.
Prominent figures are due to meet at an International Conference on the Central African Republic in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss humanitarian assistance to the country. My message to them from us who work on the ground is that donors, neighbours, and national actors all need to show long-term commitment to make positive change a durable thing.
From the cycles of conflict in the past, one thing should be clear: There are no quick fixes.
What we see today in Bangui and in the villages where the Norwegian Refugee Council works, is a deeply divided nation and a conflict that has devastated communities.
The presence of armed groups and criminal elements present a constant security threat. Civilians, including humanitarian staff, are threatened, harassed, and attacked. Killings, kidnappings and intimidation persist. Violations take place across all ethnicities and religious groups and with complete impunity.
Many who have been forced to flee report that they do not know if they will ever be able to return. Too many communities appear unwilling to welcome them back. For refugees and internally displaced persons that wish to return, the destruction and pillaging of their homes and the occupation of land and property presents another barrier.
Still, there is some glimmer of hope. In Carnot, a mining town in the west of the country where 30 percent of the population has been displaced, people are starting to speak about going home.
More than 500 Muslims have sought refuge at the Catholic mission in Carnot, which is guarded by international peacekeepers. Young men from this group had not been able to set foot outside the mission for fear of being killed.
Many who have been forced to flee report that they do not know if they will ever be able to return. Too many communities appear unwilling to welcome them back.