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Farrow: Central African Republic is failed state

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JOHN HEILPRIN | November 14, 2013 11:47 AM EST | AP

GENEVA (AP) — UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow says the Central African Republic is a failed state on the verge of genocide, and she is calling for an expanded U.N.-authorized peacekeeping force.

The actress and activist, who has just returned from a weeklong trip to the country, on Thursday described the government as "useless."

"The seeds are present for a genocide," she said, echoing the assessment of U.N. officials.

"It's an abandoned population, because the world has looked away," she told reporters at the United Nations' European headquarters in Geneva.

Farrow showed pictures she took of children's drawings of gunmen shooting people, reflecting the country's lawlessness.

U.N. officials say the nation, one of the world's poorest with a long history of chaos and coups, has been collapsing since rebel groups joined forces to overthrow the president in March and put their leader in charge.

Human rights groups have accused rebel forces of committing scores of atrocities, widespread looting and conscription of child soldiers.

Farrow said a larger U.N.-authorized force with a stronger mandate is needed.

Last month, the U.N. Security Council unanimously backed a new African Union peacekeeping force, which was established in the country in July and has about 1,900 of its authorized 3,600 troops.

"When you see a failed state in that region it's a calling card to extremist groups," Farrow said.

Farrow previously visited the country representing the U.N. children's agency in 2007 and 2008.