CAR: UN must urgently deploy a peacekeeping mission

Press release
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The UN Security Council met two days ago to discuss different options on how to respond to the growing crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), and are expected to vote next week on a draft resolution presented by France. In an open letter sent yesterday to the UN Security Council, FIDH calls for a comprehensive and decisive response to the crisis, notably through the creation of a UN Peacekeeping Mission in the CAR.

The UN Security Council must immediately authorize the creation of a UN Peacekeeping Mission in the CAR, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. Any delays in doing so will result in more lives lost, and the country collapsing further into chaos.

While the Security Council discussed the immediate need for a stronger mandate and increased UN financial and logistical support to AFISM-CAR (the African Union force currently being deployed in the CAR), this will not be sufficient to address growing instability in the country. AFISM-CAR does not have the capacity or expertise to deal with the crimes being committed on a gross and systematic scale in the CAR, including increasing inter-communal and religious violence. In addition, the longer term challenges of political transition, the promotion of human rights and the establishment of rule of law require a more comprehensive international engagement. The urgent deployment of a robust UN force is the best option in order to ensure the effective protection of civilians from violence, and to help establish long-term stability and reconciliation.

The UN Secretary General’s latest report on the CAR published this week already outlines provisions and recommendations for the creation of a UN Peacekeeping Mission in the CAR. The report also describes a desperate and rapidly deteriorating situation in the country, echoing FIDH’s recent report that describes crimes being committed by elements of the former Seleka including murder, rape, kidnapping, and destruction of property, as well as the escalation of inter-communal violence.

Considering this escalating violence, FIDH’s open letter published today calls on the UN Security Council to immediately authorize the UN to begin preparing for the transformation of AFISM-CAR into a UN Peacekeeping Mission. This mission should be given a strong mandate that includes the protection of human rights defenders and other vulnerable groups, security sector reform, and demobilization of armed groups. This mission should also support peaceful political transition and national reconciliation processes, and contribute to ensuring accountability for human rights violations through national and international justice mechanisms.

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