Central African Republic: Faced with such Violence the United Nations Must Act

As the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations convenes in New York on 17 September 2013, FIDH calls upon the international community, in particular the permanent members of the UN Security Council, to act quickly to secure stability in the Central African Republic (CAR), where the human rights situation has become desperate.

During consultations on the CAR on 14 August 2013 the UN Security Council was willing to consider all options to end the current crisis in the country. An international meeting on the situation in the CAR could also be held by the end of September on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly.

FIDH welcomes the United Nations initiative to find a solution to the crisis in CAR and calls on the organization to intensify its efforts to support the implementation of the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (AFISM-CAR), organised under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

On Friday, 23 August 2013, the French President invited six NGOs working in the CAR, including FIDH, to a meeting to discuss the situation in the country. This meeting provided an overview of the political and human rights issues as well as the ongoing humanitarian crisis prevailing in the CAR. Our organisations also made specific recommendations to ensure concerted international action to resolve the crisis.

FIDH again expressed its deep concern about the extent to which insecurity and human rights abuse have heightened in the CAR. Since its fact finding mission between 4 and 13 July 2013, no significant improvement in the plight of the civilian population has been observed: murder, rape, looting, extortion and all kinds of abuse continue to be committed with impunity in Bangui and other regions. The failure of the CAR’s justice system and the State’s inability to protect its population has been confirmed in reports presented on 14 August 2013 by Valérie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, General Babacar Gaye, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office for the CAR, and Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

« The protection of civilians must be at the heart of any international action in favor of a resolution for the Central African crisis, which is why the security of the country must be urgently ensured », said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. « The fight against impunity must be a priority for the political process in the CAR or there will be a risk of relapse into violence », he added.

Responding to NGO statements, French President, François Hollande, expressed « the deep concern of France about the deteriorated situation in the CAR » and asserted « the absolute necessity of restoring security to enable the implementation of a political process based on the Libreville and N’Djaména agreements ». The French President also expressed his support for the African Union and ECCAS’ initiatives, whilst advocating a stronger United Nations commitment to finding a solution to the crisis.

FIDH calls upon the United Nations, specifically its Security Council, to support the establishment of MISCA, whose mandate and budget must ensure the effective protection of civilians throughout the territory. FIDH calls upon the Security Council to allow the deployment of human rights observers to ensure that the mandate of this force is fulfilled in compliance with international human rights law.

« There can be no lasting solution to the CAR crisis until a real fight against impunity is conducted », said Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President.. « In this struggle for the rule of law, the CAR’s justice system has a central role to play and must be supported by the international justice system. ».

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