Rule of Law, respect of human rights, fight against impunity: the essential acts that still have to be taken

01/07/2004
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The rebellions and subsequent tensions recorded in recent years in the CAR have presupposed the Rule of Law and fundamental liberties.

The rebellions of 1996 and 1997, the illegal possession of military weapons, lootings, holdups and other acts of violence have plunged the country into insecurity. The national authorities, in response to this crisis situation, created the notorious Central African Office for the suppression of Banditry (OCRB), which has increased the number of arbitrary arrests and summary executions of some detainees (See: FIDH Report: 9 February 2002, “Discourse and Reality :a yawning chasm”-only in FR-). Following the attempted coup on 27-28 May 2001, the rebels have become a Government target and the Yakomas, ex-President Kolingba’s ethnic group, have become victims of a real witch hunt (see FIDH release: “The witch hunt continues!”-only in FR-). The malfunctioning of the judicial apparatus, which suffers from a lack of finance, corruption and a total lack of independence, cannot meet the expectations of the people, confronted with manifest violations of Human Rights.

Impunity reigns supreme.

Therefore, this seminar aimed to extend the knowledge and capacity for action and influence of Human Rights activists in the Central African Republic. It also aims to strengthen the visibility and credibility of organizations, based in civil society in relation to their negotiating partners the authorities of the CAR.

The representatives of civil society have difficulty in making their voice heard. Integrated by the government as political opponents, any act of denunciation and protest against human rights violations exposes NGO members to risk of reprisals, threats and intimidation. In this context, the seminar had the following objectives:

Training topics aimed to develop the knowledge and capacity for action of Human Rights defenders on the questions relating to the protection of the Rule of Law and fundamental liberties. Taking into account the lack of independence of the judiciary in the Central African Republic and the impunity of those who violate human rights, the seminar furthered the study of regional and international judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms and to satisfy the right of victims to an effective appeal. By creating discussion forums for reflection and training between human rights activists and representatives of the authorities, the seminar should have promoted a better understanding between the different local protagonists and must have encouraged dialogue.

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