Tribute to Maître Nganatouwa Goungaye Wanfiyo, who has died tragically

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses its deep shock and profound sadness at the death of Goungaye Wanfiyo, president of the Central African League for Human Rights (LCDH), its member organisation in the Central Africa Republic (CAR).

Goungaye Wanfiyo, prominent human rights defender in CAR, denounced and fought against human rights violations committed in his country and the African continent as a whole with intensity. "Goungaye Wanfiyo was a lawyer with immense integrity, someone who worked without relent toward an independent and equitable justice in his country. The human rights community mourns the loss of an irreplaceable human rights defender," said the FIDH Honorary President, Sidiki Kaba.
 
Independant and brilliant lawyer, Goungaye Wanfiyo, stood out for his outspokenness and his courage to consistently fight against human rights violations committed by all parties to the different conflicts that have successively swept CAR to defend victims of such crimes. Very recently Goungaye Wanfiyo denounced the exclusion of victims from the inclusive political dialogue that has just come to a close.
 
"FIDH honors the memory of a great human rights defender who spent more than twenty years of his life fighting relentlessly against impunity and the perpetrators of some of the most serious crimes against humanity that left innumerable victims in the wake of successive crises Central African Republic has known these last ten years," said FIDH President, Souhayr Belhassen.
 
As part of his work, Goungaye Wanfiyo was very much involved in the proceedings before the International Criminal Court (ICC), defending the rights of victims. He was representing victims in the proceedings launched by the International Criminal Court against Jean- Pierre Bemba. 

For all his activities, Goungaye Wanfiyo had been threatened with death several times, and had also been arrested three months ago.

According to information received, he was returning from Sibut where he had been gathering evidence from those victims, when he died on the night of 27 to 28 December 2008. Gounagye Wanfiyo was thought to be operating a car that hit a truck with faulty car signals. FIDH has requested an impartial and independent investigation to determine the exact cause of his death.

All 155 member organisations that form the FIDH family grieve this loss which compels us all to recall the heroic activism and courage that so many other men and women bring daily to the fight for the fundamental right to justice for all human beings irrespective of origins, beliefs or opinions. 

FIDH offers it’s most sincere condolences to Goungaye Wanfiyo’s family, the Central African League for Human Rights members, and his fellow friends engaged in the struggle to restore peace and respect for human rights in CAR and throughout the world.

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