Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue on Central African Republic
25 September 2013
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held an interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, after hearing a report based on the observations of a fact-finding mission to the country.
Delivering the report, Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that human rights violations had occurred during the Séléka and the former Bozizé regimes. During the conflict, both parties committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including summary executions and extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and looting of private and public properties. The Séléka also engaged in sexual violence and in grave violations against children. Along with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Central African Republic, the Assistant Secretary-General visited Bambari, one of the cities most affected by the crisis. Insecurity prevailed throughout the country and State institutions had collapsed, with a consequent breakdown of law and order.
Central African Republic, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Government’s efforts focused on ensuring the return of displaced persons, carrying out a reform of the judiciary, and protecting human rights. Despite facing security, human and financial constraints, the country had made numerous efforts to restore peace. Thousands of women, children and men had been abandoned to their fate and were awaiting urgent assistance. The report was objective but the members of the mission had not been able to visit the whole country. The Central African Republic was in need of urgent support from the international community.
In the ensuing interactive dialogue, delegations expressed their deep concern about the findings of the report, particularly the extrajudicial killings, acts of sexual violence against women and children, enforced disappearances, attacks against civilians, and the displacement of large numbers of citizens, all of which may constitute war crimes. All parties involved in the conflict were called upon to respect human rights and facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians. The Central African Republic was commended for using existing mechanisms to ensure that national peace was restored. Some speakers said they would support the appointment of an Independent Expert to the country.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue on the Central African Republic were Gabon on behalf of African Group, European Union, France, Morocco on behalf of the Group of francophone countries, Republic of Congo, African Union, Cameroon, Austria, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Switzerland, Romania, Chad, Togo, Czech Republic, Sierra Leone, Luxembourg, Mexico, United States, Australia, Spain, Egypt, United Kingdom, Democratic Republic of Congo, New Zealand, Belgium, Nigeria, Portugal, Angola, Montenegro, China, and Sudan. The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Human Rights Watch, Caritas, Amnesty International, Femmes Africa Solidarité, and International Federation of Human Rights Leagues.
The Human Rights Council will hold its next meeting at 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 25 September, when it will continue the general debate on technical assistance and capacity-building under Item 10.
The Council has before it the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic (A/HRC/24/59); and a corrigendum to the report of the High Commissioner (A/HRC/24/59/Corr.1).