GENEVA / BANGUI (13 February 2020) – Stakeholders in the Central African Republic must take all necessary measures to implement effectively the peace agreement signed in Bangui a year ago, said a UN expert following a visit to the country.
“The first anniversary of the Khartoum Peace Agreement, celebrated on 6 February, provided an opportunity for all parties to review its implementation, which will lead to a lasting peace. This agreement, which allowed armed groups to join the Government, is considered as a symbol of the unification of the Republic. But for the agreement to be effective, all parties must sincerely implement its provisions, and justice measures must be taken,” said Yao Agbetse, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic.
During his visit, the expert took note of the ongoing reform of the security sector and the beginning of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation (DDRR) process. He urged all stakeholders and partners to mobilize the necessary technical and financial resources to implement this process nationwide as early as possible.
Despite the steps already taken to improve the security situation, much remains to be done to prevent the resurgence of violence, keep young people in their families, support the peace process, and punish the violations of the Peace Agreement, Agbetse said.
The expert observed that the partial or full closure of schools, especially in the countryside, forces children out of the education system - despite laudable efforts by local actors - and makes them vulnerable to human trafficking and recruitment by armed groups.
Agbetse called on the National Assembly to promptly adopt several bills required by the Agreement, including the draft law on the freedom of communication and the draft law on the creation of a Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission.
The expert was informed of the establishment of transitional justice institutions. “It is important that these institutions are provided with appropriate resources to carry out their mission. In that regard, a swift and substantial assistance from international partners is essential,” he said
“The international community should continue to support the organisation of presidential elections within the constitutional time frame. All actors, including political parties and the media, must refrain from any hate speech and avoid inciting hatred. Necessary action for a peaceful election must be taken now," Agbetse said.
The expert will present his findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva during the high-level interactive dialogue scheduled on 18 March 2020.
Mr. Yao Agbetse (Togo) is a human rights lawyer, researcher and teacher who has devoted the last 25 years of his life to justice and human rights, including the rights of the child. He has implemented human rights programs at the national level and has provided legal and technical advice for the development and monitoring of national human rights laws and policies, particularly in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Togo. He has created a space and tools for dialogue and joint efforts by state actors and CSOs. In the DRC, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, it has implemented DDR programs, trained army and police chiefs, and provided support to mandate-holders and United Nations operations, including participating in the interactive dialogue under item 10 during sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. He provided first-hand and factual information to UN experts to help them assess human rights challenges in different countries and made specific and workable recommendations to ensure accountability and access to Justice.
The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic was established by the Human Rights Council on 27 September 2013. Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.
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