CAR

Human rights situation in the Central African Republic – Report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic (A/HRC/45/55)

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Human Rights Council
Forty-fifth session
14 September–2 October 2020
Agenda item 10
Technical assistance and capacity-building

Summary

The present report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, Yao Agbetse, drawn up pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 42/36 of 27 September 2019, covers the period from July 2019 to June 2020. It describes general trends in the human rights situation in the Central African Republic and the major developments affecting it.

The reporting period was marked by the approach of the presidential election scheduled for December 2020, for which the Central African Republic is preparing within the established constitutional time frame. However, note must be taken of the difficulties associated with the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, which is further hampered by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The reporting period was also marked by the celebration on 6 February 2019 of the one-year anniversary of the entry into force of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic between the Central African Government and 14 armed groups. The event provided an opportunity for all parties to take stock of the Agreement’s implementation, which will lead to lasting peace. The Agreement, which allowed armed groups to be part of the Government, is considered a symbol of the unification of the Central African Republic. However, for the Peace Agreement to be effective, all parties must implement its provisions in good faith and ensure that justice is done.

Reforms are under way in the security sector, and the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation process has begun. There is a need for all stakeholders and partners to mobilize as soon as possible the technical and financial resources required to implement this process at the national level.

Notwithstanding the measures already taken to improve the security situation, much remains to be done to prevent the resurgence of violence, keep young people with their families, support the peace process and punish violations of the Peace Agreement. The present report also notes the partial or total closure of schools, particularly in the hinterland, which forces children to leave the education system, despite the commendable efforts of local actors, and makes them vulnerable to trafficking and recruitment by armed groups.

The Independent Expert notes with satisfaction the adoption of several bills required by the Peace Agreement, including Act No. 20008 of 7 April 2020 on the organization and operation of communities; Act No. 20009 of 7 April 2020 on the establishment, organization and operation of the Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission; Act No 20012 of 11 June 2020 establishing the pension scheme for former Presidents of the Republic; and Act No. 20016 of 15 June 2020 on the Child Protection Code.

Regarding developments in the country’s human rights situation, the Independent Expert is aware of various episodes of violence, which point to an increase in human rights incidents affecting civilians. From July 2019 to June 2020, the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) documented 880 incidents of abuse and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, which involved 1,522 victims (895 men, 240 women, 83 boys, 101 girls, 107 unidentified victims and 96 groups of collective victims). During the same period, the Division documented 191 cases of conflict-related killings. The armed groups that are signatories to the Peace Agreement are allegedly responsible for 715 incidents, which involved 1,302 victims – that is to say, 81.2 per cent of the total number of incidents and 85.5 per cent of the total number of victims.

State officials, including members of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic, the police and the gendarmerie are allegedly responsible for 83 human rights violations, which involved 103 victims – that is to say, 9.4 per cent of the total number of documented violations and 6.7 per cent of the total number of victims.

The different human rights abuses and violations documented during the reporting period include killings, death threats, conflict-related sexual violence such as rape, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, confiscation of property, destruction and looting of property, abductions, attacks against humanitarian personnel, hospitals and peacekeepers, denial of humanitarian assistance and recruitment of children into armed groups. During this period, the prefectures most affected by human rights abuses and violations were those of Ouaka, Haute-Kotto, Bamingui-Bangoran, OuhamPendé and Ouham. The Independent Expert wishes to emphasize that the peace process will succeed only if the Peace Agreement is implemented in good faith by all parties to the conflict. Justice is key to resolving the crisis in the Central African Republic and will be the decisive factor in the success of the peace process.