Press Release on the Human Rights Situation in the Central African Republic

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) has been following developments of the human rights situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) with keen interest since 24 March 2013, the date on which the coup d’état against President François Bozizé was staged.

The Commission notes with dismay the worsening security situation in recent times, and the upsurge of clashes between the different armed groups, particularly between the former Seleka militias and the anti-Balaka militias and the Fulani cattle breeders in the North-West of the CAR. The Commission therefore strongly condemns the assassination of about thirty people, the arson and the destruction of about ten villages in the regions of Ouaham and Ouaham Pendé, specifically in the localities of Paoua and Markounda. These incidents have resulted in the massive displacement of the civilian population to very remote locations without any basic social services.

Furthermore, the Commission is concerned by the incessant attacks on humanitarian organizations working in the CAR. In this regard, the Commission condemns the murders perpetrated against the personnel of humanitarian organizations such as the Médecins sans Frontières, Première Urgence and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, including attacks on vehicle convoys transporting Muslims being relocated to the northern part of the country. These attacks are grave human rights violations of international humanitarian law.

In addition, the Commission deplores the persistence of violence and insecurity in Bangui, mainly characterized by murders and looting in the 3rd, 5th and 8th Districts of Bangui; acts of violence which promote a state of terror and result in forcible and massive displacement of the civilian population.

The Commission recalls its Resolutions ACHPR/Res. 243 (EXT.OS/XIV) 2013 and ACHPR/Res.266 (LIV) 2014 reaffirming that the respect of human rights is an obligation to be complied with in all circumstances and also highlighting the fact that perpetrators of abuses must be prosecuted and brought before the competent courts.

The Commission urges the different armed groups to put an immediate end to the conflict and refrain from any attacks against innocent civilians. The Commission further calls on the parties to the conflict to respect and protect humanitarian organizations working to provide assistance to the Central African people.

The Commission further encourages the neighbouring countries of the CAR to continue to receive the refugees arriving in their countries and provide them with the necessary protection and assistance in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement.

The Commission welcomes the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2149 of 10 April 2014 authorizing the deployment of more than 10,000 peacekeepers to the CAR by 15 September 2014 as part of the UN Multidimensional, Integrated Stabilization Mission to the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to replace the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA).

The Commission calls on the Transitional Government to take the necessary measures to create a favourable environment for the organization of free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections by ensuring that all stakeholders including the political parties enjoy equal access to the State-controlled media .

The Commission remains seized of the situation in the CAR.