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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Friday, 25 October 2013 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Central African Republic
Represented by 8 member delegation headed by H.E. Mr. Claude Lenga, Minister of Human Rights

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Central African Republic page on the UPR website

Troika *

Mauritania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Italy

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Central African Republic page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • Since 2012 there was a conflict in the country, which had led to a difficult situation for the population and had paralyzed the entire State apparatus, as well as the private sector.
  • The armed conflict had imposed an immense suffering on the population of the country. Due to this on-going crisis the Government had had difficulties to mobilize resources to draft the current report.
  • The repeated violations of human rights were a result of the current crisis, as well as a worsening of the humanitarian situation.
  • The Government was determined to make efforts to improve the situation in areas such as: the establishment of a Human Rights Ministry responsible for humanitarian action; a National Committee and a National Strategy to counter corruption; an initiative to ensure transparency in the extraction industry; and a Junior Parliament, set up in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The security situation was a great challenge for the Central African Republic. The Government’s goal was that by 2014 the population of the country would live in a secured environment where its rights would be fully respected.
  • Despite the ratification of international legal instruments and despite the fact that the national legislation had been brought in line with these, the human rights situation remained a major concern.
  • Increasing human rights violations were taking place, such as arbitrary arrests, sexual violence against women and children, rapes, enrolment of child soldiers and so on. These were perpetrated by uncontrolled elements of the former Seleka coalition and unidentified armed groups.
  • The UPR was the appropriate forum to draw to attention the difficulties of the judiciary system, which lacked the means to fully accomplish its mission to combat impunity and other human rights violations.
  • The Government had made the commitment to re-establish by 2010 the National Human Rights Commission. This was now with the National Transitional Council for adoption.
  • The Central African Republic had ratified the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169 relating to indigenous and tribal peoples.
  • The National Action Plan for the promotion and protection of human rights had not yet been adopted because of the crisis and lack of means.
  • A new Penal Code, a new Code of Criminal Procedure and a Code on Military Justice had been adopted.

Participants

In total 70 States participated in the dialogue:  33 HRC members and 37 observers  (Statements available on the Central African Republic page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Legislative and institutional efforts made to strengthen constitutional order and human rights.
  • The promotion of equality between men and women and the creation of a gender equality committee.
  • Progress in the implementation of the right to education and the 2003-2015 Action Plan on education.
  • Measures taken to protect children, notably the signing of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed Conflict.
  • The Government’s steps taken towards reconciliation, as well as efforts made towards restoring security and consolidating peace
  • Measures to protect women and the adoption of a plan against gender-based violence.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The urgent need for the international community to provide technical, financial and humanitarian assistance to the Central African Republic.
  • The situation of children affected by the conflict, especially child soldiers.
  • The on-going crisis and the deteriorating human rights and security situation in the country.
  • The situation of women, especially sexual and gender-based violence.
  • The reports about on-going massive human rights violations in the Central African Republic and the restoration of law and order.
  • The abolition of the death penalty.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to the Central African Republic.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To step up efforts for the protection of children and to draft a plan of action for the release and reintegration into society of child soldiers.
  • To strengthen the capacity of the judiciary and to conduct transparent and impartial investigations into human rights violations, especially alleged murders and summary executions.
  • To re-establish and strengthen the rule of law and to promote a stable and long-lasting security environment.
  • To improve the situation of women and children, especially to combat sexual violence against women and girls.
  • To continue to strengthen security throughout the territory and put an end to violence in the country.
  • To adopt a de facto moratorium on and abolish the death penalty.
  • To ensure effective implementation of the Libreville Peace Agreements and to ensure that the transition process happens in-line with the N’Djamena declaration.
  • To strengthen the fight against impunity.
  • To establish a national human rights institution in-line with the Paris Principles.
  • To organize free and transparent elections, in accordance with democratic standards by 2015.
  • To conduct screening of soldiers to ensure that combatants who had committed human rights violations were not being recruited in regular security forces.
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol; the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances; the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families; the convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; the African Union’s Convention Governing the Specific Aspect of Refugee Problems in Africa and the Convention for the Elimination of Mercenaries in Africa.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Central African Republic is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 31 October 2013

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 
**For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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