BANGUI / GENEVA (16 March 2016) – During her sixth visit* to the Central African Republic, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum, commended the newly elected President, Faustin Archange Touadéra, and shared with him an update on the situation of human rights in CAR, including progress and remaining challenges.
She encouraged him, alongside his future government, to take strong measures to meet the high expectations of the population for the return of the security, the disarmament of armed groups, the strengthening of the rule of law and the fight against impunity, national reconciliation, and the urgent need to access to basic social services such as education and health.
The expert also thanked the President of the Transition and her government for their cooperation and expressed her gratitude for their commitments and efforts in the initiatives for peaceful dialogue, national reconciliation and the democratic process, and in particular the holding of the Bangui Forum, the strengthening of women’s leadership and the organization of free and peaceful elections.
Speaking at the conclusion of her visit, the expert recalled that it would be damaging if some candidates on whom there are allegations of human rights violations are elected, and stressed “the importance that elected officials are men and women who truly have willingness to represent the interests of the Central African people, with integrity and respect for human rights.”
The expert noted some improvement in the security situation, especially in Bangui, but shared her concerns about the insecurity still present and the repeated acts of violence, especially in the regions of center, east and northeast, aggravated by crimes and movements of population due to the context of transhumance, and the inability of legitimate authorities to prevent crimes.
The expert insisted on the necessity of the immediate implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration process and the need to initiate a Reform of the Security Sector without delay, while strengthening efforts to fight against impunity, in ensuring that jurisdictions become operational and strengthening the independence of the judiciary. On these issues, the expert calls for the international community, and all other partners, to support the new elected government to implement these measures.
Ms. Keita-Bocoum also shared her concerns about the necessity to protect civilians and the need to assist victims of sexual violence and of violence based on witchcraft accusations.
“All the actors of the civil society I met deplored the absence of the criminal justice system, the lack of access to justice and the lack of measures to protect victims and witnesses,” the expert learned during her meetings with representatives of the Central African civil society. She also highlighted the vast needs of education and awareness on human rights.
The Independent Expert remarked that the humanitarian challenges remain high, well-aware that international aid continues to be sometimes the only way to meet the population needs regarding health, nutrition and sanitation.
Ms. Keita-Bocoum stressed the importance to handover all achievements and assets of the transition to the new government that should continue to work closely with the MINUSCA and the international community on human rights related issues.
After her visit, the Independent Expert will present an update on the situation of human rights in CAR on 21 March to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
(*) Check the Independent Expert’s full end-of-mission statement (in French): http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=17234&LangID=F
The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic was established by the Council of Human Rights on 27 September 2013. Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum, a former professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, held various positions both in Côte d’Ivoire and in the UN. She was Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to UNOWA, as well as Director of the Division of Human Rights and the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Darfur. For additional information, please visit:
The 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 that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, country page – Central African Republic: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CFIndex.aspx
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