GENEVA (23 December 2020) - Just days before elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) scheduled for 27 December, armed violence presents serious risks to the safety of civilians and the exercise of the right to vote.
We are deeply alarmed by reports of escalating violence stoked by political grievances and hate speech, resulting in the forced displacement of civilians, including to neighbouring countries.
There have been numerous reports in recent days of attacks against security forces, political candidates and election officials. Reportedly, clashes between armed groups and security forces have taken place across a wide area, including neighbourhoods close to the capital, Bangui.
The UN Human Rights Office joins UN Secretary-General António Guterres in calling for all parties in the Central African Republic to put an end to the violence. We also remind all parties, including security forces and armed groups, as well as international and foreign forces, that they are bound to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law as applicable. The protection of civilians is paramount.
The signatories to the political agreement of February 2019, who included political actors and armed groups, should abide by their commitment to respect human rights and not resort to violence to resolve disputes.
We believe that neighbouring countries, the African Union, and the Community Economic for Central African States have a central role to play in ensuring a peaceful resolution of this crisis and protecting the civilian population.
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