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Central African Republic: UN expert calls for action to end impunity

24 August 2023

GENEVA (24 August 2023) – A UN expert has expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in the Central African Republic.

“Given the tensions and divisions arising from the constitutional referendum, the Central African authorities urgently need to engage all actors in a genuine political dialogue aimed at de-escalating the situation and creating a climate of trust,” said Yao Agbetse, the UN Independent Expert on the Central African Republic, at the end of a 10-day visit to the country.

“Only an inclusive political dialogue can provide a framework to (re)build consensus.  The military approach has shown its limits and there is an urgent need for a coherent and predictable political offer,” Agbetse said.

He stressed that a calmer political climate was essential for the immediate rescheduling of local elections, which had been postponed indefinitely. “The Government must do everything in its power to create the conditions for an inclusive, transparent, fair and democratic election, with the effective participation of women and young people,” the UN expert said.

He urged the authorities to relaunch the process of implementing the Khartoum Agreement (APPR-RCA) and the Luanda Joint Roadmap and to commit to the 217 recommendations of the Republican Dialogue by taking concrete political measures to encourage the other actors in the conflict to honour their commitments.

“Sub-regional diplomacy is essential for the Central African authorities to address issues of border security, particularly with Sudan,” Agbetse added.

Increasing attacks by armed groups, particularly the Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC) and the rise of the Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé group in the South-East, are creating a climate of insecurity, he said.  The expert said that direct attacks by armed groups, including attacks on villages, mining sites, fields and on roads, have an impact on the country's economic activity and lead to serious human rights violations. “Insecurity is a major obstacle to the restoration of State authority,” he said, noting that it also increases dependence on humanitarian aid.

In the Vakaga region, 17,820 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly women and children, have reportedly flocked to Am-Dafock, then settled in Korsi near Birao, 65 km from the border, for security reasons due to the conflict in Sudan. Among them are 4,701 Central African returnees from Sudan. Tensions in Chad have also reportedly pushed 37,000 Chadian refugees and asylum-seekers to the region, finding refuge in the Paoua region (Ouham-Pendé prefecture).

Agbetse observed that the situation had severe social repercussions, with shortages and a sharp rise in the price of basic foodstuffs. More than 72 per cent of refugees are reportedly hosted by host families, who require psychological, material, and financial support.  “I call on the international community to step-up support for humanitarian operations by funding the Humanitarian Response Plan,” he said.

The expert said the situation in the North-West was also very worrying due to the presence of explosive devices. “The victims are mainly civilians who are deprived of basic humanitarian assistance,” he said, calling on technical and financial partners to provide the necessary resources to UNMAS and organisations with the expertise to clear the afflicted areas.

“The situation in CAR requires a combination of efforts on the humanitarian and development fronts,” Agbetse said. “Humanitarian responses dictated by the emergency must be combined with development actions that are part of a national development plan.” Victims’ associations are also calling for greater synergy with mechanism to combat impunity.

Read the full statement:   https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/issues/ie-car/EOM-statement-IE-CAR-2023-08-18-en.pdf

ENDS

Mr. Yao Agbetse (Togo) is the independent expert on the Central African Republic and a human rights lawyer, researcher and teacher who has devoted the last 25 years of his life to justice and human rights, including the rights of the child. He has implemented human rights programs at the national level and has provided legal and technical advice for the development and monitoring of national human rights laws and policies, particularly in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Togo. He has created a space and tools for dialogue and joint efforts by state actors and CSOs. In the DRC, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, it has implemented DDR programs, trained army and police chiefs, and provided support to mandate-holders and United Nations operations, including participating in the interactive dialogue under item 10 during sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

UN human rights country page: Central African Republic

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