Central African Republic: Arbitrary killings, sexual violence cited in new UN human rights report

Displaced children seek safety with their families in a churchyard in Kaga Bandoro, Central African Republic. Photo: UNICEF/Daniel Timme

14 December 2016 – Central African Republic: Arbitrary killings, sexual violence cited in new UN human rights report

Violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Central African Republic (CAR), which include arbitrary killings, sexual violence and inhuman treatment, continue to plague the country, according to a United Nations report published today.

During the period covered, which includes the final six months of the Transitional Government, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) recorded 1,301 cases of human rights violations and abuses affecting at least 2,473 victims throughout the country, including 1,000 men, 261 women, 91 boys and 67 girls, with a further 808 unidentified adults and 246 victims whose age and gender could not be fully verified.

“Notorious criminals and killers must be brought to justice, no matter what group they belong to, both to halt their depredations and to provide deterrence,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on 4 September 2015 in Bangui in a statement featured at the beginning of the “Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Central African Republic from 01 June 2015 – 31 March 2016.”

The report describes violations and abuses, such as arbitrary deprivation of liberty, destruction and confiscation of property, and restrictions on the right to freedom of movement.

It confirmed that the main perpetrators continued to be armed elements from the Anti-Balaka, ex-Séléka, the Front démocratique du peuple centrafricain, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and Fulani affiliated with Retour réclamation et réhabilitation and the Révolution et Justice.

During the reporting period, the LRA increased its criminal activities in the southeast CAR. Government security and defence forces were also responsible for arbitrary killings, ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest and detention.

The report highlights that the protection of civilians was hampered by the very limited presence of State institutions, particularly outside of Bangui. This situation has had a negative impact on the fight against impunity, as those responsible for grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have not been held accountable.

The report, which MINUSCA released during a time of marked escalation of violence by armed groups in the eastern, central and western parts of the country, makes recommendations to the authorities and international community to strengthen the fight against impunity in the country.

Since August 2016, the UN Mission has recorded an alarming increase in the number of incidents of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by the different factions of the ex-Séléka, the Anti-Balaka, and their affiliates, which have resulted in at least 100 killings, forced civilian displacement and the destruction of property. The incidents have particularly affected Kaga Bandoro and Bria. In addition to their violent attacks, armed groups throughout the country have continued to occupy schools, establish illegal checkpoints, and arbitrarily deprive civilians of their liberty.

Despite peaceful elections and a legitimate government, civilian protection continues to be hampered by limited State authority, particularly in the areas affected by the recent escalation of violence. Perpetrators of grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continue to benefit from widespread impunity.

MINUSCA and members of the international community will continue to support the extension of State authority and to end impunity through the establishment of the Special Criminal Court.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Recent violence in Central African Republic spotlights subregion's volatility, Security Council told

Related Stories