|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7215th Meeting (AM)
Total Impunity in Central African Republic ‘Main Stumbling Block’ on Road
to Political Transition, Committee Chair Says, Briefing Security Council
The inflow of weapons into the Central African Republic appeared to have been staunched, but impunity for human rights abuses and illicit exploitation of minerals “created fertile ground for rebel and criminal activities”, the head of the sanctions committee on that country told the Security Council this morning.
“The total impunity that allows individuals to engage in or provide support for acts that undermine the peace, security and territorial integrity of the Central African Republic remains the main stumbling block on the road of the political transition,” Raimonda Murmokaitė of Lithuania, Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013), said as she introduced the first interim report of the Panel of Experts on compliance with the arms embargo and targeted sanctions (document S/2014/452).
Fighting in the Central African Republic had taken on an increasingly sectarian nature following a 2012 coup, with reports of brutal reprisal attacks between largely Christian anti-Balaka and mostly Muslim Séléka rebels. Those attacks had displaced hundreds of thousands of people both inside and outside the country, and left 2.2 million in need of humanitarian aid.
The Panel had not documented any major transfers of weapons, ammunition or military equipment since the imposition of the arms embargo on 5 December 2013, Ms. Murmokaitė said. According to the report, armed groups had mainly used Government stockpiles following the collapse of the defence and security forces and subsequently the end of Séléka’s rule in the capital Bangui.
She said that, however, a voluntary disarmament operation carried out by the transitional authorities and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic had not been successful as the country was still de-facto partitioned into two, and almost all inhabited areas were under the direct or indirect control of armed groups.
On the exploitation of resources, she said the Panel reported that in the west of the country, anti-Balaka members were digging and trading diamonds, while in the east, Séléka forces retained a tight grip on artisanal gold mines.
With regards to the Panel’s work on humanitarian issues, she said that the group had documented 103 incidents of obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance between 5 December 2013 and 30 April 2014, as well as approximately 2,424 unlawful killings of civilians, including aid workers, committed by all parties to the conflict during the same period.
The Chair said that her Committee had received to date 25 reports from Member States on implementation of the Central African sanctions regime, which in addition to the arms embargo also included a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals and entities deemed to threaten the peace of the country.
She said the Committee had on 9 May listed three individuals subject to the targeted measures, and that a cooperation agreement between INTERPOL and the Committee had entered into force on 18 June. The Expert Panel had also been able to identify several political figures who had taken advantage of the security vacuum in the country to fund, organize or manipulate armed groups.
The meeting started at 10:05 a.m. and adjourned at 10:18 a.m., at which time Council members were invited into consultations on the Central African Republic.
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