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UN rights expert warns international community on Central African Republic

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic on Thursday held a press conference in the Central African Republic (CAR), where he addressed the international community, urging them to remember [press release] the fragile state of CAR. Simonovic described [UN News Centre report] the weak transitional government, lack of social services, lack of police protection and the alarming state of the justice system. He stated that the country [JURIST news archive] has reached an "unprecedented" level of violence and destruction since last December, when the Seleka coalition forces from the north launched their offensive. He also spoke of his concern that there has been a lack of attention given to the humanitarian and human rights situation in CAR, both by the media and the international community. Stressing the importance of transnational justice, Simonovic stated that perpetrators of human rights violations should not remain unpunished.

In April UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned [JURIST report] human rights abuses in CAR. In March Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declared in a radio address that the country's constitution is dissolved [JURIST report] and that he is now the nation's leader. Also in March UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the coup [JURIST report] by the Seleka rebels and advocated for a "swift restoration of constitutional order." The African Union also condemned the coup and suspended CAR from the Union in addition to imposing sanctions against the country. The CAR has also recently been criticized for its use of child soldiers. In January UNICEF said that it had received "credible reports" of both pro-government and rebel groups in the country recruiting and including children in its conflict [JURIST report]. In June the CAR was included in a report [JURIST report] issued by Ban detailing the violations committed against children in conflict zones.

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