UN rights expert urges protection of displaced persons in Central African Republic

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDP) Chaloka Beyani [official profile] urged [press release] the transitional government of the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday to do "its utmost to ensure the protection of IDPs and to facilitate the humanitarian response." The current crisis in the CAR has displaced more than 260,000 people, including 100,000 children. Beyani noted that a recent UN mission reported a series of recent attacks by unidentified armed groups, which were reported to have killed 30 people and forcibly displaced thousands. Beyani also remarked on the systematic destruction of public records, a loss which Beyani believes will have a particularly negative impact of IDPs whose personal documentation may be lost or destroyed when their communities are attacked. "The situation of all those displaced who hide in remote areas, including in the bush, in poor sanitary conditions and without access to basic services or clean services is extremely worrying," Beyani said. "The government should honour the country's obligations ... to ensure that IDPs are protected and supported until they reach durable solutions."

Michel Djotodia declared himself the nation's leader in March after the Seleka rebel alliance [WorldWideConflicts backgrounder] seized the nation's capital and caused president Francois Bozize [World Biography profile] to flee the country. Djotodia, a leader of Seleka, also dissolved the constitution [JURIST report], parliament and government. Also in March UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] condemned [JURIST report] the coup by the Seleka rebels and advocated for the "swift restoration of constitutional order." The African Union [official website] also condemned the coup, suspended [Reuters report] the CAR and imposed sanctions against the country. The CAR has also recently been criticized for its controversial use of child soldiers. In January UNICEF [official website] said that it had received "credible reports" of both pro-government and rebel armed groups in the country recruiting and including children [JURIST report] in its conflict. In June of last year the CAR was included in a report issued by Ban detailing the violations committed against children [JURIST report] in conflict zones. The UN Security Council's Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict [official website] in 2011 also expressed concern [JURIST report] about children's rights violations, including rape and other sexual violence as well as recruitment in armed conflict, in the country.

 

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