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UN senior official urges Security Council action in Central African Republic

The UN Deputy Secretary-General on Monday briefed [official statement] the UN Security Council [official website] on the quickly deteriorating situation in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. On behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile], the Deputy Secretary-General explained the mounting human rights violations that have recently been occurring in the CAR, along with the rise in the use of child soldiers as well as sexual violence, which are a result of the recent clashes between Seleka rebel alliance [WorldWideConflicts backgrounder] forces and various self-defense groups. The briefing also spoke of, among other violations, widespread looting, arbitrary arrests, torture and summary executions in the region. Approximately one out of three civilians in the CAR has been reported to be "in dire need" of housing, food, healthcare and protection from the regional conflict. The Deputy Secretary-General requested in his briefing that the Security Council "respond creatively to this end, including by considering accountability mechanisms such as a Commission of Inquiry and/or targeted sanctions." He also urged a "robust response" by the Security Council in order to put an end to human atrocities in the CAR.

There have been continued reports of gross human rights violations in the CAR since Seleka forces seized the nation's capital in March. Earlier in November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned [JURIST report] that continued violence between militias, rebels and government forces in the CAR threatens to lead the country into renewed conflict. In October a group of independent UN human rights experts expressed concern [JURIST report] over the situation in the CAR and urged the transitional authorities to take urgent measures to protect the population from atrocity crimes and restore public order. In September the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) urged [JURIST report] the transitional government to do "its utmost to ensure the protection of IDPs and to facilitate the humanitarian response." Michel Djotodia declared himself the nation's leader in March after the Seleka seized the nation's capital and caused president Francois Bozize [World Biography profile] to flee the country. Also in March UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned [JURIST report] the coup by the Seleka rebels and advocated for the "swift restoration of constitutional order.

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