UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Wednesday prompted [press release] Central African Republic (CAR) [CIA Factbook] leaders to remember their legal obligations and stressed that they are personally accountable for human rights violations or crimes against humanity resulting from their actions or omissions. Pillay pointed out that reports of killings and violence are continuing in the CAR and stated that the majority of the human rights violations are being committed by anti-Balaka elements that deliberately target Muslims. Referring to these attacks, Pillay elaborated:
The extent of destruction is devastating. Doors, window frames and roofs are burned or removed. Even the walls are being reduced to rubble with the clear aim of discouraging any Muslim from returning. ... The level of cruelty and disregard for life and dignity is horrifying, with public mutilation of bodies, amputation of body parts and genitals, beheadings and at least one case of cannibalism, spreading further terror among the Muslim population.Pillay also expressed concern about anti-Muslim hate speech and encouraged the leaders to remember that they could be held accountable for crimes they order, solicit or induce.
International concern continues to grow in the wake of reports of gross human rights violations in CAR since the Seleka rebel forces seized the nations capital last March. Last week, Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged the international community [JURIST report] to take immediate and effective action to halt the spread of sectarian violence and "ethnic cleansing" within the western part of the CAR. In January the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng warned [JURIST report] that urgent national and international action is necessary to stop the violence in CAR. Also in January, the UN reported that more than 6,000 child soldiers may be involved [JURIST report] in the conflict in the CAR. Earlier in January, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons urged [JURIST report] the international community to assist the approximately 1 million individuals who have been internally displaced by the ongoing violence in CAR. In December the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) [official website] issued a report [JURIST report] detailing horrific attacks against children in CAR.