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UN establishes inquiry into CAR rights abuses

The UN Security Council [official website] has established an International Commission of Inquiry [UN News Centre report] on the Central African Republic (CAR), tasked with examining reports of human rights violations, compiling information, and helping identify perpetrators. Bernard Acho Muna, the chairperson of the three-person inquiry and a former prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [official website], has said [DW report] that the situation in CAR is similar to that of Rwanda in the weeks leading to the Rwandan genocide, and worries that the collapse of law and order in CAR could be a precursor to genocide. The Commission, which is expected in CAR on Tuesday, will submit its initial findings to the Security Council within six months.

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. In February, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] prompted [JURIST report] CAR leaders to remember their legal obligations and stressed that they are personally accountable for human rights violations. Also that month, Amnesty International 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 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.

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