[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official website] on Thursday called for a reduction in violence [press release] in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has seen an increase along religious lines in recent days.
Violence started on May 1 when a group known as Force attacked a church, killing 22 and wounding 185 after the government tried to arrest one of their leaders. Christian groups then responded by killing three Muslim individuals with further attacks from both sides continuing afterwords.
Zeid called on the government of the CAR as well as all relevant national and international actors to help stop the growing violence in the region. Zeid stated that "w]ith hate speech and incitement to violence so prevalent in media and social media, I fear that spontaneous eruptions of violence like that of May 1 could become more widespread and difficult to contain."
Violence in the CAR has been an ongoing concern. In August 2013 the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic stated [JURIST report] that the country had reached "unprecedented" levels of violence and destruction. In April 2015 the country established [JURIST report] a Special Criminal Court to combat the violence.