[JURIST] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Friday stated it is “increasingly worried” [press release] for the safety of civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR). UNHCR reported that during a visit to CAR last week, they witnessed virtual lawlessness in the CAR, discovering several villages burned to the ground and deserted. The UNHCR reported that local inhabitants described physical assaults, extortion, looting, arbitrary arrests and torture. The CAR has experienced significant violence since the Seleka rebel coalition [WorldWideConflict profile] ousted president Francous Bozize in March. The UNHCR called on authorities in the CAR to protect civilians and maintain the rule of law. Although statistics on the number of refugees is unavailable, before the rebels seized power in March, almost 160,000 people lived in the affected area.
In August, chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda [official websites], expressed her concern over the deteriorating security situation in CAR. Earlier that month, a panel of UN human rights experts expressed their concern [JURIST report] over the situation in the CAR. Earlier this month the UN Assistant Secetary-General for Human Rights held a press conference where he urged the international community [JURIST report] to remember the fragile state of the CAR. In June the CAR issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for ousted president Bozize. In May Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] reported that members of the Seleka rebel coalition have committed rights violations [JURIST report] in the CAR.