The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng [official websites] warned [UN News Centre report] on Thursday that urgent national and international action is necessary to stop the violence in Central African Republic (CAR) [JURIST news archive]. Dieng reported, “Given the serious nature of continuing violations in an environment of complete impunity, CAR is on the brink of descending into atrocity crimes.” After Dieng’s visit to CAR, he reported that the year-long conflict has escalated to violence between Muslims and Christians. This conflict has forced children to abandon their homes and many have been recruited by armed groups. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) [advocacy group] estimated [press release] that 2.3 million children have been affected by the conflict in CAR. UNICEF also estimated that, on average, three people were killed in fighting every hour last week alone. The UN has found that Christians and Muslims have focused attacks in Bangui over the last two weeks.
There has been growing international concern over gross human rights violations in CAR since the Seleka rebel forces seized the nations capital [BBC backgrounder] in March of 2013. The UN reported on Sunday that more than 6,000 child soldiers may be involved [JURIST report] in the conflict in the CAR. Earlier this month, 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 UNICEF issued a report [JURIST report] detailing horrific attacks against children in CAR. Also in December, the UN Security Council voted unanimously [JURIST report] to authorize the deployment of peacekeepers to CAR. In November, Navi Pillay warned [JURIST report] that the continued violence between militias, rebels and government forces in CAR threatened to lead the country into renewed conflict. UN Sectetary General Ban Ki-moon condemned [JURIST report] the coup by the Seleka rebels last March and advocated for a “swift restoration of constitutional order.”