UN rights expert: CAR must act to protect citizens News
UN rights expert: CAR must act to protect citizens

A UN human rights expert warned [press release] Tuesday that the Central African Republic (CAR) [UN materials] “must act now” to protect its population and implement justice. According to Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, the expert on human rights for the CAR, armed forces are spreading throughout the country at a worrying rate and a lack of response from the government to defend civilians has led to revenge attacks, public outrage, and “cries of distress” from citizens looking to the government for protection. The announcement from the UN comes on the heels of a peace accord [Reuters report] signed by the CAR and most of the armed groups, which is aimed at ending the ethnic and religious conflict that has killed thousands. The peace accord was mediated by the Roman Catholic Sant’Egidio peace group and was signed in Rome.

Violence has persisted in the CAR since the predominately Muslim-based Seleka rebels ousted former president François Bozize in March 2013. Last month a new report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claimed that human rights violations within the CAR may amount to war crimes [JURIST report]. In January Amnesty International reported that perpetrators of war crimes have not been prosecuted [JURIST report] or investigated for their crimes. The rights organization urged that the country’s justice system needs to be reconstructed and a Special Criminal Court, tasked with trying suspected war criminals, and a witness protection program must be established. In November UNICEF called for aid to approximately 1.2 million children distressed by conflict [JURIST report] in the CAR.