Human Rights Council acts to end violations and promote accountability in Central African Republic

21.01.2014

The UN’s Human Rights Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all parties to end the violence in the Central African Republic and appointing an Independent Expert to examine the situation in the country.

(Geneva) – The UN’s Human Rights Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all parties to end the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) and appointing an Independent Expert to examine the situation in the country.

The Council’s call for action came at its 20th emergency session – called at the initiative of the African Group of States (led by Ethiopia) and with the support of the CAR – on the deteriorating security situation in the CAR.

Prior to the emergency session, the Security Council had adopted a resolution in December 2013 to provide technical and financial support to MISCA, the African Union’s peacekeeping force currently deployed in the CAR.  

At the session, Representatives of the Secretary-General, High Commissioner, and Chair of the Coordinating Group of Special Procedures stressed that the CAR is in a state of free-fall and that ‘more than half the population now needs humanitarian assistance’. The representatives collectively condemned the ‘unspeakable and widespread human rights violations,’ and declared ‘there will be no reconciliation without accountability’.

State participants also pointed to the need for immediate action and accountability for human rights violations.

France, Italy, and Ireland noted that the atrocities committed in the CAR may amount to war crimes and hence fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The US specifically called for any national accountability process to make provision for female victims.

Russia, China, and Cuba, who have opposed emergency sessions of the Council in the past, also joined the consensus. However, they emphasised their concurrence was due to the special session being called with the support of both the country concerned and the African Group. Russia stated that the appointment of the Independent Expert should not be taken as a precedent. Both China and Cuba stated their preference for States to resolve their own issues, with Cuba adding that the outcome of the special session must be implemented fully within the mandate given and should not be used to justify violations of state sovereignty.

In conjunction with the Council’s emergency session on Monday, the European Union (EU), international donors, and the CAR’s transitional parliament have also taken positive actions.

The EU has agreed to send up to 1,000 soldiers to help stabilise the CAR in what will be the EU’s first major army operation in six years. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius estimates that a battalion-sized force of 500 would likely be deployed toward the end of February.  

The international donors’ meeting in Brussels on Monday also yielded a total of $496 million which will contribute to the 100-day plan to stabilise the situation in the CAR.

Finally, the CAR’s transitional parliament has elected Catherine Samba-Panza, mayor of Bangui, as interim president. As the CAR’s first female head of state, Ms Samba-Panza made an immediate call for the disarmament of Seleka rebels and ‘anti-balaka’ militia.

‘The situation in the CAR has been a wakeup call and the Council is now more aware of the immediate need for action,’ said Clement Voulé, ISHR’s Program Manager and African Commission Advocacy Coordinator.

‘The election of Ms Samba-Panza is the start of legitimate authority in the CAR. We hope the Council will work closely with the newly appointed Independent Expert, Ms Marie-Thérèse A. Keita Bocoum, and with Ms Samba-Panza to facilitate a democratic election process to promptly resolve the current crisis.’ 

Contact: Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, c.voule@ishr.ch.

Photo: Violaine Martin. The representative of Central African Republic addresses the Human Rights Council, Palais des Nations. 16 December 2013. 

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Mechanism
  • Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Human Rights Council
Country
  • Central African Republic