Situation of human rights in the Central African Republic

The security situation has recently deteriorated in Central African Republic. Territorial clashes between armed groups have been reported in most of the provinces. It includes attacks against MINUSCA peacekeepers. No progress has been made in implementing the disagreement, demobilisation and repatriation. The Armed Forces of Central African Republic does not control the security situation. The EU supports the development of the CAR Armed Forces by providing training, accreditation and certification. The CAR requested to lift the arms embargo in order to provide the army with necessary equipment.

The actions of the Government aimed at restoring stability and peace have led to an escalation of violence. The Government has made progress in developing legislative and institutional framework, including the adoption of organic laws and accession to human rights conventions. Many State institutions foreseen in the Constitution came into existence.

The National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan is a new country strategy developed with support from EU, UN and WB. The National Plan sets up the priorities of the Government in order to restore peace, social engagement, and recovery of the economy. 2.2 billion USD has been pledged in donor conference in Brussels to finance the activities of the National Plan. The implementation of the Plan continues to be slow due to the lack of security, transparency and widespread corruption practices.

The mediation efforts have been undertaken to promote a peace agreement between the State and the various armed groups. The mediation is led in the cooperation with the African Union and Economic Community of Central African States. All armed groups, with the exception of 3R met in Rome to discuss the possibility of ceasefire; a coordination meeting was also held in Brussels in order to agree on a road map for the implementation of a peace agreement. Representatives from CSOs have expressed concern at the lack of transparency of the peace building activities; also no woman is involved in the mediation initiatives.

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated severely. The clashes between armed groups caused displacements on a large scale. Half of the population of the country remains dependent on humanitarian assistance. A new humanitarian response plan was discussed in Geneva. The funding provided by international donors has fallen far short of that required to meet humanitarian needs in Central Africa.

Fragile humanitarian situation has a detrimental impact on protection of human rights. The on-going conflict undermines respect for human rights and the rule of law, democratic institutions and sustainable development. As a consequence, an increase in human rights violations and abuses has been recorded. Most of the abuses were committed during clashes, particularly including involving ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka armed groups. Human rights violations include killings, acts of torture, inhuman treatment, sexual violence, and abductions. Arbitrary arrests and detention remain a serious obstacle to the administration of justice in the Central African Republic. Access to food, sanitation and medical assistance is seriously limited. Under the prevailing conditions of conflict and mass displacement, women and children are extremely vulnerable to violations of their rights and violence, including sexual violence. The extent of the conflict and displacement has inevitably had a massive impact on children. The recruitment and use of child soldiers during the recent upsurge in violence is widespread.

The absence of a judiciary outside the capital and lack of effective legal assistance deters victims from filing complaints. Rumors in regard to amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide represent a critical threat to the fight against impunity. It must be noted, that representatives of the government and parliament have denied the possibility of announcing the amnesty.

The president has announced the creation of local peace and reconciliation committees, which would promote justice and recognition of victims. The civil society organizations are taking an active role in the area of prevention, reconciliation, social cohesion, and promotion and protection of human rights.

Recommendations:

  • Promotion of an active, transparent and inclusive participation in the conflict-mediation initiatives, including women’s participation in all peace and security negotiation initiatives;
  • Refrain from granting amnesty, strengthen the judiciary system;
  • Reaffirm the right of victims by implementing victim and witness protection strategy;
  • Expedite the process of restoring State authority by deploying public officials in every prefecture;
  • Strengthen actions in the areas of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation in order to cease immediately all hostilities;
  • Respect peacekeeping forces and the staff and property of humanitarian organizations;
  • Promote advocacy and action to ensure a humanitarian response;
  • Support civil society actors working for peaceful coexistence, conflict prevention and resolution, and human rights;
  • Establish the new National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
  • Strengthen initiatives to protect children and stop recruiting child soldiers.
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