Statement & Questions by the United States of America
Delivererd by Jacqueline G. Burns, U.S. Delegation
Human Rights Council 24nd Session
September 25, 2013
Thank you Mr. Vice President. The United States thanks the Deputy High Commissioner and the Minister of Justice for their remarks concerning the serious human rights situation in the Central African Republic. We also thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and welcome the release of its interim report on human rights violations in the CAR. We eagerly await the final report in March.
The United States is gravely concerned by the continuing violations of international humanitarian law and reports of widespread human rights abuses by the Séléka rebel alliance, resulting in deaths of civilians, destruction of homes and places of worship, and the widespread displacement of civilians. Although the alliance’s leader, Michel Djotodia [joh-toh-JAH], recently announced its dissolution, the abuses by its former members continue.
The CAR transitional government, with the support of the African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (AFISM-CAR) and the international community, must put an end to this violence and establish security throughout the Central African Republic. These efforts should include developing a mechanism to document, monitor, and investigate human rights violations and abuses. Steps must also be taken to end impunity for unlawful acts that occurred during the conflict and that are documented in the OHCHR interim report, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, looting of private and public property, sexual and gender-based violence, and the alleged unlawful recruitment of approximately 3,500 child-soldiers. The transitional government must ensure that there is no impunity for these violations and abuses and that former Séléka rebels responsible for these abuses are not integrated into the CAR armed forces.
Furthermore, the roadmap for political transition that was established in the Libreville Agreements of January 2013 and the N’Djamena Declaration of April 2013 must be upheld. The roadmap includes a commitment to holding free, fair, and transparent elections by February 2015. To meet this commitment, the Prime Minister, the President for the Transition, the National Transitional Council, and civil society will need to engage in inclusive dialogue and planning. It is also essential for the Central African Republic’s democratic progress that steps be taken to ensure that members of the transitional government are not allowed to run for office, as specified in the N’Djamena Declaration. We would like to conclude with two questions:
- The United States welcomes the African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (AFISM-CAR). What steps can be taken by the international community, particularly those countries in the region, to increase bilateral efforts to support the mission?
- According to the N’Djamena Declaration, members of the transitional government will not be allowed to run in the next election. What can be done to ensure this is upheld?