Statement and Questions by the United States of America
Delivered by Peter Mulrean
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., U.S. Mission
Human Rights Council Special Session
Geneva, Switzerland – January 20, 2014
Thank you Ambassador Samba for your remarks for your remarks concerning the grave human rights situation in your country. We also thank the High Commissioner for her statement today, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for its work to support the human rights office of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA), and for rapidly deploying an assessment team in December to the CAR. We look forward to OHCHR’s interim report to be delivered at the March session of the Council. Finally, we would like to note the overwhelming support for this Special Session that so many member and observer states have shown, and believe it is a testament to the ability of the Council to address situations such as this, as well as to the attention that the situation in the CAR warrants.
We welcome the appointment of Ms. Marie Therese Keita Bocoum as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the CAR, given the ongoing dire security situation, and reports of increased human rights violations and abuses since the Council last addressed the CAR in September 2013. We are also pleased to support and cosponsor the draft resolution that will be presented for adoption later today.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the ongoing and widespread violations and abuses of human rights in the CAR. We are particularly troubled by the eruption of large-scale, retaliatory cycles of communal violence in December 2013, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and an almost complete breakdown in law and order in the capital Bangui, and across the country. The reports of heinous acts of violence committed against women and children, including killings, mutilations, and rape, are especially troubling.
The United States supports the efforts of the African Union-led stabilization force, MISCA, and the French military mission, as the most immediate and effective mechanisms to help prevent further atrocities and restore security.
In the wake of the January 10 resignations of the president and prime minister, we welcomed the active leadership of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) in convening the Transitional National Council to discuss the need for political leadership capable of restoring stability in the Central African Republic. We support the efforts of the Transitional National Council as it selects a new transitional president and prime minister. We encourage TNC members to conduct a transparent and inclusive process that will lead to the selection of leaders capable of ending the violence and restoring stability.
Serious human rights challenges will face the CAR’s new leadership once it assumes office. It must restore security, law and order. It must create the conditions for free and fair elections no later than February 2015, as established in the N’Djamena Declaration of April 2013 and the Transitional Charter. It must begin a national process, that includes women, on how to provide justice and accountability for the serious human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties, including executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, rape and sexual violence, and the unlawful recruitment of child soldiers.
The interim CAR leadership will also need to work in cooperation with the newly established UN Commission of Inquiry and the Independent Expert as they work to fulfill their respective mandates, and we encourage the IE in turn to cooperate with the COI and BINUCA. The Independent Expert can be a useful resource for the CAR interim government, local leaders, and civil society to provide technical assistance and capacity building to improve the human rights situation. The United States looks forward to the prompt establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, which will play a critical role in ensuring that those responsible for serious violations and abuses will be held accountable.
Successful reconciliation initiatives are essential to restoring peace and stability between communities that have long lived side-by-side in tolerance in the Central African Republic. The United States has encouraged inter-religious dialogue, including most recently by sponsoring a web-based forum on January 7 for U.S. and CAR religious leaders to exchange views from Washington and Bangui. We plan to continue this outreach.