Statement by the United States on the Report of the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic
Human Rights Council, 25th Session
As Delivered by Paula Schriefer
Head of the U.S. Delegation to the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 26, 2014
The United States thanks the Independent Expert for excellent work and for her presentation today. We commend her efforts to raise greater awareness of the grave human rights abuses occurring in the Central African Republic. We also appreciate High Commissioner Pillay’s visit to the CAR last week, and her candid assessment of the harrowing situation. We believe it is critical that perpetrators of atrocities be held accountable in order to break the cycle of inter-communal violence and retribution, and achieve lasting peace. To that end, we welcome the recent visit of the commissioners of the UN’s Commission of Inquiry for the CAR and the initial work of the OHCHR team supporting the COI in Bangui. We are also encouraged by recent statements indicating that the transitional CAR government and the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor will work together as the prosecutor begins initial inquiries into the recent reports of atrocities.
- Despite recent positive initiatives of transitional President Samba Panzato bolster security, we are deeply concerned about horrific reports of human rights abuses. What specific steps can the transitional government take to stop the targeted killings and assassinations, increasing incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, attacks on humanitarian workers,– such as those that killed two Red Cross Movement workers earlier this month–, and the dissemination of sectarian messages that encourage violence and the destruction of property?
- We are deeply troubled by reports of the lack of qualified police and gendarmes on the streets and non-functioning courts and prisons. While one prison recently re-opened, security remains a challenge. Justice and accountability must be a priority for the CAR government; ending impunity for past abuses will help to deter future human rights abuses and contribute to a more sustainable peace. What more can the international community do to help the government establish rule of law—to reconstitute its police and gendarmerie and rebuild its judicial infrastructure?
- We are concerned about deteriorating religious tolerance and reports of attacks by armed groups on the basis of religion. The new government has been unsuccessful in preventing or punishing widespread lawlessness and violence, including violence against Christians and Muslims. What role can the international faith-based and non-governmental community play, in partnership with the government, in quelling the violence and promoting mutual respect and understanding across faiths?
- The human rights division of BINUCA and human rights components of other UN elements present in the CAR have undertaken an incredible task given the difficult conditions on the ground. Based on your recent visit, what can be done to bolster the human rights monitoring and reporting work and the technical assistance aspect of the UN in the CAR?
- More than 70,000 new refugees have fled the Central African Republic since December due to violent attacks on their communities. These refugees as well as hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons face dire humanitarian conditions that will only grow worse as the rainy season approaches. We urge the transitional government and the international community take further steps to address the ongoing insecurity and violent killings that have forced and continue to force refugees and IDPs from their homes.