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HRC Dialogue on the Central African Republic
July 1, 2015

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert (IE) for the Central African Republic
UN Human Rights Council – 29th Session
Delivered by Kara Eyrich
Geneva – June 30, 2015

The United States welcomes the report of the Independent Expert.  The people and leaders of the Central African Republic have made important progress in moving their nation forward.  Nevertheless, these fragile gains must be consolidated.  CAR faces numerous challenges on transitional justice, security sector reform, peacebuilding, reconciliation, and humanitarian support.

We commend CAR’s leaders and citizens on successfully completing consultations throughout the country and holding a successful, long-awaited Bangui Forum.  The Forum resulted in the formal adoption of a national pact for peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction. Armed groups also signed two important agreements to end the unlawful use and recruitment of child soldiers, and to commit to stopping the violence and entering into a Demobilization, Disarmament, Reintegration, and Repatriation (DDRR) process.  We call on all armed groups to honor these commitments in spirit and deed.

We echo the Independent Expert’s concerns about the situation outside of Bangui.  Large portions of CAR’s territory are still outside of the government’s control, and are vulnerable to exploitation by armed and extremist groups.  Humanitarian needs remain significant.
The United States agrees with the Independent Expert that addressing impunity is vital to ensuring a lasting peace.  Participants in the Bangui Forum expressed their deep desire to see an end to impunity in CAR, and their longing for access to justice for all of CAR’s people.  We applaud the promulgation of legislation to establish CAR’s Special Criminal Court.  It is imperative that this court be set up quickly.  The United States also supports the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s investigations in the CAR.

CAR’s justice system, the ICC investigation, the Special Criminal Court, and any new mechanisms recommended by the Bangui Forum, such as a truth and reconciliation commission, must work together in order to end impunity and rebuild security.

We also strongly agree with the Independent Expert that a peaceful, democratic political transition that includes constitutional reform and elections is a critical step to achieving lasting peace and stability in CAR.  We continue to urge the CAR authorities to accelerate preparations for elections that are credible, transparent, timely, and fully inclusive of all of CAR’s people, including the internally displaced and refugees.

What has the IE observed about CAR’s capacity to support the release and rehabilitation of thousands of child soldiers in CAR?

What are the most important next steps for the CAR government in the process of reconciliation and accountability for the human rights tragedies that have impacted CAR?

Thank you.