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U.S. Statement at Human Rights Council Discussion on Central African Republic
September 30, 2015

Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Central African Republic

Statement by the United States of America
Human Rights Council Session 30, Geneva
September 30, 2015
As delivered by Gerard Hodel 

The United States thanks the Independent Expert for her reporting and recommendations regarding human rights in the Central African Republic.  We agree that the Central African Republic has a unique opportunity in the coming months to move decisively toward peace, reconciliation, and justice.

We reaffirm our support for the ongoing political transition process and congratulate transitional authorities for recently completing a draft constitution.   We welcome progress on voter registration and underscore the importance of extending voting rights to refugees abroad so that results are truly representative.

While we were encouraged by the recent handovers of several hundred former child soldiers to UNICEF, we remain deeply concerned about the several thousand children who remain in armed groups.  We strongly recommend that the transitional government, with the international community’s support, prioritize the return of child soldiers from armed groups.

We condemn armed group attacks against humanitarian convoys and peacekeepers, which are solely present to assist Central Africans in their pursuit of long-term stability.

We strongly encourage the UN to take all necessary steps to enforce its zero-tolerance policy and improve reporting procedures relating to sexual abuse, including of children, by peacekeepers.  We welcome the Secretary General’s pledge to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for UN forces who commit these abuses.  We call on Troop Contributing Countries to investigate accusations of sexual violence and other crimes and hold perpetrators accountable.

Question:  We would like to pose the following question to the independent expert. What are your suggestions for addressing impunity, particularly when victims may be reluctant to file police complaints because law enforcement officials may be of a different religious or ethnic background?