As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
32nd Session of the Human Rights Council
June 28, 2016
The United States thanks Independent Expert Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum for her continued work on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic.
The Central African Republic has come a tremendous way since violence and insecurity befell the country in 2013. Thanks to the resiliency of the Central African people, the country now finds itself on the cusp of a new beginning.
The United States welcomes positive steps Central Africans have taken, including turning out in great numbers to participate in elections in March, welcoming the Pope to Bangui last November, and participating in the Bangui Forum and nationwide grassroots consultations.
Central African authorities, with international support, must remain committed to developing and implementing comprehensive disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform processes.
We strongly encourage Central African authorities to extend state authority, including judges and mayors, into the interior of the country, where armed groups operate with impunity. We strongly support the establishment of the Special Criminal Court and its efforts to hold those accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of genocide.
We continue to be outraged by reports of violence and abuse against vulnerable people, particularly women and children. These include the alleged murders of at least 18 Central Africans by Republic of Congo peacekeepers, attacks by armed militias, arbitrary killings, sexual violence, and sexual abuse by international, including UN, peacekeepers. We welcome steps by the UN Secretary General and others to implement the UN’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and call on troop and police contributing countries to UN, AU, and other forces to hold those responsible for sexual and other abuses to account.
What steps must the new government take in the short term to fulfill and achieve the clear desires of Central Africans for a stable and secure country?