High Level Interactive Dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights in the Central African Republic (CAR)

Statement by the United States of America
as delivered by David Mandel-Anthony

37th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 21, 2018

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The United States commends the Independent Expert, Ms. Keita Boucoum, for her dedication over the last four years in documenting the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic.

We remain deeply concerned by reports of widespread abuses by armed groups, such as unlawful killings; involuntary disappearances; torture; pervasive sexual violence, including against men and boys; unlawful restrictions on freedom of movement; and the continued use of child soldiers by armed groups.

In 2015, the people of the Central African Republic gathered for the Bangui Forum, to ensure that the preference of the people and their democratic aspirations, rather than violence, would determine their country’s future.  The people’s priorities were clear:  justice, accountability, democracy, the rule of law, and peace.  Since then, the government, working with the UN, NGOs, and international partners, has made commendable progress in these areas, especially in strengthening the rule of law, although much work remains.  The United States commends the CAR government’s recent success in holding criminal court sessions and for the recent conviction of General Andjilo, and UN and government efforts to operationalize the Special Criminal Court, which will open a new chapter in the country’s history by holding senior perpetrators of abuses accountable.

We welcome the Independent Expert’s assessment that a holistic approach to transitional justice – including criminal justice, truth-seeking, and dialogue – is necessary to combat the culture of impunity and create lasting peace in the Central African Republic.  We commend the work of partners and NGOs aiding these efforts, which help to combat the culture of impunity that has plagued the country for too many years.  Admittedly, the judicial system still remains weak, but strengthening justice and accountability will be essential to building lasting peace.

Our question is, what can be done to make progress on the development of a road map on transitional justice?