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Security Council deplores ongoing violence, attacks on civilians in Central African Republic

The United Nations Security Council today expressed concern at the ongoing clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) and deplored that civilians from some communities, UN peacekeepers and aid workers continue to be targeted.

In a Presidential statement read out at a formal meeting, members of the Security Council said they believed this violence “continues to destabilize the country, cause many civilian casualties and cause large displacements of the population, even though the parties to the conflict have agreed to put an immediate end to hostilities.”

The Security Council deplored all attacks against civilians, human rights violations and violations of human rights and reiterated the urgent need to bring to justice all perpetrators of these violations or abuses, their status or political affiliation.

The Council reaffirmed that some of these acts may constitute crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and recalled that, at the request of the national authorities, the Prosecutor of the Court opened an inquiry in 2014 on crimes allegedly committed since 2012.

Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, have plunged the country of about 4.5 million people into civil conflict since 2012. In addition to those displaced within the CAR, more than 484,000 people from the country have been forced to seek refuge in neighbouring nations.

In its Statement, the Council stressed the importance of combating impunity, and called for “the Special Criminal Court to be operational and for the judiciary, the penitentiary system and the criminal justice system to be restored throughout the country.”

The Council also expressed its deep concern about the humanitarian situation in CAR and once again called on “all parties to authorize and facilitate the safe and timely passage of humanitarian assistance for to those who need it.”

Reiterating support for the President of the CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, the Council welcomed his efforts to advance dialogue with armed groups and extend the authority of the State throughout the country. It also encouraged the authorities “to carry out without delay an open political process.”

The Statement went on to strongly condemn the violence perpetrated by armed groups and called upon all leaders of these groups to make the provisions of the agreement – signed in Rome on 19 June 2017 under the auspices of the Sant-Egidio community – known to their members so that they immediately implement the cessation provisions “and to honour, without any restriction, their commitment to the process of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation.”

Finally, the Council called upon all partners in CAR, particularly the African Union and neighbouring States, to adopt as a matter of urgency the Joint Action Plan concluded on 21 June in Brussels on mediation with armed groups, and to support its implementation, with a view to achieving a lasting cessation of hostilities throughout the territory.