Welcome to the United Nations

With armed groups spreading in Central African Republic, UN expert urges action

The situation in the Central African Republic is “unsustainable,” an independent United Nations expert today warned, urging the Government to stop the spread of armed groups and increasing human rights violations.

“This situation is unsustainable and the country must regain the integrity and sovereignty of its territory without further delay, to ensure security and the rule of law,” said the independent expert on human rights in the country, Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum.

Armed groups are spreading at a “worrying” rate in central and southern areas, particularly in the regions of Ouaka, Mbomou and Basse-Kotto, the expert added.

She noted that the violence and a lack of a Government response had sparked outrage in the population.

“The State has an obligation to protect the population,” said Ms. Keita Bocoum. “The international community, especially the UN stabilization force MINUSCA, must work alongside the State to implement this responsibility effectively.”

Recent human rights abuses in the country include killings rapes and targeting of UN peacekeepers, according to a recent mapping report of the violations.

The independent UN expert called for human rights violations to be investigated “without further delay” and invited the Minister of Justice to strengthen the resources of national courts.

The comments come one day after a reported deal between the Government and 13 of the 14 armed groups active in the country that has been ravaged by three years of conflict.

Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013. According to the UN, more than half the population is in dire need of assistance. Despite significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest.

Fresh violence surfaced earlier this year. As of May 2017, there were more than 500,000 internally displaced persons nationwide, a figure that had not been reached since August 2014.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.