CAR: Pope Francis arrives in CAR

Bangui, Central African Republic (PANA) - Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui, for a two-day visit on the final leg of his three-nation African tour that has also taken him to Kenya and Uganda.

He arrived amid tight security in the strife-torn country that has seen no peace for several years.

He told the welcoming party that he had come as "a pilgrim of peace".

"Unity in diversity is a constant challenge, one which demands creativity, generosity, self-sacrifice and respect for others," the Catholic news service quoted him as saying.

Amnesty International (AI) said on Saturday CAR must seize the historic opportunity that Pope Francis’ two-day visit presented to place human rights and justice at the heart of national reconciliation efforts.

The human rights group noted in a statement obtained by PANA on Saturday that at least 75 people had been killed, many of them civilians, in a fresh wave of sectarian violence in Bangui since 26 September 2015.

“The Pope has a real opportunity to call for the protection of civilians of all faiths and use his great moral authority to help reduce the tension that has recently resulted in deadly violence,” the statement quoted Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher, as saying.

“The Pope’s visit is a rare opportunity to press for an end to the impunity that too many of those responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights still enjoy. The impunity is a key driver in the conflict and all those reasonably suspected of committing crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses of human rights must be brought to justice through fair trials.”

CAR has known no peace with wars fought for political, ethnic and religious reasons.
-0- PANA MA/AR 29Nov2015

29 november 2015 17:06:10

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