UN: UN rights chief warns on inter-communal strife in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - On the eve of a constitutional referendum meant to help stabilize the Central African Republic (CAR) following conflict between Muslims and Christians, UN human rights chief Zeid Al Hussein on Friday expressed deep concern at mounting sectarian language, warning of inter-communal strife due to the highly volatile pre-election atmosphere.

"I strongly condemn the incitement of violence and provocation of inter-communal tensions by some armed groups and political leaders. This could very easily lead to yet another wave of targeted attacks in the country," Mr. Al Hussein said in a statement obtained by PANA in New York.

"I am also deeply concerned that all sides, including the authorities at the highest level, are calling for vigilante groups to be established. The increasing tendency among Christians and Muslims to organize in self-defence groups and to exclude any person not considered part of their community is deeply worrying," he said.

The UN right chief noted that as the referendum is taking place this weekend, he deplored the violent incidents that erupted in Bangui, the capital, earlier this week after the list of eligible
candidates for the presidential elections, to be held later this month, was made public.

The UN human rights chief called on the State authorities to take urgent action to stem
incitement to violence and hatred, and ensure accountability for human rights violations.

A new wave of inter-communal violence erupted in September, killing at least 130 people, injuring 430 others, and triggering an 18 per cent increase in internally displaced persons (IDPs) to 447,500, after nine months of relative calm saw IDPs returning home following over two years of fighting between the mainly Muslim Seleka and mainly Christian anti-Balaka groups.

Eleven cases of sexual and gender-based violence have also been documented since then and attacks against UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) personnel and international troops are mounting, according to the statement.

A first human rights report issued by MINUSCA and UN human rights office on Friday showed that, despite a general improvement between September 2014 and May 2015, human rights violations continued on a daily basis.

It said that at least 785 people, including 88 women and 43 children, were victims of abuse, including killings, torture, abductions, sexual violence and hostage-taking.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 11Dec2015

11 december 2015 22:35:29




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