UN: UN rights expert stresses need to protect civilians in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Ms. Marie-Therese Keita, the UN expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic (CAR), on Wednesday expressed concern about the threats from armed groups and large-scale banditry to the protection of civilians, natural resources and to the crisis recovery process in the country.

In a statement issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a copy obtained by PANA in New York, Ms. Keita, who concluded her seventh visit to CAR, urged the government, in coordination with international forces, to implement robust measures to stop the fighting, ensure the protection civilians and humanitarian actors, and to assist victims and displaced people.

She also asked the authorities to validate the roadmap on the justice reform and to implement the first emergency actions, including holding the second session of the Criminal Court, stressing the need for non-judicial mechanisms to seek truth and reparation measures in order to shed light on the past, move away from the "legacy of violence" and ensure the guarantee of non-repetition.

She welcomed recent progress towards the establishment of the Special Criminal Court mandated to investigate crimes committed since 2003 and encouraged the authorities to speed up the recruitment process, initiate investigations quickly and establish a protection program for victims and witnesses who will participate in court proceedings.

The expert also welcomed the authorities' decision to implement the measures of the Republican Pact adopted at the Bangui Forum last May, including on the fight against impunity, and on the inclusion of individuals and groups who feel marginalized.

Ms. Keita also noted that during her visit, she met with representatives of the new CAR government, including the Prime Minister, ministers of justice, interior, public security and the administration of the territory, social affairs and reconciliation, and environment.

She also held discussions with the President of the National Assembly and his executive office, international partners, representatives of civil society and religious authorities.

Recalling her meeting with civil society representatives, the expert said: "They expressed expectation on the new government to implement key measures, in an inclusive and strategic manner, particularly in the areas of security and justice", but noted a "frustration" and a "feeling of exclusion" among the youth, women and religious communities in Bangui and within the country.

She also inquired into the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against the international forces and noted the efforts carried out to investigate the allegations, protect the victims and witnesses and prevent them from the scourge.

PANA learnt that, on 28 June at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Keita will discuss the issue of transitional justice with representatives of the Central African authorities, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and civil society organizations.

She will also submit her final report to the UN human rights council in September 2016.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 22June2016

22 june 2016 15:45:03

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