UN: UN rights office urges armed groups in CAR to exercise restraint

New York, US (PANA) - In the wake of a number of killings and attacks on civilians in Central African Republic (CAR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has called on all actors in the country to exercise restraint and prevent further escalation in violence.

"The worst incident took place on 12 October, when several hundred ex-Seleka members attacked the Eveche camp for internally displaced people as well as the Prefect’s office and the MINUSCA [the UN mission in CAR] camp," UN human rights spokesperson, Ms. Ravina Shamdasani, said at a news briefing on Friday.

"In addition to 18 civilians and 12 ex-Seleka members who were killed, many more were injured, houses and offices were torched and looted and internally displaced people forced to flee," she stated.

According to her, violence has escalated in Kaga Bandoro over the past month and premises of non-governmental organizations as well as private homes of humanitarian workers have been attacked.

Ms. Shamdasani stressed the need for individual, judicial accountability for those responsible for the violence and called on all armed groups to participate fully in the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation process, terming it a "crucial step" towards lasting peace in the country.

She also called on the Government of CAR to ensure an inclusive political space where the concerns of all communities are given due regard and long-standing grievances are not left to fester.

Also on Friday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it received reports that three educators and two education officials were among those killed on 12 October when armed men attacked a school where a teachers training, that was part of a UNICEF programme to strengthen the education system in the region, was underway.

A UNICEF statement obtained by PANA in New York said the director of the Regional Pedagogical Centre and the Vice President of the Association of Parents were also killed in the violence.

UNICEF noted that throughout the country, several thousand children are deprived of education because their schools have been looted or are controlled by armed groups.

In the city of Kaga Bandoro itself, the start of the school year (originally scheduled for 19 September) has been delayed due to the volatile security situation.

It stated: "Schools and educational facilities should never be targets by any armed groups. All children have the right to learn in the safety of their schools and of course teachers need that same security to be effective educators and mentors."

It also stressed that attacks against schools are a serious violation of international humanitarian law and called on all parties to honour their obligations and cease attacks on educational institutions.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  14Oct2016

14 october 2016 18:23:39

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