UN: UN stresses need for access to thousands affected by CAR violence

New York, US (PANA) - UN officials have again expressed their concern on Tuesday over the
situation in Central African Republic (CAR), where more than 30 people have been killed,
over 100 have been wounded and thousands are seeking shelter amid the recent upsurge in
violence.

They also stressed the need for free movement for aid workers to reach those in need.

According to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MINUSCA), although the security
situation has calmed in the last 24 hours, tensions persist in the capital, Bangui, which had
been the scene of attacks against civilians, violence between communities and attacks
against humanitarian personnel since a young Muslim man was murdered on 26 September.

Speaking to journalists at the UN headquarters, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said: "MINUSCA is conducting patrols around critical areas, with the view of protecting civilians, including one Muslim and two Christian hot spots at 3rd and 5th districts in Bangui.

"As of today, the main road towards the airport has been re-opened, as have some other key
roads and barricades have been removed."

He said that on Monday, over 500 prisoners escaped from the Ngaragba prison in
Bangui and others escaped in Bouar. "Some of these include well-known perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, and pose a serious threat to civilians and the protection of victims and witnesses and beyond, to the overall security situation."

Dujarric noted that the UN mission in CAR was engaging in a political dialogue with local
authorities and all other actors, including government officials and community leaders
in order to put an end to further violence.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said: "The prison escape is a huge
setback for the preservation of law and order, and for the fight against impunity, which
has been and remains a chronic problem in CAR."

Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva,  OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville said: "This is a crucial moment for the Central African Republic. The Transitional Government authorities must work closely with MINUSCA and other international forces to urgently stop what appears to be a deliberate attempt to derail the current peace process and important progress made in CAR over the last 18 months."

Also, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, Aurelien Agbenonci, and the rest of the
humanitarian community there deeply condemned the attacks against humanitarian
organizations and residences during the latest outbreak of violence, and called for the
free movement of aid workers to reach civilians in need.

"The work of non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies providing
emergency relief to the population is based on the principles of humanity, impartiality
and neutrality. The safety and security of aid workers and their property is a condition
for programmes to be carried out," said Mr. Agbenonci.

"Urgent access to the displaced population is needed, so I call on all parties to respect
international humanitarian law, and displaced people are reported to be in a state of
shock and extreme fear.

"Many have been displaced repeatedly. Central to the work of any aid agency is that
their national and international staff members are free to move, unimpeded, to reach
civilians in need."

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said over the past three days, conditions for aid agencies in Bangui have deteriorated.

OCHA said that several offices and residences of relief organizations have been looted and their freedom of movement impeded, especially health workers in hospitals.

According to the agency, more than 27,000 people have fled the areas with heightened tension,
to seek refuge mostly with host families and in displacement sites.

On Monday, both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council called for an immediate end to the sudden eruption of violence in CAR and urged the country’s leaders and partners in the sub-region to work closely with the UN to prevent the violence from derailing the political process.

PANA in New York reports that a high-level meeting on CAR is expected to take place on Thursday at the UN headquarters on the side lines of the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate.
-0- PANA  AA/AR  28Sept2015

29 september 2015 19:17:16




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