A resurgence of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic, C.A.R., raises grave concerns for that country’s political transition and respect for the human rights of all its citizens.
Many fear that the violence, in which 41 people have died since September 25, could degenerate into civil war if not contained soon. The international community has been unanimous in its condemnation of the attacks on and among civilians and against humanitarian workers.
We have also called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and appealed for militias to lay down arms now. Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million Central Africans have expressed their wish for a break with the old ways of violence by registering to vote in elections originally scheduled for later this month.
It is critical that elections take place to allow a democratically-elected government to lead the citizens of the Central African Republic to lasting peace and recovery. The United States reaffirms its support for the ongoing political transition process and congratulates transitional authorities for recently completing a draft constitution.
Gerard Hodel, with the U.S. delegation to the UNHRC, stated: ”The Central African Republic has a unique opportunity in the coming months to move decisively toward peace, reconciliation, and justice.” Clearly, stopping the violence and seizing that opportunity will be critical for the country’s future.
The U.S., while encouraged by recent handovers of several hundred child soldiers to UNICEF, remains deeply concerned about the several thousand children who remain in armed groups. The U.S. strongly recommends that the transitional government, with international community support, prioritize their return.
The U.S. also condemns attacks by armed groups against humanitarian convoys and peacekeepers and fully supports the efforts of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and French forces under Operation Sangaris to work with the Central African Republic authorities to reestablish law and order. And we welcome the U.N. Secretary General’s pledge to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for UN forces who sexually abuse Central Africans, including children.
The U.S. is committed to working with transitional authorities and its international partners to help the C.A.R transition to a democracy where the rights of all citizens are respected.