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Human Rights Council 37: Central African Republic

This UK statement was delivered at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council during the High-level Interactive Dialogue on the Central African Republic, held on 21 March 2018.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

At the outset, we condemn the recent attack on education workers near Markounda and offers its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the CAR government.

The UK is concerned at the fragile security and human rights situation in CAR, with indiscriminate attacks on civilians by armed groups, including killings, torture, sexual assaults, abductions, extortion and looting.

We are particularly concerned about sexual and gender based violence. The Medecins Sans Frontieres report from Bossangoa about the attack, mass abduction and rape of a group of women near Kiriwiri last month is a disturbing reminder of the levels of violence.

We recognize the CAR Government and others’ efforts to push forward Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) in order to end the cycle of violence. However, there remains little evidence that armed groups are committed to the process. The UK urges all parties to engage in the African Union led African Peace Initiative and work together to bring an end to the violence which continues to destablise the country.

We commend the progress made towards establishing the Special Criminal Court and welcome the fact that human rights investigations are to be launched imminently. The fight against impunity remains essential to delivering lasting stability in CAR. The UK agrees with the Independent Expert that this fight must be complemented by non-judicial mechanisms of truth seeking, such as inter-community dialogue, in order to reconcile the ethnic and religious divide.

We would like to ask the independent Expert:

•What steps are needed to reinvigorate the DDR process and ensure real progress can be made?

•What evidence did the Independent Expert find of efforts to tackle sexual and gender based violence and what more needs to be done?

Allow me to stress that the UK will continue to work with international partners to support CAR in their efforts to bring peace and stability to the country.

Published 21 March 2018