Friday, October 23, 2015

Security Council Affirms Sanctions for Violence in Central African Republic

CAR ViolenceThe United Nations Security Council this week expressed its deep concern about the recent upsurge of violence and instability in the Central African Republic (CAR), and reiterated its decision to apply an asset freeze and travel ban to those engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the country.

In a presidential statement adopted by the Council, members condemned the violence, including all attacks against civilians, intercommunal violence, targeted violence against women and children, lootings of humanitarian premises and attacks against United Nations peacekeepers.

“The Security Council emphasizes that some of these attacks may constitute war crimes and that those responsible for all abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable,” the statement stressed.

Meanwhile, the 15-member body reiterated its support for the Transitional Authorities, under the leadership of Catherine Samba-Panza as the Transitional Head of State, and called on all stakeholders in the CAR to commit to peace and reconciliation through the implementation of the agreements adopted at the Bangui Forum in May 2015.

The Council also took note of the “significant progress” achieved in the voters’ registration process, with an unprecedented number of citizens registered to date, highlighting the “critical importance and urgency” of holding the constitutional referendum and first rounds of presidential and legislative elections by the end of 2015, “in a free, fair, transparent manner.”

Emphasizing the continued role of the region, the Security Council encouraged countries to further use their leverage and regional meetings to encourage progress on the transition and towards these elections, and to prevent spoilers from attempting to disrupt these processes.

In addition, it called upon countries that contribute troops and police to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) to expedite the upgrading of their capabilities, and urged others to provide the necessary support to enable them to reach UN standards without any further delay.

MINUSCA, which was set up in April 2014 to help bring peace after a breakdown of governmental authority and vicious intercommunal fighting between mainly the Muslim Séléka group and the mainly Christian anti-Balaka movement, currently maintains nearly 11,000 uniformed personnel in the country.

The recent crisis was sparked in the capital, Bangui, on 26 September, when according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) violent clashes erupted between the residents of PK5 in Bangui’s 3rd district and the 5th district after the death of a young Muslim taxi motorcyclist. The violence left dozens of people dead and several injured. Houses were looted in other neighbourhoods and many burned. Thousands of people have fled the areas with heightened tension to seek refuge mostly with host families and in displacement sites.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

Photo: The St Michel church and adjacent priest’s house were torched during protests in Bangui sparked by the killing of a Muslim man. UN Photo by Crispin Dembassa-Ketter IRIN

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