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Central African Republic

    October 11, 2017

    The United Nations must take firm action in response to credible new evidence that UN peacekeepers drugged and raped a young woman in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today after interviewing the victim and 10 others with direct knowledge of the case.

    The organization’s on-the-ground research revealed that one or more Mauritanian peacekeepers allegedly raped a 19-year-old woman in the central town of Bambari on the evening of 30 September 2017.

    “We have uncovered compelling evidence suggesting that at least one Mauritanian peacekeeper, and possibly more, raped a young woman,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International. “The public authorities in the town of Bambari have confirmed the rape, and the UN is investigating it.

    “If substantiated, these serious rape allegations should result in the repatriation, suspension, and prosecution of any troops suspected of criminal responsibility. The UN must also ensure the victim receives support and damages. Its peacekeepers are in CAR to protect civilians from violence, rather than perpetrate it.”

    September 07, 2017

    A wave of brutal attacks in the Central African Republic, including the systematic rape and murder of civilians, highlights the urgent need for stronger UN action to protect civilians, Amnesty International said today.

    On-the-ground research by the organization in August 2017 also uncovered a horrifying surge in torture, pillage, and forced displacement by a Seleka off-shoot, the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

    “Communities living in Basse-Kotto have been left at the mercy of the UPC. Women have been raped, men murdered, villages destroyed, and the region’s UN peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stemming these abuses,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “Civilians are not accidental victims in this conflict; they are direct targets. If the UN’s mandate in the Central African Republic is to mean anything, civilians must be better protected.”

    May 30, 2017

    In response to the launch today in Bangui of an extensive United Nations report mapping 620 incidents involving serious human rights violations and abuses, as well as crimes under international law committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between 2003 and 2015, Erica Bussey, Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Advisor said:

    “This report provides a systematic and comprehensive account of hundreds of horrendous human rights violations and abuses committed over 12 years, and clearly demonstrates the need for accountability to ensure justice and peace in the country.”

    “This report will be of critical importance to the newly-appointed Special Prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court, particularly in determining a prosecutorial strategy, given the vast scale of the crimes committed and the need to prioritize amongst them.”

    “The report comes at an important point in the fight against impunity. Several important steps have recently been taken to establish the Special Criminal Court and nominate magistrates, and this report should help advance efforts to ensure justice for victims of the conflict.”

    May 11, 2017
    Members of armed groups who committed rapes and killings remain at large CAR public demands accountability for crimes Amnesty International and CAR civil society call for justice and reparation for victims in #CARJustice campaign Amnesty International and civil society organisations in Central African Republic (CAR) are today launching a national campaign urging authorities in CAR to tackle a deeply entrenched culture of impunity which has prevented thousands of victims of human rights abuses and crimes under international law from receiving any form of justice.   The campaign Justice Now! Towards lasting peace in CAR calls on authorities to commit to a tougher stance against impunity by holding those responsible for serious crimes to account and for CAR’s technical and financial partners to support the government’s efforts, including by funding the country’s new Special Criminal Court.  
    January 11, 2017

    Released 11 January 2017 00.01 GMT

    Individuals suspected of committing war crimes including killing and rape during the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) are evading investigation and arrest, and in some cases live side by side with their victims, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    The organization is calling for major investment to rebuild the country’s justice system and establish the Special Criminal Court (SCC) to help bring perpetrators to account.

    “Thousands of victims of human rights abuses across CAR are still waiting for justice to be served, while individuals who have committed horrific crimes like murder and rape roam free. This is impunity on a staggering scale, and it is undermining efforts to rebuild CAR and create a sustainable peace,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher. 

    November 14, 2016

    European Union (EU) member states and all donors attending the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic (CAR) on 17 November must take concrete steps to end impunity in CAR, as a deteriorating security situation threatens to plunge the country into yet more deadly violence, Amnesty International said today. 

    “There is a climate of impunity in CAR, where members of armed groups and militias alleged to have committed appalling human rights abuses and crimes under international law, move freely throughout the country and continue to fuel violence,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

    “Without accountability for past and current crimes, the pattern of conflict will continue in CAR. Leaders of EU member states must provide strong political and financial support for the fight against impunity, including by strengthening the Special Criminal Court and rebuilding the national justice system.”

    A lawyer in the capital Bangui told Amnesty International in October that the level of impunity had “almost reached a point of no return”.

    April 21, 2016

    New Government Should Quickly Establish Special Court

    21 Central African and international human rights organizations issued a statement today calling on the new president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, to make justice for grave international crimes a top priority for his government. President Touadéra was sworn in on March 30, 2016, and his new government took office on April 11.

    “The people of the Central African Republic have suffered unspeakable abuses and have made clear that they want to turn the page on a past where impunity ruled,” the human rights groups said. “President Touadéra should demonstrate leadership and take concrete steps to advance justice for grave international crimes, notably through the swift establishment of the Special Criminal Court and continued cooperation with the International Criminal Court.”

    March 31, 2016

    “The announced withdrawal of French Sangaris forces from CAR later this year further increases the urgency for the UN Security Council to ensure that the MINUSCA peacekeeping force is much better equipped to protect civilians and promote justice,” said Stephen Cockburn, Deputy Regional Director for Amnesty International in West and Central Africa.

    “Yesterday’s inauguration of CAR’s new President Faustin-Archange Touadéra offers an opportunity to rebuild and stabilize the country, including to bring those suspected of having committed serious human rights violations to justice. But to do so CAR needs the international community to boost its support, including by ensuring the peacekeeping force is well-equipped to prevent and contain large-scale violence.”

    March 21, 2016

    “Today’s unanimous guilty verdict by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Jean-Pierre Bemba is an historic moment in the battle for justice and accountability for victims of sexual violence in the Central African Republic and around the world,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

    “Not only is it the first time that the ICC has convicted someone for rape as a war crime but it is also the first ICC conviction based on command responsibility.”

    “The judgment sends a clear message that impunity for sexual violence as a tool of war will not be tolerated. It also makes clear that military commanders and political superiors must take all necessary steps to prevent their subordinates from committing such heinous acts and will be held accountable if they fail to do so.”

     

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 #236  jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    February 07, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  8 February 2016

    Civilians in Central African Republic (CAR) remain at risk of deadly violence and instability unless serious weaknesses in the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, are urgently addressed, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    With a new president to be elected in less than a week, Amnesty’s report Mandated to protect, equipped to succeed? Strengthening peacekeeping in Central African Republic analyses how major gaps in personnel and equipment resulted in UN peacekeepers failure to prevent and contain a serious outbreak of violence in Bangui in September 2015 that led to the death of over 75 people, including many civilians.

    The organization is calling for a major review of the apparent failure to protect civilians in September 2015, including of MINUSCA’s capacity to carry out its mandate, covering factors such as training, equipment, coordination and the number of operational uniformed and civilian personnel.

    January 06, 2016

    The UN’s welcome decision to investigate new allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic again highlights the need for further reform and for perpetrators to be brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in CAR, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga, confirmed yesterday that UNICEF staff had interviewed four girls reported to have been abused by peacekeepers. He called on troop-contributing countries to open their own investigations and offered support from the UN Office of Internal Oversight.

     “The reports of further allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply disturbing and highlight just how much needs to be done to stamp out this recurrent practice. The investigation is a welcome sign of good intent, but promises of zero-tolerance must be kept, and those responsible brought to justice in fair trials,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.  

    December 23, 2015

    (Bangui, December 23, 2015) – The Central African Republic transitional government, the United Nations, and donors should intensify their efforts to establish a Special Criminal Court, 23 Central African and international human rights groups said today.

    In June 2015, the Central African Republic’s transitional government promulgated a law passed in April to establish a Special Criminal Court inside the national judicial system, consisting of national and international staff, to investigate and prosecute the gravest crimes committed in the country since 2003, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    “Our organizations welcome the steps taken by the transitional government to put an end to impunity for atrocities committed in the Central African Republic, notably through the establishment of a Special Criminal Court,” the groups said. “These efforts must continue and be supported by international actors to ensure that the court envisioned on paper becomes a reality as quickly as possible.”

    November 27, 2015

    Central African Republic (CAR) must seize the historic opportunity that Pope Francis’ two-day visit presents to place human rights and justice at the heart of national reconciliation efforts, Amnesty International said today.

    At least 75 people have been killed, many of them civilians, in a fresh wave of sectarian violence in the capital Bangui since 26 September 2015.

    “The Pope has a real opportunity to call for the protection of civilians of all faiths and use his great moral authority to help reduce the tension that has recently resulted in deadly violence,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

    “The Pope’s visit is a rare opportunity to press for an end to the impunity that too many of those responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights still enjoy. The impunity is a key driver in the conflict and all those reasonably suspected of committing crimes under international law and other serious violations and abuses of human rights must be brought to justice through fair trials.”

    September 29, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT 30 September 2015

    The Central African Republic’s (CAR) biggest traders have purchased diamonds worth several million dollars without adequately investigating whether they financed armed groups responsible for summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances and widespread looting, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    The report, Chains of Abuse: The global diamond supply chain and the case of the Central African Republic, documents several other abuses in the diamond sector, including child labour and tax abuse.

    CAR’s diamond companies could soon start exporting diamonds stockpiled during the on-going conflict in which 5,000 have died. An export ban in place since May 2013 will be partially lifted once the government meets conditions set in July 2015 by the Kimberley Process, which is responsible for preventing the international trade in blood diamonds. Before the conflict, diamonds represented half the country’s exports.

    September 28, 2015

      
    The new wave of violence which has left dozens of civilians dead and at least 100 injured highlights the fragility of the reconciliation process and the urgent need for enhanced protection of civilians, disarmament and an end to impunity in Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today. 

    Clashes erupted over the weekend in the capital Bangui and have continued today.  

    “The deadly violence in the capital illustrates that CAR remains in a very fragile state and that immediate action must be taken to enhance the capacity of UN peacekeepers to detect and respond effectively to such incidents before escalation of attacks on civilians,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International regional director for West and Central Africa. 

    “Small arms have been used by all sides to the conflict to attack civilians. The disarmament of all civilians and armed groups therefore needs to be speeded up to prevent all sides to the conflict using these weapons to commit further crimes under international law, including war crimes.”  

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