UN expert calls for calm, protection of civilians in Central African Republic

3 May 2018

UN expert calls for calm, protection of civilians in Central African Republic

A UN human rights experts has called for calm and for all sides to exercise restraint in the Central African Republic (CAR) following deadly attacks in the capital Bangui. 

Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum urged authorities to strengthen the protection of civilians amid an upsurge in violence across the country. 

"I express my condolences to the families of the victims, and I deplore once again all attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers and peacekeepers throughout the country," said Ms Keita Bocoum. 

She said the upsurge in violence underscored the need to look at implementing a sub-regional strategy on the circulation of arms and the neutralisation of armed groups.

On 26 April, the Independent Expert concluded a visit to Gabon for regional talks on the situation in CAR. 

During her mission Ms Keita Bocoum held talks with an adviser to Gabon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Special Representative for Central Africa and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the Deputy Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in charge of the Department of Human Integration, Peace, Security and Stability, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

Ms Keita-Bocoum praised increased cooperation between the United Nations and ECCAS on regional peace and security issues and their impact on human rights in CAR. "ECCAS is a key partner in supporting dialogue and the African Initiative for Peace in CAR, as well as backing progress on justice and reconciliation and the humanitarian situation in the country,” she said. 

On cross-border issues, the Independent Expert noted ongoing multilateral efforts to reach agreements on issues related to transhumance and recalled the importance of addressing the plight of refugees in Central Africa.

“I appreciate the collaboration between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the ECCAS with regard to sharing experiences, particularly in the context of the ECCAS reform and the mutual reinforcement of regional entities. 

“I have also noted developments in the formulation of a regional action plan for implementing the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security,” Ms Keita Bocoum said.

The Independent Expert’s next mission to the Central African Republic will come ahead of her report in June to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.