News / Africa

HRW Urges UN to Sanction CAR's Seleka Leaders

FILE - Fighters of the Seleka rebel coalition stand in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.
FILE - Fighters of the Seleka rebel coalition stand in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
Human Rights Watch is calling on the U.N. Security Council to sanction leaders of the Central African Republic’s Seleka coalition. The group seized power in March and killed and raped civilians, burned villages and looted property as it took control of the country’s provinces.

HRW says the Central African Republic has become a forgotten crisis. With the launch Wednesday of its new report on the situation there, the New York-based group urges the international community to urgently address the situation.

The group conducted field research from April to June, documenting cases of human rights abuses and identifying patterns of violence committed by Seleka. HRW also obtained satellite imagery confirming the destruction of villages.

Lewis Mudge is the report’s author. He made several trips to the country, where he found hundreds of homes destroyed by Seleka and heard witness accounts of abuses.

“In this case, the Seleka actually made my job quite easy," he said. "When I met with Seleka leaders outside of the capital, they were quite honest and open with me about how they had burned villages and how they had targeted civilians. They looked me in the eye and they said to my face, ‘Yes, this was us.’”

Mudge said this highlights the impunity with which Seleka operates. He noted they do not have the support of the population, which lives in fear of them.

While the report focuses on abuses committed by Seleka, it does recount some severe violations of detainees by security agents working for former president François Bozizé. The president was overthrown by Seleka in March.

The report makes numerous recommendations, including that the CAR government stop tolerating attacks on civilians, investigate abuses and start holding perpetrators accountable.

Mudge said the Security Council also must act, before the country descends into complete chaos.

“Currently the Seleka leaders are operating under the assumption there is no threat because nobody is paying attention. But we do feel the Security Council could do something about this," he said. "They could put certain Seleka leaders who are found to be committing human rights abuses on the sanctions list. It will send a strong message to the Seleka that the world is starting to pay attention and that the world is watching.”

United Nations humanitarian and human rights officials have been warning about the CAR’s instability for months. They say that while security in the capital, Bangui, has improved, in the rest of the country the state is almost non-existent. The humanitarian crisis is growing and insecurity threatens to spread beyond the country’s borders.

African countries have sent more than 1,000 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic to protect civilians. That number is expected to grow to more than 3,500 under African Union auspices.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs