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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid