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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid