News / Africa

UN Reports Grave Human Rights Violations in CAR

FILE - Deserted, razed villages line more than 100 kilometers of road south of Bossangoa.
FILE - Deserted, razed villages line more than 100 kilometers of road south of Bossangoa.
Lisa Schlein
A new United Nations report presents an appalling picture of human rights violations in the Central African Republic, including killings, kidnappings, torture, and rape.  The report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights describes events since the explosion of violence in the capital, Bangui and the northern town of Bossangoa on December 5 and 6. 

U.N. fact-finders who visited the CAR last month have confirmed there were large-scale killings of Christian and Muslim civilians carried out on December 5 and 6 in Bangui and Bossangoa. 

The U.N. estimates 1,000 people in Bangui alone were killed during the two days of violence.

The violence began when Christian militias, known as the anti-balaka, mounted coordinated attacks in Bangui against Muslim forces that were formerly part of the Seleka rebel alliance.  The attacks prompted a series of reprisals by both sides, which spiraled into sectarian violence between Muslim and Christian civilians in the capital and elsewhere in the country. 

U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says the killings continued in Bangui and elsewhere after the initial wave of attacks.

“Since the end of that first phase of intense fighting on 5-6 December, sporadic clashes continued, resulting in multiple incidents of tit-for-tat Muslim and Christian civilian killings, particularly in Bangui, but also in other parts of the country, such as Ouham and Nana-Mambere Prefectures,” he said. 

Besides the killings and subsequent retaliatory attacks, the U.N. mission says it has received multiple accounts of sexual violence, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention. 

The report also documents widespread looting and property destruction, including deliberate burning of civilian homes and the burning of churches and mosques. 

Colville says the fact-finding team reports it has received multiple testimonies identifying certain ex-Seleka perpetrators as being Chadian nationals.

“Witnesses consistently reported that ex-Seleka, wearing the armbands of Chadian former peacekeepers, went from house to house searching for anti-Balaka, and shot and killed civilians.  The team also said it received credible testimonies of collusion between some Chadian FOMAC elements and ex-Seleka.” 

More than one million CAR residents have been displaced since the Seleka rebels launched an offensive in December 2012.  The country has been gripped by increasing lawlessness and anarchy since the rebels seized the capital Bangui last March, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee the country.

On Friday, the CAR’s first Muslim president, Michel Djotodia, resigned under intense international pressure.  Residents are hopeful the newly appointed interim government will lead the country back to peace.

But, restoring peace will take more than hope.  The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says the lawlessness and human rights violations highlighted by the fact-finding mission confirm the need for urgent action and accountability.

  • Soldiers from the AU peacekeeping mission prepare to leave at the end of a speech given by Alexandre Nguendet, the head of Central African Republic's transitional assembly at the Gendarmerie headquarters in Bangui on Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Central African transitional parliament chief Alexandre Nguendet gives a speech in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • People react to a speech given by Alexandre Nguendet, the head of Central African Republic's transitional assembly in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • French soldiers man a street beside in Bangui, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • An anti-balaka soldier in Ouengo district in Bangui, Jan. 12, 2014.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sam McFarland from: Bowling Green, Ky
January 21, 2014 5:01 PM
VOA needs to do a better job linking to sources. Try as I might, I could not find the report referenced in your first paragraph from your link to the High Commissioner. Why not link directly to the report??

by: Bonaventure MUHOZA from: RWANDA
January 15, 2014 3:05 PM
It's a tragedy and I think religion leaders should intervene to stop it.I believe that in our days no one should kill in the name of a religion.It's worthless!

by: Freddy
January 14, 2014 1:03 PM
Please can the UN carry out an investigation into Zimbabwe's
Human Rights and then circulate their findings. Hope has long since left that Country but perhaps they see it differently.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs