News / Africa

No Justice in CAR, Says UN Human Rights Chief

FILE - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
FILE - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
Nick Long
The Central African Republic is now a country where vicious killers operate with impunity, says the United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay.  Speaking Thursday in the C.A.R. capital of Bangui, she called on Central Africans to reflect on their values and on the international community to do much more to help restore law and order in the country.   

Pillay's remarks follow two days of discussions here with the head of state, the justice minister, and local human rights organizations, among others.

Describing the current situation as dire, she said the large-scale killings seen in December and January seem to have been halted by French and African peacekeepers, but people continue to be killed on a daily basis, particularly by the anti-balaka militia groups.

Hatred remains at a terrifying level, she said, as evidenced by the extraordinarily vicious nature of the killings.

Asked by a journalist what was the single worst incident she had heard about in the C.A.R., she said was "particularly appalled about decapitation, mutilation of body parts, eating of the flesh of human beings; the incident of the mayor of Mbaiki is another extremely shocking incident, where he was killed, decapitated and a woman held up the genital parts that had been cut off him."   

Pillay said children were among those who had been decapitated and her office knows of at least four cases where the killers ate the flesh of their victims.

Those committing these gruesome crimes have been allowed to go free, she noted.  

"People apprehended with blood on their machetes and severed body parts in their hands have been allowed to go free, because there is nowhere to detain them and no means to charge them with the crimes they have clearly committed," Pillay said.

Pillay said the country’s top leadership told her that there is, in effect, no state, no coherent national army, no police, and no justice system in the C.A.R., and hardly any means to detain criminals.

She noted that two weeks earlier, nine prisoners escaped from Bangui’s recently reopened central prison - allegedly with the collusion of some of those supposed to guard them.

And so far, she added, there is little in the way of serious planning to restore law and order.

The human rights chief acknowledged the international community cannot fill all the gaps but she called for more urgent action.  

"I am deeply concerned by the slow response of the international community," Pillay said. "The vital humanitarian aid effort is deplorably underfunded with only 20 percent of requirements met so far. Human rights NGOs do not even have the means of transport to travel to the countryside to find out what is going on."

Pillay reiterated the U.N. secretary-general’s call for a fully equipped force of 10,000 peacekeepers and 2,000 police for the C.A.R., and said that creating an effective justice system and other institutions for the country cannot be done on the cheap.

Alarm bells are still ringing, she said, adding that if the international community gets it wrong in this country, there is a risk of decades of instability, and the creation of a new and fertile breeding ground for religious extremism -- not just in the C.A.R. but in the wider region.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Arie from: NYC
March 21, 2014 2:13 PM
@Skai - It might be because you are not listening attentively. But besides that, it seems quite inappropriate if not repulsive, to capitalize on the unspeakable suffering in CAR to plead your case. I am at least to a certain extend aware of the situation in the countries you are referring to, but, with all due respect, that is only child play compared to the situation in CAR.

by: skai from: UK
March 20, 2014 6:44 PM
U N High commissioner for Human Right, Navi Pillay , How come we don't hear any thing from you about the Human Right abuses against Christians , Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
How come there is no aid to Hindus and Sikhs who are driven out of their homes in Kashmir, who are living poorly in New Delhi, no peep from you.

by: Ntokozo
March 20, 2014 2:30 PM
Please give us your assessment on Zimbabwe.?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More