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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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