UN Human Rights Report Maps 13 Years of Violence and Impunity in the Central African Republic

Mass killings and other serious human rights violations have been documented in an extensive UN mapping report covering the multiple conflicts in the Central African Republic between 2003 and 2015. Many of the violations may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the mapping report states, as it sets out a strategy to fight pervasive impunity in the country.

“We know some people are getting anxious about this report,” said Andrew Gilmour, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, who is currently on an official visit to the Central African Republic. “We are talking of those who committed some of the most appalling violations, who are now aware that their actions were observed and carefully documented. Naturally they are nervous that justice will catch up with them. Justice is the overwhelming demand of the Central African population – and the main motive of this report.”

The mapping report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)* has documented patterns of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by successive Government forces and various local and foreign armed groups, as well as international and foreign defence forces. The report, mandated by the UN Security Council, documents in detail 620 incidents, including horrific accounts of entire villages being burnt to the ground in reprisal attacks; multiple accounts of gang rapes of women and girls as young as five; extra-judicial killings; deaths following severe torture or ill-treatment in detention centres; serious violence against people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity or perceived support for armed groups; the recruitment of thousands of children by armed groups; and attacks on both humanitarian actors and peacekeepers, among other serious violations. Hundreds of thousands of Central Africans have been internally displaced or forced to flee in terrifying circumstances through the bush into neighbouring countries.

“The history of the country has been marked by deep-rooted poverty, ethnic tensions, pervasive political instability, corruption and nepotism that led to a succession of armed conflicts,” the mapping report states. “After gaining independence, the Central African Republic was subjected to a succession of authoritarian regimes that committed, condoned and were unable to prevent serious violations and abuses.” Regional instability and internal conflicts in neighbouring countries have fuelled the volatile conditions in the country, particularly through the flow of arms and rebel groups across its porous borders, the report adds.

“The mapping report on the Central African Republic lays bare the staggering suffering of the people of this mineral-rich country which is among the poorest in the world,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

While the report recognizes the challenging security situation in the Central African Republic, it recommends that some steps be taken immediately to initiate transitional justice processes, including the development of a national approach to human rights vetting of security and defence forces.

“Successive conflicts have spawned multiple peace processes, but as long as impunity reigns, this terrible trajectory – with each armed group committing appalling acts of violence – may continue,” said the UN Special Representative for the Central African Republic and MINUSCA head, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.

“In documenting the violations and abuses of the past, we hope to galvanize national and international efforts to protect and bring justice to the victims of these crimes,” Onanga-Anyanga said. The report sets out recommendations, which include:

· The need to have a sequenced and comprehensive approach to transitional justice, bearing in mind the prevailing security context and non-disarmament;
· The need for a prosecution strategy for the Special Criminal Court for the Central African Republic, given the scale of crimes committed in the conflicts and impossibility of prosecuting all perpetrators;
· The importance of prioritization of areas for the Special Criminal Court’s work to reflect the most serious crimes;
· The need to take into account a gender perspective in all dimensions of the transitional justice process, including in the Special Criminal Court’s prosecution strategy;
· The need to create a truth and reconciliation commission.

“The Government and all domestic actors, with the assistance of the international community, must work together to break the cycle of impunity once and for all,” the report states. The full report, as well as nine fact-sheets summarizing its key contents, can be found on: www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CARProjetMapping2003-2015.aspx.

* MINUSCA is the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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Source:: UN Human Rights Report Maps 13 Years of Violence and Impunity in the Central African Republic

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Minster of Investment & International Cooperation to be the first Woman on the United Nations Social Impact Fund Advisory Board

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahr Nasr, in her capacity, has been invited to serve as a member at the United Nations Social Impact Fund High Level Advisory Board (UNSIF-HLAB). The minister announced her acceptance to serve on the advisory board, becoming the first Egyptian and African woman on the advisory board.

To support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of private sector as an important source of financing for development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-UN Social Impact Fund, was established in November 2016. The Fund will act as a unique and transparent co-investment platform where the entrepreneurs, philanthropists, governments and investors can use blended financing models to create both economic and social returns.

Dr. Nasr has been known for her advocacy efforts to unlock Egypt’s potential through private-sector-led growth, vision for new investment incentives and economic development zones. Her ties with international partners including UNDP as well as her efforts to explore new opportunities for cooperation have been globally recognized and paved the way for her membership on the UNSIF-HLAB.

Dr. Nasr will provide advice to the UNSIF to maximize its overall social, economic and policy value to the government, the UN, the financial and impact investing sectors. Dr. Nasr will extend her expertise in the implementation of the SDGs, including but not limited to the areas of small and medium enterprise (SME) development, social housing finance programmes, and women’s economic empowerment, to the UNSIF.

It is worth mentioning that Dr. Nasr also serves as the Chair of the steering committee where strong collaboration is taking place between the ministry and UNDP in areas that accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in Egypt. The Government of Egypt, and with the support of UNDP, presented its first Voluntary Review on the SDGs at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July, 2016. Egypt was among the 22 countries that volunteered to report on the efforts undertaken to achieve this ambitious agenda.

Distributed by APO on behalf of UN Information Centre in Cairo.

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Source:: Minster of Investment & International Cooperation to be the first Woman on the United Nations Social Impact Fund Advisory Board

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UNHCR statement on Syrians stranded between Algeria and Morocco

UNHCR is appealing for urgent safe passage and admission for a group of Syrian refugees stranded in dire circumstances on the Algerian-Moroccan border.

Deeply concerned about rapidly deteriorating conditions for this group of vulnerable Syrian refugees, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, called today on the two countries to urgently address humanitarian needs, facilitate access to these refugees and allow them admission to safety and/or reunification with their families.

Prompt action by both governments is needed in facilitating the immediate and safe passage of the forty-one vulnerable Syrian refugees, among them children, babies and women – including at least one pregnant woman reportedly in need of urgent Caesarean section. It is a matter of life and death for this woman and her unborn child.

Moreover, the entire group of refugees is exposed to the elements and the serious threat of scorpions and snakes prevalent in this remote area. We urge Algeria and Morocco to work with us on ending this dangerous and untenable situation for these stranded desperate Syrian refugees.

The forty-one Syrian refugees have been stranded on the remote Algeria – Morocco border since 17 April 2017. Both Algeria and Morocco consider the group not to be in their respective territory, however, UNHCR calls for action to bring the group to safety on humanitarian grounds and stands ready to offer its ‘good offices’ to coordinate this life-saving evacuation.

There is a sense of urgency in this matter and we call on both governments to take instant and constructive steps to uphold international humanitarian imperatives and evacuate this vulnerable group.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Source:: UNHCR statement on Syrians stranded between Algeria and Morocco

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Media Announcement/ 29th AU Summit: Online Accreditation for Journalists now available

The Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the African Union Commission (AUC) hereby announces that, the online accreditation process for journalists and the media coverage of the 29th AU Summit, scheduled to take place from the 27th June to the 4th July 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has been launched on the AU website: www.AU.int.

Journalists interested in covering the upcoming AU Summit should register through the following link: https://AU.int/web/en/summit/29/accreditation.

A media advisory note explaining all the detailed arrangements for media coverage of the 29th AU Summit will be posted soon on the Summit web page: http://AU.int/en/summit/29.

Meanwhile representatives of the media are kindly informed that the 29th African Union Summit is scheduled to take place as follows:

27th – 28th June 2017: 34th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee
Venue: New Conference Center, AUC

30th June – 1st July 2017: 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council
Venue: New Conference Center, AUC

3rd – 4th July 2017: 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union
Venue: (Mandela Plenary Hall) New Conference Center, AUC

The theme of the Summit is: “Harnessing Demographic Dividend through investments in the Youth”

Journalists are invited to cover all the public sessions opened to the media.

A detail program of the side events as well as the statutory meetings during the 29th AU Summit will be made available subsequently.

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Media Announcement/ 29th AU Summit: Online Accreditation for Journalists now available

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