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UN Security Council condemns human rights violations in CAR

Wednesday February 23 2022
A UN Security Council meeting.

A UN Security Council meeting in New York on February 21, 2022. PHOTO | TIMOTHY A. CLARY | AFP

By PARTICK ILUNGA

The UN Security Council on Tuesday called for tougher action to tame violence in the Central Africa Republic whose government is struggling to settle down more than a year after elections.

At a briefing on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), members of the Council said the mission may need stronger mandate to defend communities against violent groups.

Michel Xavier Biang, Gabonese Permanent Representative to the UN, on behalf of the three African representatives often known as the A3, told the Council that the attacks by the armed groups were hurting the search for peace.

The groups have recently targeted civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers.

The A3, which also includes Kenya and Ghana, said there should be more “commitment from the international community to effectively cut off the supply chain to the rebel groups.”

The CAR under President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has struggled to settle down since elections in December 2020, which some groups boycotted and immediately launched attacks on government installations and civilian areas. The regional organisation, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), had been midwifing peace in CAR endorsed by the African Union.

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The Council praised President Touadera for declaring unilateral ceasefire in October 2021 and hailed progress in preparations for holding the republican dialogue this March and the upcoming local elections in September, which will be a first in more than 30 years.

But it demanded that an arms embargo be lifted to “enable the country to build the required capacity of its defence and security forces to effectively defend its territory.”

The country’s leader has been forced to use foreign mercenaries as security guards, leading to controversy on whether the private armies may in fact fuel conflict so as to retain their contracts in the country.

During the meeting on Tuesday, UN envoy to the Central African Republic, Mankeur Ndiaye, reported progress towards peace and stability in the country.

“In CAR, progress is real, but challenges remain,” said Mr Ndiaye.

According to him, MINUSCA’s role remains essential to support the necessary adjustments to the peace process.

The Security Council members encouraged politicians to “re-boost political dialogue” in order to achieve lasting peace in the Central African Republic.

CAR was represented by Sylvie Baïpo Temon, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The country adopted a joint roadmap of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on September 16, 2021. But the ceasefire decreed by President Touadéra in October 2021 has not been respected, leading to sporadic violence.

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