July 25, 2013

UN concerned over human rights violations in CAR

A UN political mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has expressed concern over violations of human rights by members of the Seleka rebel coalition in the country.
Seleka Rebels
Seleka Rebels in 
Seleka Rebels
Seleka Rebels in March took over power in Bangui

On Wednesday, Eduardo del Buey, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office for the CAR, known as BINUCA, was “concerned about information on human rights violations in the country,” Xinhua reported.

“Buey stated that on Tuesday Babacar Gaye, the BINUCA head, met “with local human rights NGOs, who informed him of violations perpetrated by Seleka soldiers, including the systematic killings of civilians and rape.”
Buey also said the NGOs told Gaye that “human rights defenders were targeted and threatened by Seleka and reported several attempts to remove evidence of abuses, looting and destruction of public property, occupation of schools and recruitment of children.”

“The mission called for these violations to stop, for the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and to accelerate measures to improve security.”

The Seleka fighters launched an offensive against the CAR government in December 2012.

On January 11, former President Francois Bozizé and representatives of the Seleka rebels signed an agreement in Libreville, Gabon, after three days of negotiations brokered by regional neighbors.

However, the deal fell through, and Michel Djotodia, leading thousands of Seleka rebels, captured Bangui and proclaimed himself president after seizing power from Bozizé on March 24.

There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamonds, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.

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