Monday, 1 June 2015

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges states to investigate human rights violations by international forces in the CAR

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, issued a press release on Saturday 30 May 2015 stating that he had urged several states to intensify their efforts to investigate allegations that their forces in CAR may have committed very serious violations. These violations included killing civilians, summary executions, abductions and sexual exploitation of local women.

The UN High Commissioner said: “In the wake of the revelations of alleged serious sexual abuse of children, currently under investigation by the French authorities, my Office has taken a deeper look into these issues and the extent of the follow-up into alleged serious violations by soldiers belonging to several other international contingents operating under the MISCA umbrella in 2014- Some of these incidents have been at least partly investigated, and some States have apparently sanctioned some of the soldiers involved, but the fact that a number of foreign contingents may have been implicated is in itself a matter of enormous concern.”

Several incidents involving excessive use of force, enforced disappearances and sexual exploitation and violence were investigated by UN human rights officers on the ground and the International Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic. The findings were published in a report in December 2014. Although the report has resulted in some preliminary actions by states, the UN High Commissioner said that it is not sufficient, and the punishment must fit the crime. “There must be accountability for serious crimes, no matter who commits them.”

According to the UN High Commissioner the forces involved in these incidents were not operating under the UN flag; instead they were international contingents operating under the MISCA (Mission internationale de soutien à la Centrafrique  sous conduit, The African Union peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic).