Human Rights Council
Special Session on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic
20 January 2014
Australia welcomes the decision to hold this Special Session in light of the deteriorating human rights situation in the Central African Republic, particularly following the escalation of conflict to a Level three Humanitarian Emergency.
Civilians in the Central African Republic, especially women and children, desperately need protection. Australia is deeply concerned by reports of acts that violate human rights and may amount to serious international crimes, including killings, inhumane acts, sexual violence, torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, persecution and the recruitment of child soldiers.
The prevailing impunity for these crimes is unacceptable. Australia urges the National Transitional Council to ensure that those responsible are held to account, without distinction as to religious or political affiliation. We recognise, however, the UN Secretary-General’s assessment as to the complete absence of law and order across the country and the destruction of criminal justice infrastructure. We therefore underline the importance of the international community committing to holding those most responsible for the most serious international crimes to account.
Australia commends efforts by humanitarian organisations to respond to the crisis in the face of security and access concerns. We call on the National Transitional Council to improve access for humanitarian organisations as an immediate priority so that urgently-needed humanitarian support can be delivered.
Australia remains concerned about the impacts of the crisis for the long-term stability of CAR and its human rights situation, as well as that of neighbouring countries. Australia welcomed the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA) and French forces in December, and urges the international community to support these efforts.