Norway is deeply worried about the serious security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the Central African Republic. Although the number of clashes appears slightly reduced in recent days, reports of widespread lawlessness and gross human rights violations paint a grim picture.
We are also concerned about the impact of the crisis on the region. There is a risk that the lawlessness we are seeing could turn the country into a haven for extremists, armed groups and international organised criminals, thus increasing instability in the region.
Norway finds it timely and important that the Human Rights Council holds a special session on the situation in the Central African Republic today. The session coincides with a high-level meeting in Brussels on the humanitarian situation. It is essential that the international community now address the precarious situation in the country in a holistic manner, and from various angles.
There is an urgent need to do more to ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.
The High Commissioner’s update highlights human rights violations that are overwhelming in scope and character: large scale killings targeting civilians, recruitment and use of child soldiers, sexual violence against women and children, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. It is important that proper investigations are conducted and the responsible for these violations are brought to justice. Norway welcomes the early appointment of the independent expert, and underlines the importance of the immediate operalisation of her mandate. We also welcome the recent establishment of an international commission of inquiry.
Humanitarian access has been and remains difficult because of the security situation. Both hospitals and humanitarian organisations have experienced direct attacks by armed groups, who have also operated inside camps for the internally displaced population, looting and stealing food and other items meant for those in need.
We as the international community must insist that all armed groups in the Central African Republic respect the rules of international humanitarian law, protect the civilian population from suffering and facilitate humanitarian access to those who are in dire need of protection and assistance.
As always, it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most during conflict. Special effort must be made to protect children, persons with disabilities, and those at risk from sexual and gender-based violence.