#Canada; #CAJ; #TorontoPolice; #BrentJolly; #RightsOfJournalists; #HomelessPeople
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Toronto Police's attempts to obstruct multiple journalists from scrutinizing their activity in a public park today, including the detention of one photojournalist were strongly condemned by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).
Image CAJ. Image credit: Twitter handle
Internationally recognized photojournalist, Ian Willms informed Jolly that police not only detained and handcuffed him, confiscated his photography equipment as he attempted to cover police clearing homeless people out of Trinity Bellwoods Park but also transported him in a court service truck for an hour and a half to 11 Division.
When released, he was told he was not allowed to go back to the park today and that he could be fined if he was arrested for similar behavior there again.
Recipient of over 30 accolades including a National Newspaper Award for best news photograph and a National Magazine Award for photojournalism, Willms' work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and The New York Times.
Toronto Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The CAJ, along with a coalition of news organizations and press freedom groups, filed on June 2 a legal application to allow journalists access to cover a demonstration against the logging of an old-growth forest currently taking place in the Fairy Creek watershed, near Port Renfrew, B.C.
Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 900 members across the country, the CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
#UN; #UNSDGs; #SDGs; #Covid19Impact; #GlobalSolidarity; #ParallelThreats
Geneva, Jul 9 (Canadian-Media): The dramatic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, have laid bare “weaknesses in our systems and societies”, a top official told the UN’s key international forum on sustainable development which began on Tuesday, warning that “a new dynamic” is needed to overcome the negative shocks.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, while primarily a health crisis, also quickly became the worst human and economic crisis in decades”, Mona Juul, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), told the inaugural meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development, which will run until 16 July.
“It has exacerbated the already difficult situation for millions of people living in poverty”, she added.
Under the auspices of ECOSOC, the HLPF aims to chart a clearer path for countries to trigger a better recovery, share experiences and fend off challenges in pursuing the Global Goals, while sharing strategies to tackle the pandemic and help countries meet their commitments by 2030.
In the face of the current crisis, “meaningful progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could not be more urgent”, Ms. Juul said, urging the meeting to be “a springboard for greater solidarity and cooperation”.
Pointing to the “remarkably ambitious” 2030 Agenda, and the “strong global framework for financing its implementation”, the ECOSOC chief called the UN “a powerhouse of world-changing ideas and global coordination”.
In closing, she encouraged the participants to “show the world” that we can rebuild better as we move forward by inspiring actions to improve lives.
“We need all hands on deck to get this work done”, concluded Ms. Juul.
SDG more urgent than ever
Introducing the Secretary-General’s progress report on the SDGs, Liu Zhenmin, UN chief for economic and social affairs, pointed out that the development goals are “all the more urgent” as the world confronts this “crisis of historic proportion”.
“A truly transformative recovery from COVID-19 must be pursued”, he said. “One that reduces the risk of future crises and equips us to meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change”, he added.
Against the backdrop of the UN’s 75th anniversary, Mr. Liu maintained that responding to the pandemic requires “a surge in international cooperation, solidarity and multilateralism”.
Long road ahead
While demonstrating the implications of COVID-19 on the SDGs, the progress report reveals that the world is coming up short.
Before the pandemic, some strides and key targets had been achieved, such as the availability of mains electricity to more than a billion more people between 2010 and 2018, as well as a decline in global maternity mortality by 38 per cent.
However these gains were met with stalled or reversed progress in other areas, including a rise in the number of people suffering from food insecurity and inequality, along with the knowledge that climate change is occurring even faster than anticipated – 2019 was the second warmest year on record and concluded the warmest decade since records began.
Amidst COVID-19, the global community finds itself confronting “parallel threats linked to health, economic and social crises [that] have crippled countries and left us at a standstill”, Mr. Liu stated.
“As of the beginning of July, the death toll has reached to over 500,000 and continuing to climb, with almost no country spared”, he added.
The effects of the pandemic have overwhelmed health systems globally; caused businesses and factories to shut down; kept 1.6 billion students out of school; disrupted global value chains and the supply of products; and is expected to push 71 million back into extreme poverty.
The poorest and the most vulnerable, are being affected disproportionately, with women and children bearing the heaviest brunt.
The crisis has significantly affected the livelihoods of 1.6 billion informal sector workers, equaling half of the global workforce, exacerbating the vulnerability of one billion slum dwellers and disrupted lifesaving interventions.
It has also triggered a surge in domestic violence against women and children.
Indicating drops in world trade by 13 to 32 per cent, foreign direct investment by up to 40 per cent, and remittances to low- and middle-income countries by 20 per cent in 2020, Mr. Liu noted that “even developed countries are struggling to cope”.
Required: Global solidarity
The report underscores the urgent need for global solidarity and cooperation.
Mr. Liu supported the Secretary-General’s call for a coordinated, comprehensive multilateral response amounting to at least 10 per cent of the world’s GDP, along with his push for measures that give developing countries the financial firepower needed to weather the storm.
'“Overcoming the crisis and getting back on track to achieve the SDGs will require leadership, foresight, innovation, finance and collaboration among all governments and all stakeholders”, Mr. Liu stressed. “In the coming days, we must fully use the potential of the HLPF to catalyze global action”.
#UN; #ShipCrew; #strandedAtSea; #COVID19Restrictions
New York/Canadian-Media: Around 200,000 cargo ship crew members are stranded at sea, beyond the length of their contracts due to COVID-19 restrictions, placing a major strain on their physical and mental health. New UN guidelines were published on Thursday, aimed at helping the industry better protect human rights at sea, as new COVID variants threaten to further delay crew turnover.
The UN estimates that some 200,000 seafarers are stranded at sea due to COVID-19 restrictions. Image credit: IMO/Hedi Marzougui
The Human Rights Due Diligence Tool, provides a wide-ranging checklist co-developed by the UN Global Compact, the UN Human Rights Office, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for all businesses involved in the maritime industry.
The agencies are warning about a possible surge in the number of crewmembers stranded at sea due to new COVID-19 variants and government-imposed travel restrictions.
Unchecked, they fear the situation could return to the heights of the September 2020 crew change crisis, when 400,000 seafarers were stranded at sea around the world.
“Seafarers are at the heart of the global supply chain. They are also at the mercy of COVID-19 restrictions on travel and transit. This has led to hundreds of thousands of seafarers being denied repatriation, crew changes, shore leave and ultimately being forced to stay working on ships long beyond their contracts”, explained IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim.
He added that the new tool represents an important step forward for the maritime industry. It provides a practical approach for cargo owners, charterers, and logistics providers to “ensure [seafarers] are put first and foremost as they work to deliver the goods that people need and want”.
#Canada; #UN; #HumanRights; #OHCHR; #GenderEquality
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Marc Garneau, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affair, discussed with Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during his productive first call on Mar 14 Canada’s commitment to engaging with partners multilaterally to promote human rights and advance gender equality as part of the government’s feminist foreign policy.
Marc Garneau. Image credit: official
Underscoring the critical role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in promoting respect for human rights internationally, Garneau reaffirmed Canada’s support for the work of the OHCHR.
While presenting Canada’s priorities at the current session of the Human Rights Council, Garneau raised a number of human rights issues of concern to Canada including the recent overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Myanmar and efforts by the military regime to curtail civil and political rights; the human rights situation in China, treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, recent restrictive actions against journalists, opposition members and humanitarian workers in Venezuela; and the ongoing human rights violations in Belarus, including torture, suppression of the media, and crackdowns on peaceful protestors and the human rights situations in Sri Lanka and Nicaragua.
Bachelet thanked Garneau for Canada’s engagement on human rights and institutional support to the OHCHR, and both The Minister and the High Commissioner agreed to continue working closely together to promote and protect human rights.
#UN; #HumanRights; #Torture; #Cruelty
UN/Canadian-Media: Governments have demonstrated a lack of credible commitment to banning torture and other cruel treatment, according to an independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the issue globally.
UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine/UNHCHR. Image credit: Torture victim in Ukraine.
Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, made the charge on Monday in presenting his latest report, which evaluates States’ response to his official communications and requests for country visits.
“While the reactions of governments to allegations and requests transmitted to them, range from complete silence to aggressive rejection, unsubstantiated denial, bureaucratic obstruction and even sophisticated forms of pretence, the common denominator of all of these patterns is that they ensure impunity for torturers and deprive victims of reparation and redress”, he said, according to a statement.
Response consistently falls short The report looks at how national authorities have cooperated with the UN rapporteur, based on some 500 official communications transmitted from 2016 to 2020. Most responses, or 90 per cent, consistently fell short of the Council's standards for cooperation.
“Over the years, nine out of 10 allegations of torture and ill-treatment officially transmitted to governments in all regions of the world either have been completely ignored or otherwise did not receive a response permitting to effectively prevent, investigate or redress the violation in question”, Mr. Melzer said.
The situation was practically the same when it came to requests for country visits, particularly in those States where torture and ill-treatment are reported to be frequent, he added.
Political determination required “Approximately 80 per cent of our country visit requests have been ignored, postponed or declined by governments. This has prevented us from carrying out independent monitoring visits where they are most needed,” he said, noting that even States that have issued standing invitations to UN experts ignore or reject country visit requests, thus failing to honor their own commitments.
"The absolute and universal prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is not some kind of declaratory slogan to be routinely repeated and celebrated at international conferences, but that it inevitably requires the political determination to take difficult decisions and the courage to face uncomfortable truths – not elsewhere, but right there at home”, Mr. Melzer said.
He recommended that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spearhead a process to identify agreed standards for assessing and improving interaction between States and UN human rights experts.
Role of rapporteurs Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to report on specific country situations or thematic issues.
They serve in their individual capacity and are neither UN staff, nor are they paid by the Organization.
#UN; #UNHCR; #HumanRights; #Violence; #Protest
UN/UNHCR/Canadian-Media: In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force.
Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the UN, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun ended his General Assembly address on Friday denouncing the 1 February coup, with a three-fingered salute used by protesters. Image credit: UN Web TV
More than 30 demonstrators have been wounded as police and military forces used live rounds together with less-than-lethal force against crowds nationwide protesting the month-long takeover, according to OHCHR, citing “credible information”.
The military has claimed, without evidence, that the ruling party of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi – the National League for Democracy (NLD) – fraudulently won parliamentary elections. Arrested on 1 February, she and other leaders have remained in detention and according to news reports she is due in court on Monday.
On Friday, the UN Ambassador to Myanmar denounced the coup in a General Assembly meeting in New York, calling on the international community to take the “strongest possible measures” against the military junta to restore civilian rule. The top diplomat was reportedly fired from his post on Saturday.
Right to peaceful protest
“The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy”, said OHCHR spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, in a statement issued on Sunday.
“These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression.”
The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression.
According to OHCHR, police and military confronted peaceful demonstrators using disproportionate force with deaths reported in the largest city Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myiek, Bago and Pokokku. “Tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades”, said Ms. Shamdasani.
“Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms”, she said. “Since the beginning of the coup d’état…the police and security forces have targeted an ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists and medical professionals.
“Today alone, police have detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, as well as seven journalists, who were present at the demonstrations. Over 1,000 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in the last month - some of whom remain unaccounted for – mostly without any form of due process, simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly.”
The Spokesperson reiterated OHCHR’s call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained by the military authorities, “including members of the democratically elected government.
“The international community must stand in solidarity with the protestors and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar”, Ms. Shamdasani concluded.
#NorthwestSyria, #Displacement; #Pandemic
Northwest Syria/Canadian-Media: Bana, 12, was able to escape her hometown, the city of Aleppo, before the Syrian conflict engulfed her neighborhood. It was the first of two times she and her family would have to flee violence before settling down here, in Al Bab, northwest Syria. And then the pandemic struck.
“Like all girls in Syria, I live a difficult childhood,” she told facilitators at the women’s and girls’ safe space where she receives support and services.
She is a dedicated student, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, her school has often been closed. “When I can attend school, I behave politely and work hard,” she described.
Despite all the difficulties she has faced, Bana has held tight to her ambitions: “I want to be a doctor and help sick people.”
And, in fact, a future in science is a real possibility for her. “I started to attend a robot building course,” she said. “The sessions were amazing.”
Girls work together on a robot at the safe space. Images courtesy of Ihsan Relief and Development
Building a better, more resilient future
Nearly a decade of conflict has left the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria highly volatile.
Of the 4.2 million people living in the area, more than half are living in displacement, and 3.5 million require humanitarian assistance. A staggering 1.6 million people are living in internal displacement camps or settlements; 80 per cent are women and children.
The pandemic has only worsened conditions, deepening poverty, burdening health services and limiting aid delivery.
And the vulnerabilities of girls have greatly escalated: “Girls in northwest Syria continue to bear the brunt of the crisis in Syria, and are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence,” said Reem Khamis, who coordinates UNFPA’s response to gender-based violence in northwest Syria through the cross-border office in Turkey.
“These forms of violence typically follow a girl throughout her life cycle, beginning in pre- or early adolescence with harassment, restriction on movement, and family violence, and potentially worsening to include child marriage, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, early pregnancy and domestic violence.”
UNFPA is working with partners to help girls demand better.
A future of their own design
Bana, for instance, learned from a friend about a local women’s and girls’ safe space, supported by UNFPA and operated by local partner Ihsan Relief and Development.
The safe space provides a range of services, including counselling and specialized support for survivors of gender-based violence, referrals to sexual and reproductive health care, as well as recreational activities to support stress relief and skill building. (The space also provides COVID-19 prevention information and adheres to strict infection control protocols.)
Unlike many vocational programmes for women and girls – which tend to focus on traditionally feminine jobs such as cooking, sewing or hairdressing – the Ihsan-run safe space also offers robotics classes.
These captured Bana’s interest and sparked a new passion.
“My new friend and I were so impressed and excited when we were able to make the robot walk!”
Some 659 girls, aged 10 to 16, have so far participated in the robotics courses offered at several of the 18 UNFPA-supported safe spaces in northwest Syria. Not only do the classes strengthen the girls’ mechanical abilities, they also promote problem-solving skills, creativity, critical thinking, self-confidence and teamwork.
“It helps us to use our intellectual skills,” Bana said.
Globally, women comprise only 33 per cent of science and technology researchers, and Syria is no exception. But this robotics class – which receives support from Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom – is giving vulnerable girls a chance to shatter that glass ceiling.
Still, the girls of northwest Syria need more than just classes and skills. They must also be empowered to meaningfully participate in Syria’s path to peace.
#UN; #HumanRights; #Myanmar
On the opening day of a new UN Human Rights Council session on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his “full support to the people of Myanmar”, three weeks after the military takeover that has brought thousands out onto the streets in protest.
A general view of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in session. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
“Coups have no place in our modern world”, Mr. Guterres said in a pre-recorded video address at the Council’s 46th regular session, his comments coming after the forum held a special session on 12 February, in which it adopted a resolution expressing deep concern at the junta’s move.
“Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the repression immediately”, the UN chief continued. “Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections. I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council, pledge to implement your request, and express my full support to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.”
14-year old victim
Mr. Guterres’s comments followed his censure at the weekend of the use of “deadly force” in Myanmar, in which a protester - reportedly 14 years old – was killed in Mandalay, along with one other.
Also addressing the Council at the start of its month-long session, which is being held almost entirely remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, focused on the massive and negative impact of the pandemic.
“I think we all realise that the use of force will not end this pandemic. Sending critics to jail will not end this pandemic. Illegitimate restrictions on public freedoms, the overreach of emergency powers and unnecessary or excessive use of force are not just unhelpful and unprincipled. They deter public participation in decision-making, which is the foundation of sound policy-making.”
Help for the most vulnerable
In another video message, President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, underscored the need to focus on people’s basic needs – including new coronavirus vaccines - as the best way to recover from the pandemic.
“It is essential that all responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are centred around human rights, and promote the protection of our citizens, including the most vulnerable who need our care and consideration the most”, he said. “This includes ensuring the equal and fair distribution of vaccines for all. It is critical that civil society, the private sector, and all stakeholders are facilitated to participate and provide feedback throughout the planning and assessment of responses.”
Echoing the call for equitable vaccine access in a wide-ranging address that included a broadside against right-wing extremists becoming a “transnational threat” and the manipulation of personal digital data by Governments to control citizens’ behaviour, the Secretary-General described the fact that only 10 countries had administered “more than 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines” as “the latest moral outrage”.
Vaccine equity “affirms human rights”, he said, but “vaccine nationalism denies it. Vaccines must be a global public good, accessible and affordable for all.”
Taking up that theme, Ms. Bachelet insisted that the new coronavirus crisis had illustrated the “deadly realities of discrimination”.
Deep inequalities and chronic under-funding for essential services were to blame, she added, with policymakers largely responsible for ignoring these basic needs.
Pandemic rolls on
“Today, the medical impact of the pandemic is far from over – and its effects on economies, freedoms, societies, and people have only just begun”, she said. “The global rise in extreme poverty, accelerating inequalities; setbacks to women's rights and equality; to education and opportunities for children and young people; and to the Sustainable Development Agenda are shocks that could shake the foundations of societies.”
Despite the scale of the challenges posed in this second year of the pandemic, the High Commissioner struck a positive note, insisting that “we have the possibility of rebuilding better, more inclusive systems, which address root causes and prepare us to meet the challenges we will certainly face”.
Among the many major problems facing people everywhere, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the disproportionate gender impact of COVID-19.
#UN; #Covid19Pandemic; #HumanRights; #vaccineDistribution; #Solidarity; #Migrants
UN/Canadian-Media: The COVID-19 pandemic “will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone”, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday, advocating for an equitable and globally-coordinated vaccine distribution program.
India has begun the world's biggest COVID-19 vaccination program. Image credit: UNICEF/Ruhani Kaur
“The virus can still travel from the vastly unvaccinated massive population of the Global South to the Global North, including in its increasingly mutating forms”, Obiora Okafor, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international solidarity, said in a statement.
He explained that with mutations constantly evolving, only inoculating rich countries would likely “complicate or delay” the eradication of the virus.
Skewed vaccine delivery
The last few weeks of 2020 witnessed the approval of several COVID-19 vaccines by regulators in various countries, “offering much hope to billions of people worldwide”, according to the UN expert.
And while several States, mostly in the north, have already secured large quantities of vaccine and have begun inoculation campaigns, this has not been the case for most of the Global South, where close to 90 per cent of the world’s population lives.
“The world, therefore, faces a sharp and highly problematic vaccine-divide in which the much richer Global North States, which host a very small percentage of the global population, have so far cornered the vast majority of available COVID-19 vaccines, leaving the bulk of the world’s population with almost no access to these medicines”, Mr. Okafor said.
“A globally coordinated vaccine distribution program is highly preferable to the individualized approaches adopted by all-too-many of the richer States”, Mr. Okafor said.
International vaccine solidarity
He said it was vital that States and non-State actors cooperate - such as through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), which, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – or risk a stalled recovery.
While noting that COVAX aims to fairly distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, Mr. Okafor emphasized that “international vaccine solidarity” be favored over “international vaccine competition”.
“Given the great urgency of ensuring for everyone, everywhere, as rapid and effective access to COVID-19 vaccines as possible, I, therefore, urge urgent and strong action by States and other actors toward a course correction”, he said.
Fair access for migrants
Separately, UN independent experts González Morales and Tlaleng Mofokeng have urged States to ensure that migrants are also included in national COVID vaccination programmes, saying that global immunization access for everyone who needs them “is the only solution” to ending the pandemic.
This includes priority groups of vulnerable people “regardless of who they are” or their migration status, said the rights experts.
They also called on world leaders to refrain from discriminatory discourse that could lead to the exclusion of migrants in irregular situations from the global public health response.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and are neither UN staff nor paid for their work.
Violations of human rights, international humanitarian law must be punished to prevent ongoing violence and conflict
#UN; #OHCHR; #CentralAfricanRepublic; #InternationalHumanitarianLaw;#CPC
UN/OHCHR/Canadian-Media: A UN human rights expert said today impunity will continue to fuel violence and conflict in the Central African Republic unless perpetrators, co-perpetrators and accomplices of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are arrested, prosecuted and tried.
Coalition of Patriots for Change. Image credit: Website
Yao Agbetse, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the CAR, said the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) had obstructed the country’s electoral campaign in December, prevented the deployment of election materials, disrupted the mobilisation of voters to carry out their democratic right, and burned polling stations.
“I deplore the fact that thousands of Central Africans were unable to exercise their right to vote and that many were victims of torture or ill-treatment and death threats for exercising their right to vote in the first round of elections on December 27, 2020,” the expert said. “The CPC attacked several localities, including Kaga Bandoro, Bossangoa, Batangafo, Bozoum, Bocaranga, Koui, Carnot, and other locations in the center, west, and east of the country. The capital Bangui was also attacked on January 13.”
The Independent Expert said he condemned the loss of life among the civilian population and the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeepers, and deplored the many casualties.
“The recruitment and use of children by the CPC is a crime under international law. Thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes into the bush, while thousands more fled the violence to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The population lives in fear and dread,” he said.
The already fragile humanitarian situation had further deteriorated with more than half of the population in vital need of humanitarian assistance. The premises of some humanitarian organisations have been ransacked with the aim of depriving the population of the humanitarian assistance.
“Basic necessities are becoming scarcer and their prices are soaring in Bangui because of insecurity on the supply routes to the capital, with a considerable impact on the population's livelihood. Schools and training centres are closed in the hinterland and pastoralists and farmers can no longer carry out their activities because of insecurity and fear. Ultimately, food insecurity and extreme poverty are likely to worsen,” Agbetse said.
The Independent Expert said that armed groups and their supporters will not escape justice and will be held accountable before Central African and international courts.
“I urge MINUSCA, the Special Criminal Court (SPC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to promptly investigate serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the CPC and other armed groups.”
The Independent Expert condemned the support of former president François Bozizé to the CPC and deplored the fact that a former head of state incited violence, obstructed the electoral process and endangered the lives of civilians.
“I call on the Security Council, including the CAR Sanctions Committee, which has listed individuals on its sanctions list, including François Bozizé and Nourredine Adam in 2014, Abdoulaye Hissène in 2017, Martin Koumtamadji [aka Abdoulaye Miskine] and Bi Sidi Souleman [aka Sidiki] in 2020, to contribute to the fight against impunity in CAR by drawing the consequences of recent events in which some of these individuals are once again implicated.
“Without a strong message combined with deterrent actions, including coercion where appropriate, the worst could happen: the implosion of the country and massive violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law,” the expert said.
He urged the international community, including neighbouring countries, to make every effort to wean the armed groups off any supplies of weapons, logistics or military technical support and called on the CAR Government and the entire political class to prioritise an inclusive political dialogue to promote peace and stability in the country.
The Independent Expert recalls the responsibility of the Central African authorities, with the support of MINUSCA and its partners, to protect its population, including the internally displaced population, while stressing that the defence and security forces must continue to carry out their regalian missions with due respect of human rights and international humanitarian law.